On Tuesday, July 8, 2014 the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA) and the Volcanic Legacy Community Partnership (VLCP) signed an agreement with Schlumpberger Consulting Engineers (SCE) of Mount Shasta to conduct engineering inspections on the proposed Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT). SCE will inspect seven bridges and a large number of culverts along the trail to assess the current condition and identify safety concerns prior to opening the trail segments for public use. Schlumpberger engineers will prepare a report with their recommendations for rehabilitating the structures, conceptual designs of the restored bridges, cost estimates to complete the rehabilitation, and recommendations for repairing and/or replacing culverts. SCE President, Charles Schlumpberger, said the work started on July 9 and should be completed by December 31, 2015. He added, “We’re so pleased to have been awarded this contract. The development of the rail-trail is a local project that we support and we’re excited to be part of it.”
VLCP President Elizabeth Norton explained that the engineering inspections are funded through grants from the Federal Highways Administration and the USDA Forest Service through the Shasta County and Siskiyou County Resource Advisory Committees. “We are very grateful for their funding support,” said Norton. The GSRTA, the non-profit that will own and manage the trail, and the VLCP will jointly administer the grant. Both organizations are members of a “core team” composed of five nonprofits that formed in 2009 to convert the historic McCloud Railway between McCloud and Burney to an 80-mile public recreation trail.
“One of the biggest projects in this contract will be the inspection of the 462 foot long Lake Britton trestle,” said Jerry Harmon, President of the GSRTA. “Folks in that area may see people hanging off the 78 foot high bridge to inspect the underside of the deck and the towers. Divers will also be in the water to check the pilings.” The engineering report will provide information needed as the GSRTA devises plans to develop the trail and support fund-raising efforts.
GSRTA partner Shasta Land Trust (SLT) is in contract to purchase the McCloud Railroad corridor that will become the Great Shasta Rail Trail. When the purchase is completed, SLT will donate it to the GSRTA, which will develop the rail bed into a trail. The non-motorized GSRT will benefit Siskiyou and Shasta counties and the communities of McCloud and Burney by stimulating tourism and recreation related commerce, increasing neighboring property values, and attracting new businesses. Increased opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation provided by the GSRT will improve the quality of life and offer health benefits for residents and tourists. The GSRT will also connect with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, recreational facilities on adjacent national forest land, and will link to the trails around the McCloud River Falls and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.