Siskiyou Mountain Range

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Author: Luke Ruediger

Notes from the Field: Destructive Fire Suppression Impacts & the Spectacular Biological Values of the Proposed Pattison Wilderness Area

During the first week of April, I spent some time in the field monitoring the impact of dozerline construction during the 2021 fire season in the Pattison Inventoried Roadless Area. What I witnessed was the appalling disregard for the land’s unique natural, scenic and recreational values during suppression of the 2021 Monument Fire. What I also saw was a rugged and beautiful landscape with deep canyons, steep rocky ridges, beautiful mixed conifer forests and a spectacular mixed severity fire mosaic. Although forest and fire managers used their discretion to implement damaging, often ineffective and unnecessary dozerlines in highly inappropriate locations, from a biological standpoint, the effects of the Monument Fire were highly beneficial. Overall, the 224,688-acre Monument Fire burned at 67% low, 29% moderate and 4% high severity. In the Pattison Inventoried Roadless Area, the fire largely maintained old forest habitats, renewed plant communities, increased heterogeneity with...

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2021 Region 5 Fire Report: Wilderness Dozerlines and the Mounting Impact of Fire Suppression in Wildland Landscapes 2016-2021

Despite direction provided directly from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak to protect wilderness values in the proposed Pattison Wilderness Area, forest and fire managers created extensive, often unnecessary, and extremely damaging dozerlines throughout the wildland during the 2021 Monument Fire. Photo Credit: Kent Collard For more than 30 years Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) has been working to address impacts to wildland landscapes and biological values throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains and beyond. Since 2012, KFA has run the innovative and one-of-a-kind Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports Program. This program documents, highlights and explores both the impacts of industrialized fire suppression activities on regional wildlands, cultural resources and biological values, and the beneficial effects of mixed severity fire in the ecosystems of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains and beyond. In the past ten years we have released 12 fire reports, exploring wildfires from across the Klamath-Siskiyou...

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We Just Saved Paradise from Becoming a Parking Lot at Mt. Ashland! KFA litigation Leads to the Withdrawal of the Mt. Ashland Road Paving Project

Federal land management agencies are increasingly utilizing Categorical Exclusions to circumvent the public involvement and environmental review process. By utilizing a Categorical Exclusion they can expedite public land management projects while minimizing oversight, reducing transparency and limiting scientific review. This allows for less analysis, less consideration of public concerns, less thoughtful, and less effective land management projects. Mt. Ashland as seen from McDonald Peak. In September 2021, the Klamath National Forest approved the Road 20 Project utilizing a Categorical Exclusion for “road maintenance and repair.” It was approved with absolutely no public comment, no public analysis of environmental effects, and no public notification either before or after the Decision was made. The Road 20 Project authorized the paving of currently gravel roads to the summit of Mt. Ashland, the highest peak on the Siskiyou Crest, and on Road 20 to Grouse Gap Shelter along...

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Klamath Forest Alliance: 2021 Year in Review

Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) works with grassroots activists and rural communities across the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains to protect the wildlands of our region and maintain the area’s world-class biodiversity. In 2021, KFA’s Siskiyou Field Office was busy advocating for the Siskiyou Crest, the foothills of the Applegate Valley, the headwaters of the Illinois River, the spectacular Salmon River watershed, and for the permanent protection of important rivers and streams in southwestern Oregon, as new Wild and Scenic Rivers. We also maintained our existing programs, tracking off-road vehicle use on the Siskiyou Crest and working to close down illegal routes, monitoring federal land timber sales, and when necessary opposing them, advocating for connectivity between wildlands, documenting the impact of fire suppression activities on our wilderness landscapes, and advocating for the protection of wilderness values during and after wildfire events. KFA is fueled by our passion for the...

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