Lassen Land and Trails Trust is announcing the completion, with the National Park Service, of a plan to develop a connector trail for the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail to the broad network of trails in development here in Lassen County. The acquisition of an additional segment of the abandoned rail corridor by Lassen Land and Trails Trust will enable the connection to happen. The assistance of the National Park Service and the local community facilitated stabilization of the property and a plan for development of the shared use trail connector, as well as improvements to the historic railroad depot visitor and interpretive center.
“Thanks to all in the community who have supported Lassen Land and Trails Trust’s Bizz Johnson Extension project,” said LLandTT Executive Director Louise Jensen. “The shared vision of a connected network of over 100 miles of trail linking the Bizz, Skyline Bike Path, Skyline Park, Susanville Ranch Park and the proposed Skyline South multi-use path is another step closer to being achieved with the acquisition of the 7-acre ‘railroad cut’ property behind the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot.”
“Thanks to the community’s response to the Trust’s appeal in 2014 and support in 2015, the goal to raise $20,000 to clean up the property and complete a plan to improve the site was achieved.”
The Trust reached out to community friends and Depot neighbors to complete the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot Visitor Center and Trailhead Concept Plan in September. This plan will serve as the blueprint to guide future development of the site. With community input, the following shared priorities were identified:
- The extension of the Bizz Johnson Trail to Alexander Ave. along the old railroad grade, including a parallel equestrian path
- The construction of two foot paths along the top of the cut banks to connect the historic railroad neighborhoods to the Depot and the Bizz
- New fencing, benches, and the creation of a vista point to enjoy views of the Diamond Mountains from the top of both cuts
- New improvements at the Depot to better serve our community and the visitors who come to Susanville from all across the country and around the world.
This past summer and fall, work crews and volunteers secured the old fence line around the perimeter of the railroad cut, removed over a ton of garbage and debris and cleared brush to create a fuel break.
According to Jensen the concept plan was a collaborative effort with the trust’s community friends and the National Park Service and the organization is thanking all who supported and participated in this effort. The next step is to secure funds to implement the plan. The Trust has submitted two grant applications to begin implementing the plan. If approved, these grants will fund all of the work listed above.
A third grant, to close and rehabilitate the hill climbs up the cut banks and re-vegetate, will be submitted in March of 2016. Jensen said that the Trust looks forward to a continued partnership with the community to complete the plan.