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.

The Lost Sierra Master Trails Plan. Click to view larger.

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.

Connected Communities Presentation PDF
Click to view the Connected Communities Presentation

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.

Dirt Magic

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.

Learn More About This Project

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
View Map

Complete brushing and drainage trail maintenance on miles of historic trails in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area to keep trails open and safe to the public.
Estimated cost: $40,000
View Map

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)

Perform critical trail maintenance on the North Yuba Trail between Downieville and Goodyears Bar. Establish tread on steep slope and construct retaining walls for long term sustainability.
Estimated Cost: $30,000
View Map

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Latest News

8 Apr

Jeff Sperry – From Super Volunteer to SBTS Employee

We often get asked what it takes to secure a job with the Stewardship, and there could be no better example than the story of Jeff Sperry, who was hired last...
4 Apr

Comments Needed for Downieville and Quincy Trailwork

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) has applied for two Ground Operations grants this year and need your comments to CA-OHV on both so we can receive the...
2 Apr

We Are Hiring For Our Pro Trail Crew

Come to join us and make Dirt Magic throughout in the Lost Sierra! If you love building trail in the mountains, this is job has it! Dates:...
21 Mar

Junior and High School Students, Apply for Our Knights of the Lost Sierra Earn-A-Bike Program

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is excited to announce its Knights of the Lost Sierra Earn-A-Bike Program. Through the generosity of Michael Knighten’s...

Upcoming Events

Jun 15 / 8am - 3pm Downieville, CA

Downieville Trail Daze – June 15

Project Overview Come help Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship on the new Downieville Classic XC route! This trail is on the Sierra Crest and is...
Aug 1 - Aug 4 / early - late! Downieville, CA

Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race – Aug 1-4, 2019

Come to prove yourself, or just come to have fun. All Mountain World Championships Cross Country Adventure Race Downieville Downhill Race...
Sep 6 - Sep 8 / 7am - 2pm Gold Lake, CA

Lakes Basin Mountain Epic – September 6-8

A weekend of fun camping, riding and trail building, September 6-8. Join us for our Lakes Basin Epic Weekend, where all the food and beer is covered...
Sep 28 / early -> late! Quincy, CA - The Lost Sierra

Grinduro – September 28, 2019

Registration opens April 15th at 8 pm PST! A New Kind of Bike Race Voted “Event of the Year” by the Design and Innovation Awards committee, the unique...
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