Linking 15 California Mountain Communities Through Trails

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is developing a Trails Master Plan for Connected Communities. The Trails Master Plan (TMP) will create a vision for a recreation-focused lifestyle through community investment, shared stewardship, economic opportunity and important new local jobs, all benefiting economically disadvantaged communities in California’s Plumas, Sierra, Butte and Lassen Counties.

Trailworkers holding trail tool in celebration

A key component to the Connected Communities Trails Master Plan is the proposed “Lost Sierra Route”, which traverses 300 miles over breathtaking topography, jagged peaks and high alpine meadows similar to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the John Muir Trail (JMT). But unlike the PCT and JMT, this new trans-Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range route allows for all dirt trail travelers including hikers, mountain bikers, moto riders, equestrians, trail runners, hunters, fishermen, wildlife, grandmothers and babies in backpacks. The Lost Sierra Route will be a trail for all to use that will link mountain communities together for recreational adventure and economic sustainability.

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About the Trails Master Plan

The Trails Master Plan is being developed through community input and will allow residents to collaborate with land managers and local government officials on a long-range vision for building and maintaining a world-class recreational resource on public land. The TMP will also provide a repeatable process/template for other rural communities wanting to collaborate with government agencies and stakeholders and for land managers to make informed decisions and prioritize projects based on the needs of the community. 

Specifically, the Connected Communities Trails Master Plan will:

  • Assess conditions and identify priorities in order to maintain existing trails, trailhead facilities and access roads located on Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe National Forests.
  • Plan for the construction and maintenance of a world-class multiple-use trail system, connecting the northern Sierra communities of: Truckee, Loyalton, Sierraville, Sierra City, Downieville, Quincy, Graeagle, Portola, Taylorsville, Greenville, Jonesville, Chester, Westwood, Susanville and Reno NV. The main proposed route is being referred to as “The Lost Sierra Route”, paying homage to the region and the historic Gold Rush-era mail delivery route. 
  • Identify areas within communities where trail access would create additional benefit.  Areas such as schools, neighborhoods, campgrounds, parks, retail centers and trailheads (new and existing). Having these trail systems connected to “Main Street” is ideal, as it brings visitors into town for restaurants, accommodations and services, and allows convenient access to public lands for residents.
  • Identify unclassified National Forest roads and trails which may be decommissioned and restored to a natural condition.
  • Create new recreational opportunities, in collaboration with fuels management and watershed protection projects, that will spread high intensity use into underutilized areas of the National Forest
  • Build strategic alignments for Shared Stewardship and create employment, training and apprenticeships for disadvantaged adults and youth.
  • Bring partnerships and investment in public lands through the Outdoor Industry 
  • Timing of the TMP is critical as each of the National Forests (Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe) are in the process of updating their Forest Land & Resource Management Plans. The TMP will provide timely, accurate and useful information for National Forests to plan land access, recreational trails and community needs long into the future. 

Connected Communities is being carried out in 4- Phases:

  • Phase 1 – Planning, Mapping and Development began 2020
  • Phase 2 – NEPA/CEQA – environmental work 
  • Phase 3 – Construction
  • Phase 4 – Maintenance

Connected Communities Partners

To date, project funding has been provided by Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Off-Highway Vehicle Division grants, California State Parks & Recreation grants, California State proposition funds, National Forest Foundation grants, Secure Rural Schools, Outdoor Industry partners, Adopt a Trail sponsors and SBTS matching funds.

Economic Benefits

Recreation on public lands currently represents the greatest economic and cultural opportunity for our rural communities. In the United States, Outdoor Recreation is an $887 billion industry with Trail Sports accounting for $201 billion. Trails on public lands are proven to create local employment, attract visitors and new businesses, and improve the health and economy of mountain communities.

Annual Consumer Spending graph
Recreation is an Economic Powerhouse! Click to Enlarge
Direct Impact of the Outdoor Recreation Economy graph
Click to Enlarge

Learn More

About Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS)

SBTS is a Quincy, California-based 501c3 focused on building what the organization calls #dirtmagic – multiple-use motorized and non-motorized trails for public use – in the Lost Sierra region of the Northern Sierra Nevada range. Since its founding in 2003, SBTS has built over 100 miles of new trail and maintained 1,200 miles of existing trail while employing a full-time Professional Trail Crew and contributing over 90,000 hours of volunteer labor.

Trail Crew building trail

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We promise not to spam you, we just want to pass on the building trails stoke and enjoying the Lost Sierra.

Mt. Hough Trail to Quincy
The Mt. Hough Trail, built by Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, in partnership with Plumas National Forest, navigates to the town of Quincy in the valley below