Let's start with the biggie first.
"Hat Creek Rim can be flown without a Use Permit"
This is convenient way to justify the idea that a Use Permit is not needed at Hat Creek Rim. The truth of the matter is that access to the land that is needed and used for launching and landing is CONTROLLED by the Forest Service. Not sure if our sport would benefit from ignoring the requirements of the agencies who manage our public lands.
So what does the Use Permit do for the flying community?
The short answer is it provides us all the access that is vital to our use at the site! Readers can go here to see for yourself what the FS says about the permit. Beyond that, the permit allows for permanent windsocks, toilets, and future maintenance and development of the site.
Now for the second biggie!!
"the locals at Hat Creek Rim"
There is a HGing newsgroup that boasts the following; "This group is hosted by the locals at Hat Creek Rim". The reality is, this newsgroup is actually hosted by pilots who live hours away from the Hat Creek Rim and have had nothing to do with its development. It's a bit confusing since it sounds like you can run up to the Rim on any given day and run right into this "group of locals". Sadly, with the untimely passing of Page Perrin, there are NO "locals" at the site.
Are visitors welcome at the site?
Absolutely!! Visiting pilots make up the majority of users here. This is a public site and sits entirely on public land. No club or individual has preferential existence here. Come up, make yourself at home, and enjoy your time there..
What is the best time of the year to fly Hat Creek?
April, May, June, July, August, and September are statistically the best months to visit the site. The site can produce soaring flights anytime (and sled rides most any day), but at the peak of the summer season the site is the most consistent (continuous days of good soaring conditions are routine)! Hat Creek Rim can provide the most energetic cross-country pilot a place to speck-out and go far or for the rest of us a place to ride pleasurable late-afternoon winds over very dramatic scenery.
What is the elevation at Hat Creek Rim?
The elevations at the site vary from 5,100 to 3,484 feet above sea level, a complete list of the elevations can be found here (third column from the left). All elevations are in feet above sea level
Can I camp and have a campfire while visiting the area?
Undeveloped camping is permitted in most of the Lassen National Forest (there are also developed campgrounds and RV parks in the area). Campfires are seasonal and can be very dangerous when the forest dries out. Current fire conditions and particulars can be found here.
What services are closest to the flying site?
Fireside Village (store and restaurant) and Hereford Ranch (camping and R/V park) are located within 7-miles of the Main Launch. They are both along the access road and can be seen here on the site map. The nearest gas is in Old Station and the City of Burney. Old Station is south of the site on HWY 89 about 13 miles and Burney is north of the site at about 13 miles - gas is much cheaper in Burney. Here's a link to Google Maps
Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Follow this link to our club contacts and volunteers. Please don't hesitate to use this resource, we will be more than happy to help.
Is there a fee required to fly the site?
No. A $10.00 donation to the 'Friend of the Rm' fundraising effort does help cover the required operating costs at the site (~$850.00 per year). More info about how the required costs of operating this site are covered can be found here.
Can I safely fly the site the first time without an experienced Rim pilot to assist me?
That depends on your experience! Hat Creek Rim is a very straightforward site; it has a bail-out LZ (#1LZ) directly below the Main Launch and below the south ridge (#3 LZ). The most used LZ (#2) is a 7.1 to 1 glide from the main launch, easily reachable by altitudes normally reached above launch. The site also has fairly consistent characteristics in the summer;- mellow mornings, intense afternoon lift and surface turbulence and a late afternoon and evening glass-off. Never fly the site alone and always use an experienced launch assistant. More site particulars can be found here. If you would prefer to have an experienced pilot along, feel free to contact these volunteers and club members about their availability.
Is there a group responsible for the site?
YES. The ' Shasta Sky Sailors. Our Use Permit allows for the required facilities at the site. The Hat Creek Committee is made up of members of the Shasta Sky Sailors, a chapter of the USHPA since 1974. The Forest Service required a Special Use Permit back in 1996. Since then we've been financially and legally responsible to keep windsocks in all LZs (we were doing this long before it was required), keep a toilet at the main launch, keep the site maintained and clean and repair damage caused by careless pilots. In 2010 the Forest Service required site insurance and an operating plan. To date, your permit holders have spent thousands of dollars and as many man-hours improving and maintaining the site. You can request a current copy of the Special Use Permit by contacting;
Hat Creek Ranger District, Lassen National Forest
PO Box 220, 43225 Hwy. 299 East
Fall River Mills, California 96028
Phone (530) 336-5521
FAX (530) 336-5758
Why is there another group claiming they "care" for the site and "keep it nice"? It's a free country - you can pretty much claim anything you want - doesn't mean it's true. The flying community as a whole takes good care of cleaning up after using the site - and thanks to all that do. There is no group other than ours that has required expenses associated with site maintenance and complying with the Special Use Permit nor is there another group with binding obligations at the site. Even with our Use Permit, we still have to get permission to do work up on the Rim or add facilities to the site. Here's who is caring for the site.
Is there a local pilot or local group I can call?
No. There are no local pilots at the site.
How can I help?
First and foremost, continue to use the site safely and respect other users and the site. It's our obligation to know the rules and regulations of the site and to respect the wishes of private landowners by avoiding ALL private property while visiting the Rim.
Why are the toilets sometimes dirty and have no supplies (TP) in them?
The short answer is economics. The cost of pumping the required toilet on the main launch is a whopping $150.00 each time it's pumped. For another $50.00 they will pump both the launch and LZ toilets. The number of times the toilet (s) are pumped is directly related to the income (donations) to the site. Obviously, if we had unlimited funds or if everyone who used the site kicked in a few bucks, we could pump the toilets more often (the toilets are cleaned and supplied each time they are pumped). The fact of the matter is we must make due with what we have to work with. As far as missing TP, we suggest pilots bring a roll when they visit - unfortunately, the paper supply runs out (or is removed) before the capacity of the toilet is even close to full. It would be nice to have a janitorial service going up weekly to keep the toilets nice but that's not reality. Port-a-potties by design are not the greatest when it comes to aesthetics.
Why is there a Use Permit at Hat Creek Rim?
In 1996, the Forest Service decided a Use Permit was needed at the site. Their reason then, at least as they explained it to us, was primarily sanitation concerns at launch – there was a whole lot of shittin' going on and it wasn't pretty or sanitary. The permit requires, among other things, that a toilet be located at the main launch. We voluntarily keep a toilet in the most used LZ, #2, to avoid sanitation issues there.
Hat Creek Rim is public land; "the Forest Service can't require a Use Permit or insurance!", right?
Wrong. Hat Creek Rim is indeed on Forest Service land – whether or not the Forest Service has the right to require a Use Permit and insurance on public land is a legal issue we couldn't afford to challenge even if we wanted to. Rather than test their patience or authority we've opted to comply with their requirements. We have set no precedents. We are not willing to risk the site by defying the Forest Service requirements.
Why are the Shasta Sky Sailors involved with the site?
The Shasta Sky Sailors pioneered Hat Creek Rim in 1975 and have developed the site since that time. Remember, there was no road to launch, no launch, no setup area, no parking area - just thick covering of brush. What you see today is the accumulation of decades of hard work. We're talking about club volunteers with jackhammers breaking huge rocks to make the original road in to launch. We have a long history at the site and want to see it survive and thrive for decades to come.
What’s with the small group speaking negativity about the permit holders? Our best estimate of what is motivating members of one club to continually find fault with our involvement at a flying site as exceptional as Hat Creek Rim comes from an email dated April 15, 2003. It was then that the president of a club located 2.5 hours away from the site wrote this to his club members; "all I know is what Page has told me. He'd like the Cloud Street Gang to be named on the use permit as the club for the Rim." Considering that before this apparent offer (which is 28 years after we pioneered the site) not a negative word was spoken or written about our involvement at the site. It seem reasonable to believe the this unrealized hope to become the "club for the rim" still motivates their misinformation and bitterness years later.
Link sharing. If you have a foot-launched related website you’d like to see on our ‘links’ page (found under misc.) please send your link to editorAThatcreekDOTinfo. Please include the web address or name as you would like shown on our website.
Something to consider...
Look at the layout of this site. There's a beautiful launch and setup area, deluxe parking, new and improved roads into the main LZs, cattle guards instead of the old wire gates, a new LZ (#3) and south launch, toilets at the most popular launch and LZ, windsocks at every location, pilot bulletin board, this website, etc.. These are all due primarily to the hard work of the Shasta Sky Sailors. This work has been made possible thru the cooperation and support of the Forest Service and donations from the flying community. This has been a labor of love for us since 1975. ENJOY
Nearby is an outstanding campground, store and café. The site is worth our appreciation and respect. Please support flying at Hat Creek Rim.
More FAQ's will be added as time allows... If you have a question you'd like to see answered here, feel free to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org