I used to feel safe on the Bizz — now I wonder what’s happening upstream

One of the many reasons I love Lassen County is for its breathtaking scenery and my favorite place to enjoy some time with nature is on The Bizz Johnson Trail. I have a multitude of nostalgic memories with family and friends of time spent together on its paths and wading in Susan River.

I remember bringing my two school-aged children and a toddler to the first bridge to swim and play. Now, my children’s children are of an age to venture out on the trail with me but I don’t feel as safe as I used to.

It might be due to entries like this in the police beat, “ … a report from Hobo Camp of a male walking on the Bizz Johnson Trail between the first bridge and the parking lot waving a sword and a spear in a threatening manner.”

I first heard of Susanville during a backyard barbeque long ago in Carson City, Nevada. Based on the description given by my friends, I became intrigued and when my husband applied for a transfer within the company he was working for we actually listed it as one of our options sight unseen!

When a position opened up here, a day-trip confirmed what we had been told. A quaint and quiet town surrounded by lakes and abundant wildlife, boasting all four seasons and a community where people could still leave the front door unlocked — count me in!

Decades later the panoramic and multi-faceted beauty of our surroundings is still awe inspiring — depending on where you look.

During last year’s Turkey Trot, in addition to the brilliant fall colors, there were tarp-covered shanties set up near Susan River just steps from the path where families with children of all ages participated in what is considered a wholesome activity. This is not the Susanville my children grew up in.

Lassen County is worth protecting from the ravages of pollution left behind by transient dwellers, often containing potentially dangerous items, like needles, glass, alcohol, drugs and human waste.
I wonder many things: I wonder what the solution is. When families use our rivers recreationally I wonder what is happening upstream? I wonder who has to get hurt before action is taken to make Susanville safe for families again?

Most of all, when the topic of Susanville is introduced among friends today, I wonder how the description differs from the quaint, close-knit community our family chose to call home?