One Trail At A Time – By Stacy Fisher
Quincy-based Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a volunteer driven non-profit formed in 2003, whose primary goal is the maintenance and enhancement of recreational trail networks serving communities within the Sierra Buttes regionlocated throughout Sierra, Plumas and Lassen Counties, including Tahoe, Lassen, and Plumas National Forests. A descendent of the Deer Creek Band of Northern Sierra Miwok, SBTS Executive Director, Greg Williams, founded and leads the
organization. He says he has spent his life living by the examples of his forefathers — developing a passion for clean streams, big mountains, robust forests and long trails. Williams asserts that, “It is our goal to maintain, restore, and enhance the trails of this region in an environmentally sensitive and ecologically responsible fashion,” by using low impact and aesthetically considerate practices to “reduce erosion,” so that trails can withstand the demands of an increasing number of recreational users.
This region’s unique natural beauty and remote accessibility provides diverse multiuse recreational opportunities, says Kyla Pascucci, General Manager of the organization. “The work performed by our organization and volunteers is helping create enjoyable backcountry trail access for everyone to enjoy.”
A nationally recognized work program, the non-profit Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is among the biggest trail organizations, Williams notes, consisting of a variety of popular events and trail days packed with camaraderie and good times for its members who plan their time off around them.
The long-term goal of the group Williams remarks, “is to continue the upkeep” of the existing network of trails “crucial for local communities” to maintain their status as premier outdoor recreation destinations, with an emphasis on “reduction of watershed contamination, grade reduction, and erosion mitigation.”
The rehabilitation of historic trails like Smith Lake, Spencer Lake, High
Commission, Mexican Mine, City of Six Ridges, Rattlesnake Creek, Herkimer Mine, Sunshine, and others also broaden the umbrella of trail options, he says.
The expectation is that by offering a wider range of recreational opportunties, “these routes will also help spread the impact of trail use and hopefully lessen the wear on some of the more heavily trafficked trails in the region.”
Pascucci reiterates that, “Our mission is building sustainable recreation-based communities through world-class events,” including job creation and providing quality outdoor experiences through trail construction and ongoing preservation.
Events include hosting weekly Trail Workdays in Quincy on Mt. Hough every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. SBTS provides tools, PPE, drinks and extra water at the trailhead. They recommend you also bring water, a backpack, closed toe shoes, gloves, sunscreen, and eye protection. A wide brim hat can also be helpful.
In addition, the organization coordinates weekend fun during its Mountain Epics, which may include such activities such as 40-mile, 60-mile and 100-mile mountain bike rides through beautiful terrain.
These weekend festivities include sleeping under the stars at a campsite for a small fee, riding the manicured trails of the Lakes Basin, hiking, and a lot of digging in the dirt as part of the program’s trail work! Food and cold beverages are covered for volunteers. You do not have to be a member to participate.
For details on upcoming events, see sidebar to learn more and to register on
their website to participate in memorable outdoor experiences.
Williams says that since the organization’s founding, SBTS has expanded in
range and scope to other users groups; not only for hikers, but also biking and
horseback riding as well. “But the core vision remains the same — the restoration, maintenance and the building of recreational trails that can be enjoyed now and by future generations.”
This enthusiastic group has donated over 100,000 hours of volunteer labor to both the Plumas and Tahoe National Forest trails. While these trails see over
200,000 users per year, trails continue to maintain a high standing due to all the hard work of the Stewardship volunteers.
The organization is a shining example of what a group of dedicated, passionate
people can do for an area. Williams notes that, “We exist to bring a connection between the land and the people who enjoy it by teaching stewardship, restoring historic trail routes and creating new paths through the Lost Sierra,” for the long-term.
Williams is really good at getting people to think big, aiming for what he calls “moon shots.” One of these moon shots is seeing North Yuba Trail extended from Downieville 25 miles eastward, through Sierra City and Bassetts and up to Yuba Pass, linking Downieville up to Beckwourth Peak.
“It won’t be an easy project for us to undertake,” as there are dozens of ravines and steep cliff bands along the canyon to negotiate, “but nothing worthwhile is ever easy,” he insists.
SBTS depends on the good will of individuals, outside organizations and
business sponsors. Monies go directly to trail maintenance and development.
“We multiply all donations by over 1,500 percent through organized volunteer labor in-kind contributions,” Williams adds.
Without the support of businesses large and small the Sierra Buttes Trail
Stewardship would not be able to operate at its highest potential, he says.
Individuals can choose to support SBTS one of two ways: by donating a fixed
amount one time, monthly or annually as a Friend of the Stewardship; or with a larger donation over the next three years as part of the organization’s Vision Circle.
“We use your donations to leverage state and federal grants to fund a major
portion of our work,” Williams says.
For more information on how your business can partner with SBTS, check
In addition, the organization offers its Adopt-A-Trail program that provides a
way for businesses and individuals to partner with SBTS by sponsoring trail
maintenance on specific trails.
The Adopt A Trail Program is operated under volunteer agreements with the
Plumas and Tahoe National Forests.
Says Williams, “Your philanthropic contribution to the maintenance and
upkeep of the National Forest Trails System will instill a sense of pride” to your company and your employees, “and provide much needed trail maintenance that currently has no Federal funding,” adding that, “It’s also a great way to promote your business” while demonstrating that you care for trails and providing users an opportunity to experience the beauty of the local wilderness.
Business partners underwrite a substantial amount of the work they do, and in many cases also contribute generous amounts of product to their fundraising efforts that is calculated to help drive economic growth through recreation.
To volunteer, for employment opportunities, to subscribe to their newsletter, or to learn more about the organization and the many exciting, upcoming events sponsored by Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, check out their website at:
sierratrails.org. To donate: sierratrails.org/donate/. Email: [email protected];
SIERRA BUTTES TRAIL
is headquartered at
550 Crescent Street,
Quincy, CA, 95971.