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Siskiyou Mountain Range

The Blog

Author: Luke Ruediger

BLM Logs the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument as the Supreme Court Affirms its Designation

The Monument Affirmed! On March 25, 2024 after years of litigation, the Supreme Court declined to take up the timber industry’s case against the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The decision by the highest court in the land to not take up this case, in turn, upheld two appeals court decisions, finding that the use of the Antiquities Act on O&C lands in Western Oregon was both lawful and appropriate, thus upholding the designation of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Established in 2000 by President Clinton, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was the first national monument designated to protect biodiversity. Originally designated as a 53,000 acre monument, the Obama Administration expanded the area to its current size, 113,820 acres, in 2017. The monument currently includes the convergence of the Cascade Mountains and the Siskiyou Mountains, but fails to adequately protect the Siskiyou Crest, which acts as the axis for biodiversity on the West Coast, and as one...

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Rough and Ready Creek: Worth More than an Unnecessary Dozerline

Along the southwestern Oregon and northwestern California border is an incredibly lonely, starkly beautiful, and spectacularly wild landscape. The area is more reminiscent of the red rock deserts of the American Southwest, than the coastal rainforests and giant redwood groves that grow nearby. Known by geologists as the Josephine Ophiolite, the area is a rusty red mass of ultramafic rock cut by deep, rugged canyons, incredibly clear streams lined in Port Orford-cedar, stunted pine woodlands, chaparral, and broad ridges of coarse red stone that originated in the mantle of the earth. The red rock  found in the area has technical geologic classifications and gradations, including peridotite, serpentinite, dunite and other ultramafic rock types, but they are generally referred to colloquially and collectively as “serpentine” throughout the region. The region supporting these unusual rock types is a geologic oddity, a botanical wonderland, and home to some of the most stunningly...

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McKinney Fire Superbloom: A land where wildflowers dominate

Last summer the McKinney Fire burned on the Klamath River in the rugged Scott Bar Mountains. Apparently lit by downed powerlines in the McKinney Creek watershed on July 29, 2022, the region had been trapped in a ridge of high pressure creating a pronounced heat dome with extremely high temperatures and low relative humidity. In nearby Montague, California high temperatures had not dropped below 96 degrees for two weeks, drying out forest fuels and creating the conditions under which fire could quickly spread through parched vegetation. These conditions were made worse by high winds which reportedly toppled the powerlines on McKinney Creek and contributed to the fire’s initial spread. That evening with the fire at only 300 acres, dry thunderstorms developed, creating gusty outflow winds which fanned the fire to the north and east. These outflow winds produced extreme fire behavior and generated a massive pyrocumulus smoke plume billowing 50,000’ into the sky. When this massive plume...

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The Slater Fire Road Risk Reduction and Safety Project: A Proposal by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to Subsidize Damaging Hazard Tree Logging and Climate Polluting Biomass Utilization.

The 2020 Slater Fire was a massive wind driven wildfire reportedly lit by downed powerlines on Slater Butte above Happy Camp, California. The fire raged into Happy Camp, tragically burning large portions of the town and the surrounding homesteads, then burned north towards the Oregon-California border to the edge of Takilma, Oregon. Directly after the 2020 Slater Fire had cooled, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest began logging the Takilma-Happy Camp Road and quickly approved the Slater Fire Re-entry Project, a massive post-fire, hazard tree logging project that would have “treated” nearly all existing roads in the Slater Fire area. This project was ultimately litigated by Klamath Forest Alliance and withdrawn by the Forest Service in an out of court settlement, but only after significant damage had already been done. The entire Takilma-Happy Camp Road, along with Road 48 leading across the Siskiyou Crest to Bolan Lake Campground, and numerous other roads were logged...

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Protect Wild Streams in the Applegate and Illinois River Watersheds!

Watch our new Applegate Headwaters Wild and Scenic River video! For the last three years, Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) has been working with allies in the southwestern Oregon and adjacent parts of northwestern California to nominate streams for protection under Senator Wyden’s River Democracy Act. This legislation proposes to establish new Wild and Scenic River segments in worthy Oregon watersheds and would dramatically increase protections for rivers and streams throughout the state. Originally, the River Democracy Act proposed to designate approximately 4,700 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers, including many in the Siskiyou Mountains along the Oregon-California border. Unfortunately, Senator Wyden recently released a new version of the River Democracy Act, which removed proposed protections for many deserving streams. In total, about 30% of the streams originally proposed for protection were removed from the revised legislation, and in the Applegate River watershed deserving...

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