Community Event, South County

‘Vision to Action’ Building Dunsmuir’s Future

A day of celebration of Dunsmuir’s past, present, and future, engaging the public to help build on Dunsmuir’s future, reimagine and reinvent the community while fostering a stronger connection, was the agenda of the community workshop held on Saturday, May 11th at the Dunsmuir Elementary School’s gymnasium.

The lead team included Bruce Duetsch working with Dunsmuir Mayor Michael Clarno, Ron McCloud, Will Newman, Angel Gomes, and others in the community who came to share in brainstorming.

“The goal of the Building Dunsmuir’s Future project is to ‘spur the renaissance of a beautiful area while improving the quality of life and increasing economic vitality and tourism in our community.’ To accomplish this, we set out to bring together the citizens and develop actions to leverage our community’s assets,”

says Bruce Duetsch.

Alan Clother says, ” The people in our town have enthusiasm, tenacity, and confidence.  This event will hopefully help us strive to bring more to the successful growth and prosperity of Dunsmuir and help give more ideas.

“Today’s workshop is just one element of that project. For weeks leading up to this workshop, a team worked with our local historians to collect and colorize images of our city’s history. We processed nearly 200 images. These images are now on display in the windows of our Travelers Hotel downtown. But along the way, we began sharing the images on the Facebook group, ‘You know you’re from Dunsmuir.’ The explosion of joy and remembrances persisted for weeks. After today’s workshop, the team plans to continue using social media to nurture our sense of community.”

Ron McCloud

Part of the introduction was a talk about the town’s historic overview led by Ron McCloud. He gave a colorful description of the different tribes of Native Americans that traveled through what is known today as Dunsmuir. Then around 1834, the first European explorers, who were fur trappers (Hudson Bay Trappers), arrived. Later, horseback riders herded hundreds of cows through these steep mountainous parts, which later became part of the Pacific Crest Trail (which is still very popular today). The Gold Rush followed in 1849. In 1852, Soda Springs was built for travelers to stop and rest, and then it was sold in 1855 and expanded into a resort. The railroad came through in 1863, creating over 700 jobs for the 7 trains on 17 different tracks. In 1909, the City of Dunsmuir was incorporated. Steam cars came in 1951, and then, 7 years later, diesel trains arrived. The Southern Pacific started here in 1976.

Challenges included floods, fires, major winter storms and snow buildup, mudslides, and the Cantera Spill in 1991. The City of Dunsmuir has overcome and continued to stay strong and grow through the years.

Those who attended the workshop teamed up in groups to brainstorm about the positive direction to take the City of Dunsmuir and discussed what can be done to help build a positive future. People were divided by tables into groups to make lists of the town’s assets, like the river and highway that run through town, the mountain, and forests that offer excellent fishing, adventure, and tourism.

Each person was to write down one word to describe Dunsmuir. Many found that they were not alone in their thoughts. Some of these one-word descriptions were: Rural, Canyon, Charming, Nature, Trains, Beauty, Friendship, Nostalgia, and Swimming pool.

Next, teams worked together on the values the town has. These ideas included the four seasons, the swimming pool, natural resources, small-town enthusiasm, artists/galleries/museum, tourism, etc.

Sean Garland

Sean Garland spoke for his group in the workshop, saying that Dunsmuir has tenacity, always coming back from disasters like fires, floods, or the pesticide spillage in 1991. His group suggested bringing in more of a historical element in their festivals.

Some of the outcomes were adding more festivals, accessible and affordable access to activities like the ski park, river rafting/fishing, adding historic plaques identifying buildings and sites, a wholesome place for raising a family, and more children’s activities.

Siskiyou Revitalization Network, Ford Family Foundation, the Rotary Club, Community Resource Center, Dunsmuir City Council, Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce, and both Dunsmuir’s high school and elementary school have also supported this, all working together and trying to involve the younger people in the community.

It was only in the works for a month and a half, says Ron McCloud. “We want to see how motivated we can get our community to be involved to get this to grow.”

While getting only about half as many people as expected at this workshop, which included lunch prepared by the Dunsmuir High School Culinary Arts Class, Deutsch said, “”It would have been gratifying to have the gym here filled today, but with blue sky and warm May weather, one would have to be motivated to attend.

The subtitle of the workshop is, ‘Vision to Action,’ and those who attended today were very motivated and eager to lead the four community projects that they came up with. The energy in the room throughout the five-hour workshop was fantastic.”

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