Mount Shasta — A Trail Town Designation
● By Tim Holt
Story and Photos by Tim Holt
OUT OF ECONOMIC NECESSITY, the town of Mount Shasta reinvented itself from a timber industry town to one catering to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, especially those geared to winter sports.
But what do you do when there’s little or no skiing at Mount Shasta Ski Park, when there’s been minimal snowfall for three of the past five seasons?
Well, you just have to keep reinventing yourself. For starters, the Ski Park is reaching beyond the winter season, hosting weddings and corporate retreats, and offering summertime activities that include scenic chairlift rides and mountain biking on 25 miles of trails at the park.
“We’re looking at developing an attraction-based, year-round resort,” says Richard Coots, the ski park’s general manager.
Logan Smith of the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council echoes that theme on a broader scale: “With the variability of recent winter seasons, it would be better to spread out tourist traffic so it’s year-round.”
Mount Shasta is already a destination stop for recreational tourists, but it’s hoping to tap even further into that market by branding itself as an official “Trail Town” under the auspices of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Its proximity to the trail and community support for hikers who come through the town prompted the trail association to make Mount Shasta the first town along the trail to receive the title.
A special page on the Pacific Crest Trail Association website will be devoted to Mount Shasta, including its various attractions for hikers, its restaurants and motels and other hiker-friendly services.
A gala Trail Town kickoff celebration is planned for July 21 with live music, kids’ activities and guided hikes of other trails in the area. Supporters of the Trail Town designation for Mount Shasta hope it will also put a spotlight on other scenic trails in the region—among them the Lake Siskiyou Trail and the Gateway Trail on the slopes of Mount Shasta—and lure more recreational tourists to the area.
Organizers are also planning a youth-friendly event for July 21 and are inviting youth organizations to participate with booths that promote hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.
Other towns near the Pacific Crest Trail are welcome to apply for the Trail Town designation, according to Association staffer Megan Wargo. Among those eligible, she noted, are Dunsmuir, McCloud, Weed and Etna. The Pacific Crest Trail Association hopes to add more Trail Towns to its roster by next year, she said.
Mount Shasta Mayor Kathy Morter is one of the leading proponents of the Trail Town idea, touting its economic benefits, and also the health benefits to local residents if it spurs them to explore trails in their area. Plus, she notes, maintaining those trails can be a way for more folks to get involved in their community. •
Trail Town event
July 21, 2 to 7 pm
Downtown Mount Shasta