Lassen plans for year-long centennial celebration

Debra Moore
Staff Writer


Plans are already underway for the 2016 centennial celebration for Lassen Volcanic National Park and the National Park Service.

Lassen Park Superintendent Darlene Koontz appeared before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on March 4 to discuss the celebration and share other information about the park, including the impact it has on the surrounding area.

Lassen Volcanic National Park 2014 special events

May 15: Annual photo contest begins
June 14: National Get Outdoors Day – Trail Challenge Kickoff
July 20: Migratory Bird Banding Demonstration
Aug. 1 – 3: Dark Sky Festival
Sept. 27: National Public Lands Day (Art & Wine Festival)
Oct. 10 – 12: 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

But though LVNP is in Plumas County’s backyard, only 2 percent of the county’s residents visited it last winter. That compares to 27 percent each for Shasta and Butte counties, and 7 percent for Tehama.

Visitors represented 29 states and 14 countries, with Germany leading the way with the most number of foreign visitors.

Koontz said that people who stay in the park for more than 24 hours tend to spend 3.1 days visiting the area, with an estimated $291 per day being pumped into the economy. Koontz said that Redding benefits significantly from the park because that is the most popular choice for people to stay.

Board Chairman Jon Kennedy jokingly suggested that “road closed” signs be used to direct traffic toward Plumas County.

Those who travel to the park most often pass through Red Bluff, followed by Chico, Redding, Shingletown and, lastly, Chester.

And it was in Redding, Red Bluff, Chester and Chico that scoping meetings were held to develop the park’s first wilderness and backcountry stewardship plan.

According to Koontz, 74 percent of the park is designated as wilderness.

Koontz also addressed drought conditions in the park, where just 25 percent of average precipitation fell in December.

Thinning and prescribed burning will be used to temper the threat of wildfire.

“There has been a 40 percent cut in fire staffing,” Koontz told the board.

While fire and wildland planning are priorities, staff is also working on the centennial celebration, which will include a birthday party, an outdoor dinner, a special commemorative coin and more.

But visitors don’t have to wait for 2016 to celebrate; a host of activities are planned for 2014.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall thanked Koontz for the update.

“I really appreciate the relationship with the park,” she said. “It has been very beneficial.”

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