Siskiyou Mountain Range

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2020 Red Salmon Fire Report

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...

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Bear Country Timber Sale Environmental Assessment Released – Comment Now!

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...

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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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