Trails trust receives grant for rail line
The Modoc Line project will protect a critical wildlife corridor and provide increased public access and educational opportunities, said WCB staff.
The WCB stated the proposal would also prevent the fragmentation of the corridor as a result of the reversion of land interests to underlying private landowners and the piecemeal sale of the fee interest held by Union Pacific Railroad.
The Modoc Line is located in both Lassen and Modoc counties, and extends between Wendel, 20 miles east of Susanville, and the McArthur siding, 12 miles south of Alturas.
Union Pacific Railroad assumed control of the line in 1996 and has not operated a through train over it since 1997. It was proposed for abandonment and rails and ties were removed between Wendel and the McArthur siding during 2003 and 2004.
In 1983, the United States Congress amended the National Trails System Act to create the “railbanking program.” Part of this program was the Rails to Trails Act, which allows the federal government to regulate the disposition of soon-to-be- abandoned railroad lines to preserve the right of way in case the need for future rail use arose, and also to make way for the development of alternative transportation uses for railway corridors, including trails. This process is called railbanking.
According to the WCB, the 1983 Act has directly resulted in nearly 2,100 miles of rail lines that have been converted into more than 90 multiple-use trails, approximately 17 percent of the nation’s total number of rail-trails.
The acquisition of the Modoc Line will preserve the integrity of the corridor for a variety of recreation, wildlife, and economic benefits, said the WCB.
All public use of the corridor is currently illegal. Future public uses of the corridor may include trail recreation, touring, hunting, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing, biking and other activities. The acquisition of the line by LLTT will also provide educational and interpretive opportunities, said WCB staff.
Further information on the Modoc Line project can be found on LLTT’s Web site, lassenlandandtrails.com.
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