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11-21-22 | Feature

Tom Hesseldenz & Associates

Mount Shasta, California
by Staff

Tom Hesseldenz and Associates (THA), currently headquartered in Mount Shasta, was founded as Ecoscapes in 1976 in Santa Barbara. Rather than maintain a staff, THA works collaboratively with other professionals including biologists, planners, civil engineers, hydrologists, and stream geomorphologists. Customized teams are assembled for each project. This approach has proven very effective when taking on projects that are highly customized and vary considerably in size, complexity, and design goals. THA's projects are designed to not only bring more nature into the built environment but also bring more people into nature via trails, greenways, parks, and openspace conservation. An integrated approach is often taken, incorporating locally native plants in their natural assemblages, stormwater mitigation via natural bioswales and detention basins, vegetative management to reduce wildfire risks, and fish and wildlife habitat restoration including streams, riparian zones, and wetlands.

Large Private Estates, Shasta Valley, CA

THA has been retained over the years by the owners of a number of large private estates, including 2 fishing clubs on the McCloud River, a private estate on the Fall River, 2 private estates along creeks with extensive meadows, and a large organic beef ranch in the Shasta Valley. To varying degrees, these projects involved extensive trail design, ecological landscaping with native plant species transplanted from onsite, ecological restoration and enhancement (including large ponds), fuels reduction for wildfire protection, utilities upgrades, access road improvements, site planning for new buildings, and proposed adjacent land acquisitions.

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Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta, CA

During the 1990s THA designed and implemented an integrated hospital facilities expansion plan, wetland and stormwater mitigation plan, and an extensive outdoor healing program (called the Nepenthe Project), all on a 24-acre site. Facilities expansion included a new parking area and site planning for future building expansions and additional parking. Wetland and stormwater mitigation consisted of creating 3 large onsite ponds (freshwater marshes) with connecting streams and wet meadows, utilizing well water that was being discharged after use for hospital cooling.

Tauhindauli Park, Dunsmuir, CA

Above: This 16-acre park along the Upper Sacramento River in Dunsmuir is situated partially underneath Interstate 5 on Caltrans property, and also includes adjacent properties associated with a Pacific Power substation, a Union Pacific railway line, a City of Dunsmuir sewage lift station, and the former site of a historic soda spring resort purchased by the State of California. Park design and construction was funded by a grant. The Garden Club hired THA to design the park, which included relocation of a levee and removal of past fill to restore two floodplain areas along the river, realignment of a city street to reduce steepness and provide more of a setback from the river, daylighting of a small spring-fed creek through a former staging area for the construction of Interstate 5 bridges over the river, improvement of containment basins for the substation and lift station to protect the river from spills, installation of public use facilities including a half-mile ADA-compliant paved multi-use trail along the river, several river access spur trails (one of which serves as an all-access fishing platform), two picnic areas, a parking area, and interpretive markers.

Lake Siskiyou Trail Project, CA

Left: Lake Siskiyou is a 450-acre reservoir surrounded by over 1,900 acres of county-owned forest lands, built in the late 1960's primarily for recreational uses. A campground and boat ramp were included at the time of reservoir construction, and a golf course and rental chalets were added more recently, but the lake did not have a trail around it. In response, THA worked with the Mount Shasta Trail Association and Siskiyou County to design and oversee construction of a 7-mile Lake Siskiyou Trail encircling the lake, several narrow lower loops close to the water, and a 1-mile trail along Box Canyon below the lake. The project also included improvement of six parking areas, restoration of 20 acres of wet meadow, realignment of a portion of road above a trail bridge site, and input on ongoing forest restoration and wildfire hazard reduction work. THA also prepared a master plan for trail-related facilities and prepared the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for the original project. A follow-up project is currently underway to undertake the design, engineering, and environmental compliance for a 450-foot trail bridge over the river and floodplain near where the Upper Sacramento River flows into the lake.

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