Volcanic Scenic Byway gets large grant – April 21, 2003

Volcanic Scenic Byway gets large grant: Volcanic half-million to be spent on California section of scenic road

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
April 21, 2003
The California portion of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway and All American Road, which runs from the Oregon-California state line on Highway 97 to Lassen Volcanic National Park, was recently awarded two grants from the Federal Highway Administration for a $490,600.

Overall, the combined Oregon and California sections of the byway covers 500 miles and begins near Diamond Lake Junction in northern Klamath County, runs through Crater Lake National Park, and goes along the Upper Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area and Running Y Ranch Resort.
Word of the grants came last week from the office of Rep. Wally Herger, whose Northern California district includes Siskiyou County.

“I’m really happy. What this means is that we have the support not only from the state but from the federal government,” said LaVada Erickson, Siskiyou County Supervisor. “The federal government is very supportive of the byway. To give a half-million dollars is a pretty big statement.”

The Volcanic Legacy Discovery Center in Mount Shasta will be the focus of a $465,600 grant, with some money earmarked for road signs on the 360-mile California portion of the route.

A second grant for $25,000 was awarded for the creation of an inclusive byway organization charged with implementing the corridor management plan that was part of the byway’s nomination package.

Funding for the grants came from a $6 million byway improvements package from National Scenic Byways funds.

“There’s a lot of support for this byway in the region and the grants provide some seed monies,” said Dennis Cadd, Caltrans State Scenic Byway coordinator. “The area just needs a little more promotion, and that’s what the byway program can do.”
Grant proposals were submitted to the California Department of Transportation last June, weeks before the Volcanic Legacy California portion received the designation from the Federal Highway Administration. The Volcanic Legacy is the first All American Road in California north of Yosemite National Park.
The Ore-Cal Resource Conservation and Development council, based in Dorris and led by Jim Vancura, worked with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on the grant proposals.

The California portion of the byway was the final step in gaining All American Road status for the 500-mile Volcanic Legacy. The Oregon portion of the byway, earned All American Road status in 1998. To be eligible for nomination as an All American Road, portions of the California section needed to first earn either state or Forest Service scenic byway recognition. The Shasta Volcanic Scenic Byway earned the title of Forest Service byway in 2000, making the road eligible for the federal nomination process.

“I tip my hat to Jim Vancura and Joanne Steele,” Erickson said. “They are the ones who said, ‘we can do this.’ After hitting a brick wall most people would have given up, but they didn’t. This is going to be good for the whole county.”
The five California counties along the byway have already begun working on byway activities, from planning an opening celebration to cooperating on design projects for signage on public lands.

After the designation of the Volcanic Legacy last July, a grass-roots group was created that will grow into the Volcanic Legacy Community Partnership. As Ore-Cal RC&D’s project coordinator, Vancura has worked on the project since its inception in the mid-1990s.
“We are of course thankful to Congressman Wally Herger, the staff and leadership of the folks at the National Federal Highway Administration, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, and Dennis Cadd, our own scenic byway coordinator at Caltrans,” said Vancura. “We are very grateful to everyone for this opportunity to make things happen in upstate California.”

The Byway Committee is planning an opening celebration May 31 in Weed on Highway 97. Herger has been invited to speak at the ribbon cutting. Live entertainment and a barbecue will follow.
A Volcanic Legacy Information Center is in place and will continue to provide visitors with information until the opening of the Discovery Center, which is likely in the next four years. A byway Web site at www.volcaniclegacybyway.org has information and maps. For more information call the info center at (866) 722-9929.

Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties. He can be reached at 885-4421, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at lee@heraldandnews.com.

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