Mountain Bike Association details plans to expand Gateway Trail

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta City Councilors Paul Engstrom, John Stackfleth, Barbara Wagner and John Redmond consider funding improvements at the city yard during their meeting on Monday afternoon.

Mount Shasta City councilors on Monday heard a presentation from the Mount Shasta Mountain Bike Association about plans for their Gateway Trail, moved to approve financing of solar efficiency improvements at the city yard, and decided to table a motion to approve a Compensation Study presented by Finance Director Muriel Howarth Terrell.

Mountain Biking

Jason Allen, President of the Mount Shasta Mountain Bike Association, presented plans for Gateway Phase II. Since 2009, work has been completed on the project in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service to clean up illegal trails in the Gateway area, and create a lengthy connection of trails for multiple uses, including mountain biking.

Six years ago, the association started the concert series held each summer at Shastice Park. They use proceeds from the concerts to educate and give participants and fellow biking enthusiasts information about legal versus illegal trails, and why riders and explorers should always be aware of private and public use lands.

The latest goal of the Mount Shasta Mountain Bike Association is to begin Gateway Phase II. Phase I created eight to nine miles of legal, usable trails and cleaned up five to six miles of illegal trails. Phase II hopes to expand the trail system up to 45 additional miles with the help of the Forest Service, and to connect them to the Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

When asked about legal vs. illegal trail riding, the answer was simple: they’re unsustainable. Soil quality for trails is sensitive, and illegal trails tend to be steep and can cause erosion, Allen said.

The main reason for the new trail systems? Attracting people to town. Mount Shasta residents may have noticed an insurgence of cars and trucks with mountain bikes attached to them, and with this, the association hopes to stimulate local businesses and increase biking tourism.

City yard improvements

At the last meeting, councilors grappled with the financing aspect of a proposed steel building at the city yard to house heavy machinery and solar equipment during the winter months. In the initial assessment of the property and existing structures, it was found that the buildings for the installed solar panels were “unfit” to hold the supports. This led to the proposal of the new steel structure.

Funding initially was rewarded through a series of grants. The city has been working with members of Johnson Controls, Inc. to develop a financial plan that would provide the lowest cost plans to the city, that wouldn’t require them to dip into the general fund.

According to recommendations from City Manager Bruce Pope, a resolution was presented, approving the issuance of series 2019 revenue bonds to complete the project. Councilor John Stackfleth moved to approve the resolution with a second by John Redmond. It was unanimously approved.

Other business

A few members of the public commented on the slow pace of processes necessary for new businesses to open in the city of Mount Shasta. While there are new businesses opening, they have all had to go through a lengthy permit approval process, updates to meet ADA and health codes, and safety updates. While these are normal processes, the main concern the speakers referred to is time, and a somewhat antiquated approval system.