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Siskiyou Mountain Range

The Blog

Author: Luke Ruediger


Red Butte, the namesake of the Red Buttes Wilderness, is only nominally protected. Unfortunately, the entire roadless south slope of the mountain was precluded from the 1984 wilderness designation.           September 3, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Lyndon B. Johnson signed this landmark conservation bill into law in 1964, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). Initially the NWPS set aside 9.1 million acres of wilderness; however, with the support of the American public, Congress has added over 100 million acres over the past fifty years.           The Wilderness Act of 1964 states, “In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection...

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Nedsbar Timber Sale: A threat to wildlands in the Applegate Valley

The forested portions of Trillium Mountain in the Dakubetede Roadless Area are being proposed for logging in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. This photo was taken from the popular Sterling Ditch Trail where Trillium Mountain dominates the skyline for many miles. Commercial logging units in the Dakubetede Roadless Area should be canceled and the area protected for its scenic, recreational and ecological values. The Medford District BLM has recently proposed a large timber sale in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon. This is the result of recent litigation won by Swanson-Superior Lumber based in Glendale, Oregon. The Medford District BLM has been given a court order, currently under appeal, to drastically increase timber production for corporate logging interests at the expense of regional wildlands, communities and wildlife. In response to the litigation the agency proposed the Nedsbar Timber Sale, encompassing 3,400 acres, or 5 square miles of proposed units spread across...

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Monarch Butterflies in the Siskiyou Mountains

Got Milkweed? On May 15, 2014 I spotted two monarch butterflies fluttering around two separate showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) patches that my wife, Suzie, planted nine years ago. One patch is in our vegetable garden and the other in a native rock garden on the side of the road. Previously we had only seen one tattered monarch scoping out our patches, so this was a hopeful sign. When Suzie got home from work that day I told her what I saw and she immediately inspected for eggs. Sure enough, there were about fifty eggs combined on both the patches of milkweed.  Research has shown that a female monarch typically lays about 700 eggs in its lifespan, so this was not a huge number of eggs. Monarch caterpillar eggs on milkweed Monarch caterpillar eggs are very small Monarch caterpillars are tiny and vulnerable when they first emerge. Around ten days later the eggs started to hatch and an estimated...

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The diversity and color of wildflowers responding to the 2012 Goff Fire is truly staggering. Before the fire much of the Siskiyou Crest was carpeted in dense stands of montane chaparral. Throughout much of the area the fire burned in a natural mosaic of high severity fire, burning off the chaparral and encouraging a lush growth of wildflowers. In this section of the Siskiyou Crest it is clear that wildflowers need wildfire; in fact, to bloom in such spectacular profusion they may need periodic hot fires. Rock penstemon (Penstemon rupicola) blooming at the margin of the Goff Fire near Rattlesnake Mountain. There were about five other species of penstemon in the fire area on the verge of blooming. If you get out there within the next few weeks the floral display will be diverse and impressive. You will see a mixture of what is pictured in this post, along with more species of penstemon, fireweed, and innumerable Washington lilies made more stout and vigorous...

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                         The Studhorse incense-cedar in the Condrey Mountain Roadless Area                              (See my head in between the two trunks?) With its headwaters nestled in the eastern portion of the Condrey Mountain Roadless Area, Studhorse Creek flows north from the Siskiyou Crest. It is a land of dry meadows, corn lily fields, schist bedrock and spectacular ancient forest. The stream was named in 1855 following the Humbug War on the Klamath River. It was late July and a group of three Shasta Indians were visiting the community of Humbug Creek. During their visit the Indians had done some trading for a bottle of whiskey and proceeded to become intoxicated. As the Indians left the settlement a miner by the name of Peterson inquired as to how...

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