Monthly Archives: September 2015

Great Shasta Rail Trail Opens

The Grand Opening of the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT) was celebrated in two ceremonies held in McCloud and Burney. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA) and the Shasta Land Trust (SLA).

On Saturday, September 26, at 4:30 p.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud at the conclusion of the 2015 McCloud Bike-oberfest. April Gray, President of GSRTA, and Anne Murphy, Executive Director of SLA cut the ribbon. About 100 people attended the opening.

Cutting the ribbon in McCloud

Gray and Murphy cutting the ribbon in McCloud

Gray said, “This is a big deal. We have been working on this for six years.”

The ceremony officially opened two sections of the trail, one 13-mile section from Pilgrim Creek Road to Bartle and one 13-mile branch trail from Bartle to Hambone.

Trailhead at Pilgrim Creek Road

Trailhead at Pilgrim Creek Road

On Sunday, September 27, a second ceremony was held at the Burney Depot Trailhead opening the 11-mile section from Burney to the Lake Britton “Stand By Me” railroad trestle. After speeches, Gray presented plaques to Joe Studenicka and Laura Pauley for their work as members of Save Burney Falls, the local non-profit organization that conceived the idea of converting the rail line to a trail and eventually evolved into GSRTA.

Gray presenting plaques to Studenicka and Paulie

Gray presenting plaques to Studenicka and Pauley

Studenicka gave a talk recognizing others who had helped develop the trail and then presented April Gray with one of the golden spikes from the original opening ceremony of the McCloud Railway to Burney in 1956. Gray, Studenicka, and Pauley then cut the ribbon.

Cutting the ribbon in Burney

Cutting the ribbon in Burney

A highlight of the afternoon occurred when Studenicka led a throng of bikers, hikers, and joggers onto the trail for a half-mile jaunt up the trail and back.

Bikers and hikers on the trail

Bikers and hikers on the trail

Three sections of the trail totaling 37 miles are now open for non-motorized use, including hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Mo and his owner Linda from Shingletown lead the way

Mo with his owner Linda from Shingletown lead the way

The Shasta Land Trust, the McCloud Local First Network, the Volcanic Legacy Community Partnership, the McCloud Trail Association, and the Burney and Fall River Chambers of Commerce have been working cooperatively for five years to convert the 80 miles of railroad track of the McCloud Railroad between McCloud and Burney to a public recreation trail.

The GSRT will include a central 53-mile trail from Burney Depot to Pilgrim Creek Road, three miles east of McCloud, and two branch trails. One of the branches leads from Bartle to Hambone. The second splits off between Burney and Hwy 89 and heads toward Goose Valley.

Map of GSRT

Map of GSRT

In 2013, GSRTA was created to own the property and manage the trail. The Shasta Land Trust subsequently received a $350,000 grant from the California Transportation Commission which enabled them to buy the property from 4 Rails owned by Jeff Forbis. Shasta Land Trust will deed the property to GSRTA.

Current board members of GSRTA include Jerry Harmon and Bob Polkinghorn from Mt. Shasta; April Gray from McCloud; Tina Peluso and Bill Campbell from Fall River Valley; Pat Thompson and Dr. Henry Patterson from Burney; Elizabeth Norton from Susanville; and Ben Miles, past executive director of SLA, who now lives in Kentucky.

Polkinghorn, secretary of the Board, said, “This is really a big milestone for Burney, McCloud, Fall River Valley and the recreational system in this area. We have a big vision.”

Polinghorn addresses the crowd in McCloud

Polinghorn addresses the crowd in McCloud

Speaking to GSRT supporters who attended the ceremonies, Miles explained that while celebrating the purchase of the property and opening of a portion of the trail, there is much work ahead.

Miles speaking at Burney Depot trailhead. Pat Thompson behind to his right

Miles speaking at Burney Depot trailhead. Pat Thompson behind to his right

Signs need to be posted welcoming non-motorized trail users and closing the trail to motor vehicles. Over 50 miles of the trail remain to be opened. Some of these will require major infrastructure improvements. Six bridges and the 462-foot-long railroad trestle over Lake Britton need to be restored. The trail surface will need to be improved and maintained. Additional trailhead facilities and amenities will be added and interpretive and educational markers placed along the trail.

Stand By Me Bridge in need of restoration

Stand By Me Bridge in need of improvements

GSRTA plans to achieve this by implementing a five-year plan evolving through six phases. In order to do so a lot of funding and many volunteers will be needed.

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Filed under Burney, Fall River Mills, Great Shasta Rail Trail, Hiking, Lake Britton, McCloud

Paul and Kathy Herington Share Memories of Burney in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s

Paul Herington moved to Burney as a teenager in 1948. He attended school in Burney and then at Fall River High School. After serving in the Navy he returned to Southern California where he met his wife Kathy. In 1966 they moved to Burney with their one-year-old son and lived here until 1968. After retiring from work in the Seattle area, they served a one-year mission for their church and then moved back to Burney.

In the first video, Paul talks about living in Burney as a teenager in the late 1940’s. In the second video, Paul recounts the filming of the movie The Treasure of Lost Canyon at Rising River in the early 50’s. Paul and Kathy also talk about the coming of the bowling alley and the Safeway to Burney in the 1960’s.

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Filed under Burney, Rising River

Heritage Day at Burney Falls October 11

Photos by Conrad Skaggs

The 26th Annual Heritage Day will take place October 11 at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park from 12-4p.m. The event is sponsored by the McArthur-Burney Falls Interpretive Association in Partnership with CAL PARKS.

Hawk and Knife 2012

Hawk and Knife 2012

People will have the opportunity to remember and celebrate life in the 1870’s with educational fun for the whole family. Period costumes are welcome.

Late 1800’s attire

Late 1800’s attire

Activities will include pine bough doll-making, candle-making, bread-working, rope-making, blacksmithing, bead-working, and branding. Visitors will also be able to cut their own section of a log with an antique saw.

H-Day Beading

H-Day Beading

Fresh pressed apple cider will be served. The Burney Lions club will cater food. The Ol’ Time Fiddlers will be playing old folk and country tunes.

Ol' Time Fiddlers 2010

Ol’ Time Fiddlers 2010

Admission to the park as well as all of the Heritage Day activities are free. People are encouraged to car pool. This is a great opportunity to take in the beauty of Burney Falls and celebrate the historical heritage of Pit River Country.

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Filed under Burney, Music, Pit River Area History, Waterfalls

Burney Fall Festival looks to be a good time

by Alex Colvin Photos by Jill Barnett

The Burney Chamber of Commerce and the Pit River Casino will host the 2nd

2015 Fall Festival

Click to view flyer larger

Annual Fall Festival and Barbeque Cook-Off on Saturday October 10 from 12-4 p.m. The festival will be held outside on the grounds of the Pit River Casino on Tamarack Ave just off Hwy 299 in Burney. The event will include activities for people of all ages.

A Pumpkin Patch for children will begin at 12:00 noon and will continue until the last pumpkin is gone. Activities will include face painting, pumpkin painting, and games. Prizes will be awarded. Refreshments will include Indian tacos, cotton candy and popcorn.

Fun and games at the pumpkin patch Photo by Jill Barnett

Fun and games at the pumpkin patch

There will also be a rib cook-off and beer and wine tasting. The cost for the beer and wine tasting is $20 per person. Judging for the cook-off will begin at 3 p.m. More than $2000 in prize money will be awarded to the top five contestants.

Wine tasting Photo by Jill Barnett

Wine tasting

Music for the festival will be provided by a DJ playing music from a broad variety of genres. Booths will feature Native American crafts, photography, art, and other hand-crafted items by local artists.

Fall festival

Fall festival

Half of the proceeds raised will go to support Burney High School sports programs and half will go to the Burney Chamber of Commerce to support local non-profit activities.

For further information call Ramon – 530-335-2334, Ext 228

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Filed under Burney, Pit River Country Events, Pit River Tribe

Kayakers ride the Pit

On September 12th and 13th,  PG&E increased the water flow below Pit 5 to between 1250 to 1500 cubic feet per second for the second time this year. Each day, more than 50 Northern California kayakers came to enjoy the thrill of riding level III, IV, and V rapids between the Madesi River Access and J.B. Black Powerhouse.

Kayakers above the bridge at Big Bend

Kayakers above the bridge at Big Bend

The entry point was the Madesi River Access. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the area was buzzing with people unloading their kayaking gear and camping equipment for the two-day event.

Steve and Christina Figone and friends from Chico

Steve and Christina Figone and friends from Chico

Lauren Bridgeman and Linda Holdren from Spring Rivers, a company that provides biological and physical assessments of aquatic and riparian ecosystems, came to register the kayakers and monitor the event for PG&E. Downriver, below the Big Bend Bridge and at J.B. Black Powerhouse there were two more Spring River employees to track the kayakers and make sure that everyone who entered the river completed the one-and-a-half-hour course down the river safely.

 Spring River monitors registering kayakers

Spring River monitors registering kayakers

As the kayakers gathered and mixed and mingled, I met groups of people who had come from Sacramento, Placerville, Chico, Lake Tahoe, Trinity County, and Redding. It was a really cheerful, friendly gathering. Groups began entering the river about 10:30 a.m.

Kayakers entering the river at Madesi River Access

Kayakers entering the river at Madesi River Access

Ian Janoska from Placerville organized a race, the “Pit 5 River Games.”  The race took place  Saturday afternoon about 1:30. Ten people participated, racing about one mile. The rest of the course was free kayaking.

As the kayakers came to enter the river Saturday morning, Janoska and his friend, Lauren Burlison, a student at Simpson College in Redding, were there to sign people up for the race.

Janoska and Bunison signing up racers

Janoska and Burlison signing up racers

A few people had come to join the kayakers in rafts.

Heading out to ride the rapids

Heading out to ride the rapids

One of the kayakers from Redding told me that there were two overlooks on the way back to Big Bend where I could catch a view. I found one of them. It actually was kind of scary standing on the dirt edge of a 100 foot drop-off looking down, but just as I got there a few of the kayakers passed underneath.

View from the overlook

View from the overlook

Then down to the bridge at Big Bend.

White water rapids above Big Bend

White water rapids above Big Bend

The bridge at Big Bend was the best of the few places to watch the kayakers. They had been riding the river for over an hour. Only the kayakers themselves know the full thrill the river held as they surged through the beautiful tree-lined gorge.

Here comes the raft

Here comes the raft

The bridge is also a fun place to meet others who want to watch. One lady from Lake Tahoe had come up with her husband and was patiently waiting for him to come round the bend. Another woman showed me pictures she had taken of the kayaking on Feather River. I also met Juniper Rose, a kayaker from Trinity County, as she watched some of her friends master the white water.

 Juniper Rose from Trinity County

Juniper Rose from Trinity County

As we talked, I discovered that she was the sister-in-law of a friend from Oak Run that I have played music with.

I spent quite a few hours on Saturday out on the bridge taking hundreds of pictures. On Sunday afternoon, I returned with my wife Linda and we met more people as the last runs finished.

Coming out of the river below the bridge

Coming out of the river below the bridge

At 4:00 PG&E began lowering the flow back to 450 cfs. Thus ended the Pit 5 Reach Whitewater Flow for 2015. For more on the whitewater flows see Pit River Whitewater Draws Kayakers.

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Filed under Big Bend, Kayaking, PG&E, Pit River

Shelly Warner at the Big Bend Community Center

I was down in Big Bend on September 12 to watch the kayakers and stopped by the community center. Shelley Warner kindly offered to give a little tour. They have fantastic pictures. Big Bend is really an awesome place and Shelley is an awesome person.

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Filed under Big Bend, Pit River Area History, Pit River Tribe

An Interview with Seabrook “Munko” Leaf about Big Bend Hot Springs

People have been asking when the hot springs on Hot Springs Road in Big Bend will open to the public again. Munko Leaf, a member of the management team explains how the work has progressed as well as plans for the future.

Over the past 100 years and more the hot springs have evolved. For memories sake, here are a few pictures I took in 2004:

View of Big Bend Hot Springs Summer 2004

View of Big Bend Hot Springs Summer 2004

Hot tub

Hot tub

The pool in the tower

The pool in the tower

The changing area

The changing area

View of the Pit

View of the Pit

The heart pool

The heart pool

My wife Linda relaxing at the heart poo at Big Bendl 2004

My wife Linda relaxing at the heart poo at Big Bendl 2004

The old steel bridge that must replace for the new water system

This truly is a sacred place. I wish the Big Bend Hot Springs organization great success in their work and look forward to this place of wonder and bliss once again being open to the public. I encourage everyone to visit Big Bend Hot Springs Project to learn more.

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Filed under Big Bend, Hot Springs, Pit River, Pit River Area History, Pit River Tribe