Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

California Department of Fish and Game & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Agencies to Dedicate New Battle Creek Salmon Trail

Sep 24, 2010

Media Contacts:     Scott Hamelberg, USFWS Project Leader, 530-365-8622

                             Jim Chakarun, DFG Wildlife Habitat Sup. II, 530-527-8917

                             Jack Jernigan, USFWS Public Information, 530-365-8622

Agencies to Dedicate New Battle Creek Salmon Trail

On Thursday, Sept. 30, representatives from both state and federal government will dedicate a new creekside hiking trail to the children of Shasta and Tehama counties. The dedication ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Anderson, Calif.

The two-mile Battle Creek Salmon Trail connects the hatchery, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with the Battle Creek Wildlife Area, managed by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The trail was created by both agencies, with assistance from the Friends of Coleman NFH, to provide children with opportunities to connect with nature during their traditional class tours of the hatchery.

Friends of Coleman NFH President Jack Blanke says he hopes this walking trail will give children and families another opportunity to explore the outdoors and see wildlife.  “We hope to provide an opportunity for them to enjoy the fresh air and to photograph and make note of the plants and animals that intrigue them during their trip to the hatchery and the wildlife area.”

During class visits, Hatchery Manager Scott Hamelberg wants to foster a conservation ethic and give school kids more opportunities to connect with and appreciate nature. He also states that, “If children get to see fish in the creek near the trail, it may inspire an interest in fishing for them in areas where fishing is permitted, such as in the Sacramento River or in the ocean.”

USFWS Biologist Tricia Parker adds, “Aside from viewing fall run Chinook salmon at the hatchery, the trail will give school children a chance to see fish spawning naturally in the creek.” Signs along the interpretive trail will help children and families to learn more about the animals, plants and fish that live in and next to the creek.

Friends of Coleman NFH members – including Jack Blanke, Bill Terschuren, Sue Horkey, Bill Ramey and Sheila Ramey – and other volunteers have spent many hours selecting the trail route, working the trail surface and pouring concrete for bench bases and sign posts. Local members of the Sierra Club helped volunteers identify native plants that are seen along the trail. Funding for trail signs, benches and materials was provided by the McConnell Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation through a grant secured by the Friends of Coleman NFH. Efforts to develop the trail from the USFWS side were led by NFH’s Hamelberg and Wildlife Habitat Supervisor James Chakarun led the effort to develop the trail from the DFG side.

The portion of the trail on Battle Creek Wildlife Area land required the team to cut through very dense stands of non-native vegetation. After DFG staff blazed the trail, fire crews from the Ishi Conservation Camp – which includes CalFire and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – widened the trail through the very heavy vegetation. According to Chuck Schoendienst of CalFire, “It provided a good use of the crews and serves the public with projects related to natural resources.”

DFG’s Chakarun says the project not only provides public access but also removed invasive non-native vegetation and improved wildlife habitat. The trail surface was finished by the Friends of Coleman NFH.

In 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) provided $154,500 to replace an old, dilapidated bridge with a new one to improve public access to the trails and ensure access for maintenance and emergency vehicles and equipment. Since 2000, DFG, WCB, Ducks Unlimited and River Partners have restored 21 acres of riparian habitat and created 35 acres of wetlands on the Battle Creek Wildlife Area.

The Friends of Coleman NFH gives special thanks to DFG’s Battle Creek Wildlife Area staff – Jim Chakarun, Pat Sater and Fred Peery – and USFWS’s Scott Hamelberg and Tricia Parker, all of whom were instrumental in making this opportunity for outdoor education and recreation come to fruition.

The USFWS is committed to providing access to all of its programs, activities and facilities to all participants, including individuals with disabilities. If you have a permanent disability and would like to request a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this event, please contact Sharon Gower at (530) 365-8622 or Sharon_Gower@fws.gov. Alternative formats of this news release are also available upon request. Reasonable accommodation must be requested at least seven business days prior to the event date.

For more information, please visit www.fws.gov/coleman or www.dfg.ca.gov.

The mission of the USFWS is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.