History, future of Lake Siskiyou is hot topic after 50 years

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
After another crowd-pleasing presentation about the History of Lake Siskiyou, the Boss and Spini families talked about their experiences living in the area where Lake Siskiyou is today. Pictured are Cheryl Hansen-Pigoni, Ned Boss, and two Spini family cousins, Susan Moreno, and Mary Dremel, with the old Spini Ranch cow bell. Boss talked about the past – now hear about the future of Lake Siskiyou on Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m.

While Mount Shasta’s Ned Boss last week gave an excellent overview of Lake Siskiyou’s origins, a second presentation regarding the lake’s future was  held at the Sisson Museum on July 25.

“I was wondering whether people would come to hear my stories for the fourth time,” said Boss, although museum executive director Jean Nels said she was confident people would attend, “as Boss’s information is extensive, and his stories are compelling. We are very lucky that he took so many photos before, during, and after the building of Box Canyon Dam.”

Of the many people in the audience, two were Boss’sdaughters, Rhonda Boss-Monaghan and Cheryl Hansen-Pigoni.

“I really miss living at the Boss Ranch. I have wonderful childhood memories of living out there,” said Boss-Monaghan.

“I went through a whole gamut of emotions,” said Hansen-Pigoni. “First, sadness and anxiety for my parents and other relatives and family friends who had to go through this experience of uprooting their families, and wondering about their future. Then, their frustration at not being allowed to keep some of the land. Important decisions were out of our control. Finally, the emotions of joy because we like going to the lake now. Mostly, I am proud of my father’s knowledge and how he shares it with the people of the community, keeping that history alive for our family and this area. I am thankful to the museum for delving into our local history and sharing those stories.”

In the course of the slide show, Boss heard a cowbell ring. It took him back to the time when Spini cows would get through the fences. He remarked, “It must be a cow from the Spini Ranch.”

To Boss’s surprise, the bell had been rung by members of the Spini family in the audience. The Boss and the Spini families were both forced to move from their land so Box Canyon Dam and Lake Siskiyou could be built.

“I remember every summer as a kid, spending a month at the ranch with my cousin, Joe Spini,” said Judy Kennedy, granddaughter of Mary Spini. “It was very sad for us when the land was taken over. Luckily, we built a cabin, and we still come up to this area and enjoy going to Lake Siskiyou.”

During Boss’s talk he spoke about some of the changes the lake has experienced over the past 50 years.

“The lake is much shallower than it used to be,” he said. “In time, I think the lake will eventually fill up with silt. Who knows how many acre-feet the lake is now, compared to the 30,000 acre-feet when it was first built?”

Boss recommended that people attend the upcoming presentation by Tom Hesseldenz regarding the future of the lake.

Hesseldenz’s presentation was scheduled for Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at Sisson Museum.

A $5 donation was requested from the attendees in order to help fund the museum’s ability to “illuminate the past, present and future of the Mount Shasta Region.”

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists on donations, memberships, grants, and fundraisers. It is located at 1 N. Old Stage Rd. in Mount Shasta. During the summer, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the museum, go to www.mtshastamuseum.com or their Facebook page.