Supporting Mountain Communities Through Recreation
The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) was born from ordinary people responding to the crisis of federal trail closures in the Downieville area forests.
We wanted to preserve access to these amazing public lands. Offering volunteer labor to the government was the solution, and it needed a big community effort.
Today, SBTS connects government agencies, outdoor enthusiasts, thousands of volunteers, local businesses, industry sponsors, and private organizations on trail building and trail maintenance projects throughout the Lost Sierra region. And in partnership with the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests, SBTS also produces world-class festival events that showcase the mountain communities they take place in, as well as introducing visitors to recreational opportunities on our surrounding public lands.
What We Have Done
Miles of NEW Trail Built
Miles of Trail Maintained to Specification
Trail Projects Completed
Volunteer Labor Hours Contributed
Our Community Needs Your Help
We think of SBTS as a community development organization.
Over 70% of the land in Plumas and Sierra Counties is federally managed public property. Economically, that’s an extreme burden on the small property tax bases of the local communities. The region flourished in the gold mining and heavy timber era. In those days the public lands provided the jobs and created the individual wealth as an extraction economy. Families could make a good living and public services were plentiful. But as extraction dried up by the early 2000s, Plumas and Sierra had slipped to 2 of California’s 3 most economically and public-service depressed counties. We believe the solution lies in forests. By creating a sustainable recreation economy through singletrack trails, we are helping to bring public lands back in balance to directly support our citizens. We are revitalizing our working landscape – bringing new jobs in the forest and pride to our community, while attracting people here to visit and work. We are restoring economic viability in two of the poorest counties in the state – Sierra and Plumas Counties – through our work.
Building quality singletrack is a complicated endeavor.
SBTS employs 100% local professional staffing both on the trail and in meeting rooms with federal government, state and county officials. Our payroll dollars are re-spent in the community, and our projects create additional revenues for regional experts such as geologists, wildlife managers and soils engineers. Through our partnership with the US Forest Service, we are creating community benefit projects using trails as a tool – transforming historic paths and digging new routes in order to create a system of world-class trails on forest service and privately held lands. With more trails in the area, we are specifically targeting extended visitor stays – more days spent on the trails means more customers in town for the local businesses and more tax revenue for City and County coffers.
The Lost Sierra Master Trails Plan is SBTS’s long-range effort to link the regional communities together with a trails network that makes extended touring and grand outdoor adventures possible.
Executing the plan takes buy-in from local leadership and the collaborative work of seeking citizen input throughout the planning process. The concept will provide public access to trails right from town for all ages and abilities. We provide presentations to local federal, city and county stakeholders and citizens to get them engaged in project planning, implementation and the ongoing maintenance and stewardship.
View our Connected Communities Presentation that explains our current state and why we believe trails will revitalize our disadvantaged communities.
Please join us in the exciting work of developing sustainable recreation pathways through the beautiful forests between the towns of the Lost Sierra!
Watch Dirt Magic from Patagonia Films
Dirt Magic is directed by Brandon Watts and produced by Teton Gravity Research and Freehub MTB Media Company that tells the tale of our grassroots organization and Downieville’s journey from a dying mining town to a mountain bike mecca.
Our Active Projects
Our Active Projexts
We focus on five things with our projects:
- Multiple-use trails: hiking, mountain biking, e-biking, equestrian and off highway vehicle
- Working partnerships with land agencies and local officials
- Fundraising abilities and financial stability
- Public engagement and youth involvement directly on the trail
- Long term collaborative vision with our community
These are our active projects we have either in planning or where we are moving dirt with our professional trail crew and the hundreds of volunteers who help us create Dirt Magic.
The Beckwourth Peak Recreation Project area includes the construction of a new 19.79 mile long trail.
The Beckwourth Peak Recreation Project includes the NEPA/CEQA (environmental documentation and surveys) and the construction of a new 19.79 mile long mutli-use trail, connecting the City of Portola with the recreation community of Gold Mountain.
The project area ranges from approximately 5,000 feet to the slopes of Beckwourth Peak at approximately 6,000 feet above sea level. The habitat is mixed conifer, areas of meadows, open rocky areas, rock outcrops, and mountain tops.
A proposed 10-mile long, motorized multiple-use singletrack trail that will connect the existing 7- mile long Nelson Creek Trail from Zumwalt Flat to Nelson Point, located along the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Estimated cost: $200,000. Currently working with USFS to identify potential routes and supporting materials to apply for funds to support NEQA/CEQA (environmental documentation and surveys). The required NEPA/CEQA documentation and surveys is estimated to cost $47,000. Construction is estimated to cost $264,000 (52,800 feet @ $5 per foot).
View Map (Draft)
Annual maintenance on 66 miles of trail sustaining or improving conditions including log out, brushing, hazard tree removal, braking bump removal, tread repair, tread buffing, large debris removal and the enhancement or construction of drainage structures.
Estimated cost: $114,000
View Map 1
View Map 2
Rehabilitate and restore 16.6-miles of heavily eroded trails in the South Park Trail System and protect the Tollgate – Spanish Creek watershed from contamination caused by erosion.
Estimated cost: $60,000
Perform maintenance on 66-miles of Mt Hough Trail System, Snake Lake, Claremont, and Nelson Creek trails focusing on soil and water management to limit future maintenance needs.
Estimated cost: $250,000
View Plumas OHV Overview Map
View Map for Motorized Use
View Map for Mt. Hough
View Map for Snake Lake
View Map for Claremont
View Map for Nelson Creek
Completing environmental analysis on 20-miles of potential new connections on Mt Hough Trail System. Currently flagging proposed trail routes and surveying for special species.
Estimated cost: $156,000
View Map (draft)