Sagebrush to Sea Trailer
For those of you who follow this blog or have read my book, you know my passion for the Siskiyou Crest, its unique biological values, wildland habitats, unparalleled biodiversity and spectacular scenic qualities. The region is rugged, remote, incredibly diverse, and from a conservation standpoint, extremely important. Straddling the border of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, the Siskiyou Crest is the only mountain range in the Pacific Northwest connecting the volcanic Cascade Mountains with the lush forests of the Coast Range.
This vital habitat connectivity corridor extends from the sagebrush clearings and quaking aspen groves near Mount Ashland, to the fog drenched redwoods of the Smith River. From sagebrush to sea, the Siskiyou Crest is the axis for biodiversity on the West Coast and home to some of the most diverse conifer forests in the world.
The endemic Bolander’s lily (Lilium bolanderi) blooming on Clear Creek.
In June 2019, my...
On the evening of September 7, 2020, the Slater Fire was lit by a downed powerline near Slater Butte Lookout. Pushed by unusually strong winds and extremely dry conditions, the Slater Fire raged through Happy Camp, California tragically burning over 200 homes before racing up Indian Creek at high severity into both the Smith River and Illinois River watersheds. Within 24 hours the fire was over 100,000 acres and was threatening the community of Takilma, Oregon. As the historic wind event died down both fire severity and spread were moderated and much of the remaining fire burned at low to moderate severity in the headwaters of the Illinois River.
The Slater Fire and the East Fork Illinois River canyon with the snowy peaks of the Siskiyou Wilderness in the difference. Photo credit: Deer Creek Photography
In February 2021, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest proposed the Slater Fire Re-entry Project in the mountains above Takilma, Oregon. This large, post-fire logging and “danger”...
Old forest proposed for logging at the headwaters of Galls Creek in the Rogue Gold Timber Sale.
The Rogue Gold Timber Sale has been proposed by the Medford District BLM in the heavily logged Kane Creek, Galls Creek and Foots Creek watersheds. The project proposes commercial logging on 2,052 acres, including logging in the so-called “harvest land base,” in Late Successional Reserves (LSR) — forest designated to protect habitat for the Northern spotted owl — and in Riparian Reserves designated to protect aquatic habitats and water quality.
The project also targets some of the last, old forests remaining in the mountains between Jacksonville, Gold Hill and Rogue River, Oregon for commercial logging. Like most other timber sales on the Medford District BLM, the agency has tied old forest logging that will increase fire risks and degrade intact forest habitats, to fuel reduction adjacent to homes and communities.
Exploiting the public’s fear of fire, the agency has rebranded every timber...
The Red Salmon Fire started on July 26, 2020 as series of lightning ignitions deep in the backcountry in the western Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. The stubborn, often slow-moving fire burned for over five months throughout the Trinity Alps Wilderness and the surrounding Salmon River, Klamath River and Trinity River watersheds. Throughout the extended burn period, the fire burned under a wide variety of weather conditions, through diverse vegetation, through a patchwork of relatively recent fire footprints, and into long unburned forests at the headwaters of Red Cap Creek. Ecologically speaking, the mixed severity fire effects were highly beneficial and restored fire to over 140,000 acres in the western Klamath Mountains.
A beautiful sunrise from Red Cap Prairie, looking northwest across the western edge of the Red Salmon Fire area and the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area to the Siskiyou Mountains.
Merging with a patchwork of previous fire footprints, the Red Salmon Fire added to the already...
A Klamath National Forest field tour into the Bear Country Timber Sale on the Salmon River. Only the trees marked orange will be retained if the timber sale is approved. The large trees not marked orange will all be removed.
The Klamath National Forest just released the Bear Country Project Environmental Assessment (EA). Targeting some of the most remote and beautiful river canyon remaining in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, the project proposes significant old forest logging on both the North Fork and South Fork Wild and Scenic Salmon River.
The Klamath National Forest claims that the Bear Country Project is focused on fuel reduction and community fire protection. In reality, the agency is holding the communities of the Salmon River hostage by tying damaging commercial logging activities in extremely remote locations, to ingress/egress work, community fire protection, prescribed fire and the thinning of vast unnatural tree plantations created by the Forest Service after the 1977 Hog...