Timber! Shasta history, just off I-5 Essay

Hours of backbreaking work with ax and saw are about to pay off, as
the Shasta red fir starts to crack and list. You hear the yell of
“Timber!” before the tree heaves with a roar to the forest
floor.



This scene, repeated countless times in Siskiyou County’s
logging history, is recaptured in an excellent exhibit at Mount
Shasta’s year-old Sisson Fish Hatchery Museum, just off Interstate
5.

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You’ll see and hear trees crashing down in the 25-minute
narrated slide show on oldtime logging and the 1-hour video tape on
modern logging. The exhibit–taking up three of the one-story
museum’s four rooms–also displays paintings, photographs, tools
you can touch, and parts of trees to show you how timber is felled,
bucked, skidded, loaded, hauled, and unloaded.



You’ll also see old ropes and ice axes from early ascents of
14,162-foot Mount Shasta, which looms across the valley. Another
exhibit exhibit chronicles the history of the Sission Fish Hatchery
(renamed the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery when the town changed its name
from Sisson to Mount Shasta). Begun is 1888 and claimed to be the
nation’s second oldest operating hatchery, the state-run facility
plants a million trout fingerlings a year in 250 northern California lakes–dropped from planes or transported by truck.



From 1910 to 1980, the museum building was an active part of the
hatchery. Photographs, hatching troughs, and tools show how the fish
were fed, stripped of eggs, hatched, and dispersed.



Outside, you’ll see part of the modern hatchery. For a
nickel, a dispenser spills out a handful of pellets to feed some of the
5,000 trout used as brood stock and kept in the pools. Seeing so many
plump rainbows so close may be exquisite torture for anglers.



The free museum–run entirely by volunteers–is open 10 to 5
Mondays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 Sundays. The logging exhibit runs
through May; other displays are permanent. For details, call (916)
926-5508.



From 1-5, take the central Mount Shasta exit and go west 1/2 mile
to the T intersection. The museum is directly ahead.

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