Let's start with the biggie first.
Hat Creek Rim can be flown with or without a Use Permit!!!
Some will tell you "absolutely!! HOWEVER, and this is a huge HOWEVER, those who believe it's our right to use public land are only looking at a small part of a much bigger picture. What the FS does have complete control over is; access to FS land, development on FS land, vegetation removal on FS land, sanitation on FS land, resources protection on FS land, habitat and wildlife protection on FS land, the list goes on and on..
So what, what's that got to do with Hat Creek? Good question.
Part of the Hat Creek, the #3LZ and the main launch, have no designated road into them. The roads are not part of the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). The only reason we have access to these areas is because of the Use Permit (we have requested that the roads be added to the MVUM). Also, if the Use Permit is voided or revoked, all facilities MUST be removed (toilets, windsocks) and no further maintenance will be allowed. This means the natural growth that we removed decades ago would start reclaiming the launches and the #3 LZ.
There are other places we could find to launch, so it's no big deal if we lose the main launch.
Wrong. First of all, why lose what we already have if we don't have to? And, for any of the aforementioned reasons the FS could shut any "new" launch down (let's face it, if we as a flying community have behaved so inappropriately that the FS revoked the Use Permit, do you really think they'd be fine with just moving our location?) You simply can't move to another area of the ridge and build a launch. Bottom line, we could easily lose Hat Creek Rim without the Use Permit. Besides, don't we all enjoy what we have at the Rim? Let's support a good thing and put to rest once and for all that Hat Creek would be fine without a Use Permit - it's a shortsighted view and the risks far outweigh the rewards.
Now for the second biggie!!
If you hear or see anything negative about the permit holders (the Hat Creek Committee) at Hat Creek Rim, PLEASE, contact any of our committee members. Most of the information coming from the site is a complete fabrication or gross misrepresentation of the truth. There are those who find misinformation tools of the trade to meet their own agenda at the site. ALSO, if you are visiting Hat Creek Rim and made to feel by anyone that you must dislike a certain person or group to be part of the "in" crowd contact our committee. You do not have to agree with the political views of any group or individual to fly the rim nor do you have to dislike an individual or group to fly this site. Ten years of the same old rhetoric by the same handful of doubter and detractors needs to stop.
Are visitors welcome at the site?
Absolutely!! Visiting pilots make up the majority of users at this site. 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 (~$700.00 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 manhours 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 the site nor is there another groups with binding obligations at the site. Even with our Use Permit we still have to get permission to do work up on the Rim. Here's who is caring for the site. There is one pilot who replaces windsocks at the site and does so knowing he in only able to put his windsocks up because of our use permit. This individual does not replace windsocks at the #3 LZ or the south launch. Do we appreciate his donation to the site? Absolutely. Would the site go without windsocks without his donation - NO.
Is there a local pilot or group I can call?
No. The only local pilot living at Hat Creek Rim has asked us not to put his phone # out to the public. There is no local group or club at the site. Most users, including the permit holders, travel 2 or more hours to reach this site. It's a remote site but well worth the time it takes to drive there.
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 ten 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 email@example.com