Linking 15 California Mountain Communities Through Multiuse Trails

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The Connected Communities Project is a visionary effort led in partnership with the US Forest Service, SBTS, and community partners to connect 15 mountain towns for economic prosperity through outdoor recreation – an $887 billion industry. It 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. Our work will include planning, environmental review, trail creation, and maintenance of trails. It is the intent of this project to diversify recreation throughout the region, provide economic stability as well as support fire recovery and prevention efforts. This project will create a learning landscape for outdoor and environmental education programs that include youth employment and volunteer participation. The end goal is to build the proposed Lost Sierra Route, paying homage to the region and the historic Gold Rush-era mail delivery route.

The Lost Sierra Route

This route will link over 600-miles of multi-use trail traversing 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 – creating A Trail for Everyone. The trail will showcase 15 mountain communities with mainstreet connections as well as traverse the headwaters of the Yuba and Feather Rivers, which are critical watersheds delivering more than 65% of California’s clean drinking water.

Connected Communities Connecting Communities through Trails

All SBTS activities are focused on developing the Lost Sierra Route and supporting the local economy. Our organization’s work includes trail work by our Professional Trail Crew, Youth Trail Crews, and our enthusiastic volunteers, festival events drawing international attention and participation, and local business including Yuba Expeditions.

Watch A Trail for Everyone, our 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.

Experiencing The Lost Sierra

Each mountain town has something unique to offer in terms of terrain, nature, adventure, food, camping – and all have a rich history to experience. Through our Planning Phase, we’ve captured input from community locals on what they’d like to highlight about their town, where they want trails to be located and the outdoor experience the neighborhood topography and landscape has to offer. We encourage you to help create the Lost Sierra Route by digging in the dirt with us and traveling here to discover new recreation opportunities.

Lookouts of the Lost Sierra map

Fire Lookouts on the Lost Sierra Route

An interactive map of fire lookouts found along the Lost Sierra Route on the Lassen, Plumas, and Tahoe National Forests.

Creating a Trails Master Plan

A Trails Master Plan is being created to define construction and maintenance of a world-class multiple-use trail system, connects the northern Sierra communities of: Truckee, Loyalton, Sierraville, Sierra City, Downieville, Quincy, Graeagle, Portola, Taylorsville, Greenville, Jonesville, Chester, Westwood, Susanville and Reno NV.

For project updates please check out Trails Master Plan or email Trinity, Connected Communities Project Coordinator.

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.

The list of Connected Communities partners is extensive and varied, spanning from local elected officials to government agencies and municipalities including:

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

View the Connected Communities Presentation

Donate to The Trails and Support Connecting Communities!

Be a part of this region shaping and generational project!

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

Trail Crew building trail