A trail is born in Lassen County
A rider looks out at the Susan River Canyon from the new South Side trail. Approximately six miles of the trail has been built so far, but locals are hard at work raising money to complete its construction. Photo submitted
June 20 — A new trail has been born in Lassen County and, though unfinished, it has already impressed locals so much they are doing everything in their power to continue building and maintaining it.
The new South Side Trail connects to the Bizz Johnson Trail starting at Hobo Camp in Susanville. It is being built on land acquired from willing sellers in the Susan River Canyon, which provides riders and hikers with stunning views and well-groomed terrain.
Approximately six miles of the trail has been built so far, but locals are hard at work raising money to complete construction that will connect the trail to Devil’s Corral and add an additional loop, along with a single track, next to the dirt road sections. BLM’s Diamond Mountain Hot Shots fire crew, Calfire’s Antelope Camp inmate crews, Susanville Area Bicycle Association volunteers, the International Mountain Bike Association’s Trail Care Crew and local trail enthusiasts are all working together to build the trail.
“You have to ride or hike it to believe it,” said Dan Brown, owner of Bicycle Bananas and member of the Susanville Area Bicycle Association. According to Brown, once construction is complete, the trail will be one of the best in Lassen County. Those who have already biked or hiked the trail are already describing it as beautiful and world-class. “They absolutely love it,” Brown said.
Brown and other proponents of the trail project have been busy during the past several weeks reaching out to the community and asking for donations to help complete and maintain the South Side trail. Brown recently partnered with Lassen Ale Works at the Pioneer Saloon in Susanville to host a donor’s appreciation party Wednesday, June 5. Tickets to the party were $50 per person and included food provided by the Pioneer Saloon.
The party saw a great turnout and, according to Brown, more money was raised for the trail than he or anyone involved had anticipated. At the party, guests socialized over food and drinks, then sat down to enjoy a presentation on the history of the Bizz Johnson and South Side trails given by local BLM employee Stan Bales, a man known for his instrumental role in the creation of the Bizz Johnson trail. Bales, along with other BLM employees, were responsible for the creation of the Bizz Johnson trail following the legal abandonment of the railroad in 1978. The BLM and Forest Service now jointly manage the trail.
At the party, donors were also recognized for their level of contribution. The silver recognition award went to those who contributed between $200 and $999. Individuals and businesses who donated $1,000 or more were recognized as Lassen County champions.
Funds raised through donations and the donors appreciation party will go toward the resources needed to continue building the trail and maintaining it. “This project has the potential to be our hallmark or jewel trail,” said Brown, “I want to give a huge thank you to all the people who donated, even people who couldn’t go (to the party) … and the Forest Service and BLM have been so helpful.”
Local bicyclist Mark Kovacic has posted videos of the trail, which can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=D-kIVrOAd10.
Donations are still being accepted for the South Side trail project. For more information, call Brown at 250-4400.