For trail users who go to Spring Hill to get exercise, walk their dogs or enjoy the views of the mountain; or those who walk or ride along busy North Mt. Shasta Boulevard to the City Park there is great news.

On Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 two right-of-way easements were signed by the Crystal Geyser Water Company and the Siskiyou Land Trust that allow a significant addition to trails close to Mt. Shasta. In one case this allows the permanent protection and enhancement of an existing trail and in the other creation of the first phase of a new trail that has been dreamed about for two decades.

The first easement relates to the Spring Hill Trail. It provides permanent authorization for the trail and trailhead parking and allows expansion of the trail around the top of the hill.

The trail was originally created in 2010 through a temporary license agreement between Coca-Cola, the Siskiyou Land Trust and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association. Since its creation the Spring Hill Trail has become one of the most popular trails in the area due to its proximity to downtown Mount Shasta and its excellent views of the area.

The easement will initially be held by the Siskiyou Land Trust and the trail will continue to be jointly managed by the Siskiyou Land Trust and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association. In the future the easement may be transferred to Mt. Shasta Recreation and Parks District.

Future plans for the trail include adding a loop trail around the hill at the top, adding water bars on the existing trail to prevent erosion and making the traffic circle more attractive through a partnership between the Mt. Shasta Beautification Committee and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association.

A trailhead marker has just been added to the large rock located in the traffic circle.

The second easement, which will also be held by the Siskiyou Land Trust, relates to creating a portion of the long dreamed of multiuse paved trail connecting the City Park to downtown Mt. Shasta. The easement permanently allows trail construction across two portions of the Crystal Geyser property adjacent to the southern border of the City Park and in addition provides an option for a sewer line connection between the City Park sewer system and the Mt. Shasta sewer line along Kingston Road. This potentially resolves a long standing issue of the City Park relying on an outdated and inadequate septic system.

The idea for the trail came from Tom Hesseldenz, as have ideas for many of the trails in this area. The easement is the culmination of work done over the past five years by the Mt. Shasta Greenway Consortium, which now includes: Mt. Shasta Rotary Club, Siskiyou Land Trust, Mt. Shasta Trail Association, Mountain Runners, Mountain Wheelers, Mt. Shasta Recreation and Parks District and Active Transportation Committee of the Mt. Shasta City Council. Cooperation and support from the Kingston Road Property Owners has been essential in moving the project forward.

The Consortium plan for this year is to create an interim unpaved loop trail that will cross the Crystal Geyser property plus an adjacent land parcel, acquired by the Siskiyou Land Trust over a year ago, with funding assistance from Mt. Shasta Rotary and other Consortium partners, and connect to Kingston Road.

Initial work will be focused on reopening an existing route that has become overgrown over the years. As of the beginning of October work has already begun to create the interim trail. Volunteers from Mt. Shasta Rotary, Mt. Shasta Trail Association and the Siskiyou Land Trust are working together the make the dream a reality. Within an hour of first re-opening the trail corridor, three walkers used the trail and met with the trail crew. High fives were exchanged.

Longer term plans include seeking authorization from several property owners to extend the trail from the Kingston Road area to Alma Street and paving the entire route. An even longer term goal is to connect with the Lake Siskiyou Trail.

All of this involves working with the City of Mt. Shasta. We obviously will need considerable grant funds to make all of this happen, but we now have a real beginning. It’s amazing what a small mountain town can accomplish when we all pull in the same direction.

Thanks are due to all who have worked long and hard to get to where we are today and who will work equally long and hard to get to the finish line. Special thanks are due to the Crystal Geyser Water Company in their role as a true community partner for understanding the benefits these easements will provide to our area for years to come and helping to make our dreams a reality.