Siskiyou Mountain Range

The Blog

Author: Luke Ruediger

The Bear Country Timber Sale: Old Forest Logging on the Wild and Scenic Salmon River

The Salmon River watershed is one of the most intact and remote locations in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. Known for its beautiful and exceptionally rugged river canyon, the area also contains some of the least impacted wilderness landscapes in the region. Many of the streams flowing into the clear, blue pools of the Salmon River drain the high country of the Marble Mountain Wilderness, the Trinity Alps Wilderness and the Russian Wilderness, along with numerous roadless areas. Unfortunately, the Salmon River is also being targeted by the Klamath National Forest for commercial logging in late successional forest habitat above Forks of Salmon, on both the North and South Fork Salmon River. Recently, the agency proposed the Bear Country Timber Sale on the slopes of Blue Ridge, in old forests along the Wild and Scenic river corridor and in adjacent tributary watersheds. Although portions of the project are commendable and appear focused on community fire safety, ingress/egress concerns...

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A journey through the Siskiyou: From Mt. Ashland to Elliott Creek

Recently my wife and I took a journey through the Siskiyou, hiking across the eastern Siskiyou Mountains from Mt. Ashland to Elliott Creek. The journey took us through snowfields, across rocky ridges, into deep subalpine forests, and over high mountain peaks to vast meadow systems just awakening from their snowy winter slumber. We traversed the high country at snow melt, enjoying the earliest of wildflowers as they blossomed at the edge of melting snowbanks. At lower elevations we hiked through ancient pine groves and isolated wetlands on Elliott Ridge to the clear, rushing waters of Elliott Creek far below. During the backpacking trip we found rare plant populations, gained a deeper appreciation for the region’s world-class biodiversity, enjoyed the beauty of the eastern Siskiyou and reinvigorated my commitment to the protection of this wild, spectacular landscape. The goal of this particular journey was to document new populations of Henderson’s lomatium (Lomatium hendersonii),...

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The River Democracy Act: Siskiyou Mountain Region

The River Democracy Act proposes Wild and Scenic River protection for the incredible serpentine canyons and the unusual red rock rainforests on Rough and Ready Creek. The Siskiyou Mountains sprawl across southwestern Oregon, creating a rugged labyrinth of steep mountain canyons, rocky ridgelines, and diverse mixed conifer forests. Although known for their rich biodiversity, the Siskiyou Mountains also stand out for the beauty of their clear flowing rivers and streams. Currently, the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains contain the highest concentration of wild and scenic rivers in the continental United States, including the iconic Smith, Klamath, Salmon, Trinity, Rogue, Chetco, Illinois, and Elk Rivers. However, a river is made up of its tributaries, and many of the currently designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in our region do not include important tributary streams. These unprotected tributaries support productive fisheries, spectacular forests and important cold water refugia. They also contribute...

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Sucker Creek, the infamous China Left Timber Sale and the Slater Fire

Looking north from near the summit of Bolan Mountain and Bolan Lake following the 2020 Slater Fire. Photo credit: USFS A view from near the summit of Bolan Mountain north to Bolan Lake and into the Sucker Creek watershed in 1934. This photograph is part of the Osborne Lookout Photo series taken by the Forest Service in the 1930s. It shows historic fire effects that are similar to those of the 2020 Slater Fire. The Slater Fire started on the evening of September 7, 2020 as a human or accidental ignition near the Slater Butte Lookout, just three miles east of Happy Camp, California and above the rugged Klamath River canyon. Although it is believed that the fire was started by high voltage power lines owned by Pacific Power, the ignition source has not yet been confirmed by Forest Service fire investigators; however,  lawsuits have already been filed against Pacific Power. Regardless of how the fire started, the ignition coincided with unusually strong easterly winds and historically low...

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Klamath Forest Alliance: 2020 A Year in Review

KFA field monitoring on the Shasta Agness Timber Sale above the Wild & Scenic Rogue River discovered a previously unknown Northern spotted owl within commercial units in the Shasta Agness Timber Sale. The discovery of this owl is forcing the Forest Service to remove significant acreage from the timber sale’s Decision Record. Klamath Forest Alliance has been busy in 2020 fighting for the wildlands of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains and building a movement to protect, defend and restore the natural world. Despite the hardships of 2020, we remain focused on the needs of the land and our commitment to protect the wild watersheds that surround us, and the forests that are critical for carbon sequestration and climate defense. During these difficult times, more than ever, wildlands provide us solace. They provide a sense of humility and awe, a place of quiet reflection, and a place of inspiration. They are an escape from the increasingly stressful and unhealthy modern world,...

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