Siskiyou Mountain Range

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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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Protect Fire-Affected Forests on the Siskiyou Crest!

East Fork Illinois River canyon and the snowy peaks of the Siskiyou Wilderness after the 2020 Slater Fire. Photo credit: Deer Creek Photography As described in my previous blog post, the Slater Fire began east of Happy Camp, California on the evening of September 7, 2020. Pushed by unusually strong easterly winds and historically low humidity levels, the fire burned quickly to the west, tragically burning through the community of Happy Camp and up Indian Creek to the Siskiyou Crest. For the first 24-36 hours the fire burned over 100,000 acres and ripped over the Siskiyou Crest near Bolan Lake. Large swaths of forest on Indian Creek in the Klamath National Forest burned at high severity during this extreme weather event. Relatively large swaths also burned in the headwaters of Althouse Creek and Sucker Creek, near Bolan Lake and Bolan Mountain, as well as in upper Dunn Creek above Takilma, Oregon on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Since the Slater Fire, the Rogue River-Siskiyou...

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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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