Revitalizing Towns through Recreation

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship logo

Over the last few decades, Downieville California has become the mountain biking capital of the world. Transformed from an old mining town with a struggling economy, Downieville has become a recreational paradise.

Bikers come from all over the world to ride a shuttle to the top of the Sierra Buttes. They embark on a world-class, 15-mile, downhill ride through spectacular landscapes. The trek begins on the Sunrise Trail, a breathtaking ride through wildflower meadows. As you descend, you drop down onto Butcher Ranch Trail, and follow waterfalls through surreal landscapes.

Similar to Downieville, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship and US Forest Service hold a vision of connecting other economically challenged towns of the Lost Sierra through biking and hiking trails. It will boost economic opportunity through outdoor recreation, which is estimated to be an $887 billion industry.

This project includes both trail building and restoration. It is expected to create jobs in the economically disadvantaged towns within Plumas, Sierra, Butte and Lassen Counties. The trail will connect Susanville, Westwood, Chester, Jonesville, Greenville, Taylorsville, Portola, Graeagle, Quincy, Downieville, Sierra City, Sierraville, Loyalton - as well as connecting all the way to Truckee.

Their end goal is to build the proposed Lost Sierra Route. This will pay homage to the region and the historic Gold Rush-era mail delivery route.

Planned Phases

Phases for building the Lost Sierra Trail

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a non-profit organization. They build and maintain multiuse trails in the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen National Forests. This route will link over 600-miles of multi-use trail. Hikers and bikers will experience beautiful topography, jagged peaks, and high alpine meadows.

The topography is similar to the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail. However, this new trans-Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range route allows for all dirt trail travelers. This includes hikers, mountain bikers, moto riders, equestrians, trail runners, hunters, fishermen and will preserve wildlife.

Connected Communities

Connected Communities map

They envision main street connections from all trails, bringing recreational opportunities and new jobs to each area. The eclectic mountain towns within the Lost Sierra all have something unique to offer in terms of terrain, adventure, camping, food – and all have a rich history.

The unique scenery that can only be found on the Lost Sierra Route, traverses the Feather and Yuba Rivers, along with many alpine lakes, waterfalls, and meadows. The trail will extend 600 miles across Lassen, Plumas, Tahoe, and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests.

They expect to tap the $201 billion market for trail sports and recreation, creating an estimated 150 new jobs across the region. This includes the construction phase of the project, including youth trail crew positions, professional trail crew positions, project management, and administrative and human resource positions.

You can watch their video here or for more information about the proposed routes and how to support their efforts, click here.

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