Big Bend is located in northeastern Shasta County, 17 miles north of Highway 299. Nestled among pine and oak forests, it is the ancestral homeland of the Madesi tribe. One of the last places to be colonized by Euro-Americans, the area has seen some turbulent history. In the 1930s, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) began to build Hydroelectric Dams and Power Houses in the region. This caused an upsurge in population and improved economy for the region. Since this time, however, the area has seen a steady decline in population and economic opportunities, with only 102 people listed on the 2010 census.
The population decline can be blamed on two major issues: lack of jobs and lack of housing. With most shops, services, and jobs only available in Burney or Redding, many of the residents find themselves either relocating or struggling to make ends meet. Indian Springs Elementary School, the only school in the town, has only 12 students as of 2018. The rural nature of the town isolates residents from each other, limiting opportunities for cooperation and mutual aid. With these factors, problems like depression, addiction and other mental health issues are common.
Yet with all these troubles aside, Big Bend has great potential. The local rivers and lakes offer fishing, boating and other recreation for residents and tourists alike. Our public hot springs are well known for the beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere. The school is at the heart of the community and houses a greenhouse program, a swimming pool, gourmet lunches, a music program and much more. Many of the residents are well aware of the issues our town faces, and are willing to work together to actively improve the standard of living. The BBCLT is one tactic among many to help Big Benders thrive and help our town grow and prosper. With the creative, brilliant and resourceful people who populate our town, we can combat the on-going economic and demographic decline while capitalizing on the best parts of our community.