Here's how to take a self-guided tour of Dunsmuir's Tauhindauli Park
Tauhindauli Park in Dunsmuir will be getting some upgrades because of one driven Dunsmuir citizen. Last fall, Allison Leshefsky took on a community project at the park that recently received $27,000 in funding through the McConnell Foundation. This was the full amount that Leshefsky had applied for, which will include the installation of self-guided tour interpretive panels, new picnic tables, concrete sitting benches, bear-proof trash containers, and public art on the sewage pump station.
The panels will narrate the local history such as the Upper Soda Springs Resort, which was located there from the late 1800s to the 1920s. It will also honor the history of the Wintu and the Okwanuchu band of the Shastan peoples, who occupied territories in Siskiyou County. The walking tour will also feature information on local plants, the railroad, and other points of interest.
Leshefsky has been diligently recreating the map of Tauhindauli, which is still under revision. It will be part of the main panel installed in the parking lot area of Tauhindauli Park, directing visitors to the self-guided tour. A drone was used to assist in creating this new map. The tour narratives were also thoughtfully revised and will be placed accordingly along the self-guided tour.
“This is an exciting community project that our residents and many visitors will be able to enjoy, as well as, learn the history of this unique Tauhindauli Park/ Recreational Area,” said Mike Rodriguez, Recreation and Parks District Administrator. “On behalf of the Dunsmuir Recreation and Parks District Board of Directors, I extend my appreciation and thanks to Allison for her vision, commitment & dedication to this very special and unique park project. She is a great asset to our community.”
Dunsmuir City Manager Todd Juhasz said, “I'd like to thank Allison Leshefsky for her tireless energy and spirit in coming up with this project and following through with its development. It shows that a motivated citizen can move mountains especially when you have the enthusiasm that Allison has. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the City and the Parks District collaborating on this project through development to build this positive upgrade for our park.”
Tauhindauli Park was built from the 1991 Cantara spill settlement with Southern Pacific Railroad. Students from the Dunsmuir Elementary School added the original self-guided trail signs in 2005, but since then, many of the panels have gone missing and the information was difficult to access. Leshefsky says, “There is a valuable history to be told at Tauhindauli Park. I felt compelled to re-create this self-guided tour to honor our past and recognize all of the unique features that Dunsmuir has to offer. I feel it's important for communities to have free recreational and educational opportunities for locals and tourists alike.”
Prior to receiving the grant funding, with enthusiasm and perseverance, Leshefsky raised approximately $3,000 through the Dunsmuir Rotary, Dunsmuir Recreation and Parks District, Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, private funding from the local neighboring residents, and the City of Dunsmuir. She is also working with Siskiyou Arts Museum to help elicit local artists to submit proposals for public art to be painted on the sewage pump station. Her aim is to have this project completed by this fall, though she cautions that there are many moving pieces that still need to be coordinated. “I feel blessed with the overwhelming support and encouragement I have received since the start of this project”, states Leshefsky, who continues to support her local community as a member of the Dunsmuir Rotary and other grassroots community movements.
The last time the Dunsmuir Recreation and Parks District applied for a grant through the McConnell Foundation was in 2012 and yet the foundation will give up to $50,000 a year.
Meanwhile, there are continued concerns about the maintenance and repair of other Dunsmuir facilities such as the tennis courts and the ballpark. Brian Wilson, a Dunsmuir resident who is employed with the City's public works department, school board member, and parent of a Dunsmuir High School baseball player has felt disheartened with the conditions of the bleachers at the baseball field.
“Hats off to Allison for seeing the need for the Tauhindauli park project and then putting it in the works to make a difference,” said Wilson. “Hopefully, the Recreation and Parks District can keep the momentum going in securing funds to repair The Dunsmuir ballpark bleachers to the standards we all expect.”
“It is important to take an active role in the changes we want to see in our community,” said Megan Conn, Program Officer for the Community Foundation of the North State. “The McConnell Fund of Community Foundation of the North State is happy to continue our longstanding tradition of building better communities in Siskiyou County through philanthropy. Local community members serve as volunteer panelists and review proposals, conduct site visits, and make recommendations for grants to the Community Foundation Board of Directors for final approval.
"This year, one theme that proved popular among panelists were projects that increase community access to the outdoors, something valued by many north state residents, especially in the wake of COVID," said Conn.
"The Tauhindauli Park Project, fiscally sponsored by Dunsmuir Parks and Recreation District, also rose to the top because of its strong partnerships and fundraising efforts, led by go-getter Allison Leshefsky who went door-to-door in her neighborhood to raise support. We’re happy to join the many Dunsmuir community members and organizations in making this park a special place for local families and tourists alike.”