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Outdoor Educational Tours – Touring with the Sierra Institute

Outdoor Educational Tours – Touring with the Sierra Institute

April 18, 2015 by: Sharon Roberts

Outdoor Educational Tours with the Sierra Institute

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is a non-profit organization based out of Taylorsville, Ca.  The Institute offers outdoor educational tours about forest and watershed management.

As part of the Sierra Institute’s goal of getting people outdoors to learn about sustainable forests, local resources, and the unique history and culture of the rural communities of the Lake Almanor Basin and Northern Sierra Nevada, the Institute offers several outdoor educational tours each year.

Make sure to bookmark the Sierra Institute’s web page as many of the tours change each year.  The website is full of testimonials from previous participants.

Tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly. Tasty snacks, meals and beverages are provided.  Cost of each tour is only $50.00 per person.

If you have a strong interest in attending one or all of the educational tours and the cost is stopping you, become a volunteer.

There’s a lot to do when you volunteer at the Sierra Institute!  As a Center of Forestry volunteer, you can learn about local history by volunteering to assist on a tour, or participate in community events sharing the word about Sierra Institute and the Center of Forestry Tours.

Please contact the Sierra Institute directly and let them know you are interested in volunteering for one or more of the Outdoor Educational Tours.  There are several different ways to help.

Recommend to bring  your camera for all the outdoor educational tours.   In the interest of the environment, we always encourage our participants to bring their refillable water bottles, which we can refill during the tour.  Good walking shoes and a hat are always a plus on all our tours! Thank you!

May 9 – Geology 101 of Northern Sierra Outdoor Educational Tour

In celebration of Lassen Feather River History Month, Sierra Institute’s Center of Forestry is offering an educational tour focused on the geology of the Northern Sierra Nevada, specifically the Feather River Canyon area.

Bridget Tracy, an environmental studies lecturer at Feather River College, will lead this tour down Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon to view the unique geology of this area.

This tour meets at the Feather River College in Quincy at 9:00 am.  Forestry Building Room 40.

Various stops along the way to see the variety of rock formations, learn about historical values of these formations, and more.

You will explore the geologic evolution of the Northern Sierra Nevada/Southern Cascades over the past 300-million years and cover a wide range of topics from plate tectonics and basic rock types, to gold mineralization and gold recovery, along with river mechanics and water in California.

You’ll see examples of meta-sedimentary and meta-volcanic rock, and some fantastic and colorful rock formations created over millions of years through various geological forces. You’ll learn the difference between brittle and ductile deformations and see examples of both. You will visit the Melones Fault, which is considered mainly responsible for gold in California, and also see one of the last stamp mills in the Northern Sierra while learning a bit about California’s gold mining legacy.

Finally, on our way back we’ll detour to Highway 89 and stop at Soda Rock, also known as Ch’ichy’yam-bam to the Maidu.

Morning refreshments, lunch, and bus transportation are provided as part of the tour, which begins at 9:00am and concludes no later than 3:00pm. Cost is $50 per person.

Visit website at for more information on our tours, and on all our programs.

and on all our programs. To reserve your space, or receive information via email, please contact Camille Swezy at 530.284.1022, or email at

In addition to camera, and water if you have a rock pick or loop, please feel free to bring them.

May 30 – Stairway of Power Outdoor Educational Tour

Belden Power House on the Feather River
The Water, Power, Fish, and Fire tour, one of the most popular outdoor educational  tours, discusses current issues and interests dealing with hydroelectric power and its relationship with fish populations, fire, and water in the Feather River Watershed.

The tour begins at 8:30 a.m. in Chester at the Collins Pine Museum, where participants will be introduced to the day’s events, tours guides, and enjoy morning refreshments.

Participants will then begin the journey down the “Stairway of Power.” The first stop will be at the Prattville intake on the southwest shore of Lake Almanor, where discussion will be centered on lake ecology, PG&E’s re-licensing process, the potential for a thermal curtain to be installed in the lake to lower the temperature of the North Fork of the Feather River.  Residents of the Lake Almanor Basin are very much against the installation of a thermal curtain in Lake Almanor.

The tour will follow the water down to Butt Valley Reservoir, where participants will discuss the ecological effects of dams on fisheries. The group continues to the Caribou and Belden Powerhouses.

After lunch near the Belden Powerhouse and  the  Old Grist Mill the tour will  head back through the 2012 Chips Fire burn area, discussing the effects of wildfire on the forest and riparian areas.

The tour will conclude around 4:00 p.m., returning participants to the Collins Museum in Chester.

The tour guides for the day will be Ken Roby, retired Fisheries Biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, and Mike Willhoit, retired PG&E manager of the DeSabla division, which covers Butte, Glen. The guide for the fire part of the tour has yet to be determined.

Space is limited, so call early to reserve your place. Morning refreshments, lunch, and transportation are provided as part of the tour, which begins at 8:30am and concludes before 5:00pm. Cost is $50 per person per tour.

Visit  website at for more information on our tours, and on all our programs.

To reserve your space, or receive information via email, please contact Camille Swezy at 530.284.1022, or email at

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