The Wellington Wildlands is an Applegate Valley gem. Located between Ruch and the Humbug Creek drainage, the area contains 7,527 acres of spectacularly intact forests, oak woodlands, chaparral, madrone groves, sweeping grasslands, beautiful wildflower displays, and incredible vistas across the Applegate Valley and the Siskiyou Mountains. The area is an important stronghold for wildlife and provides a incredible, wild backdrop for large portions of the Middle Applegate Valley.
Over the course of the last year, Applegate Neighborhood Network, Applegate Trails Association and Applegate Valley residents, Ed Keller and Greeley Wells have collaborated to create Saving Wellington, a 22-minute film exploring the Wellington Wildlands and the need to protect this incredible area from OHV use and BLM timber sales.
We were lucky to have both Ed Keller and Greeley Wells on board to help with this unique project. Their professional cinematography and heartfelt, artistic expression of love for the Applegate Valley is evident throughout the film. We think it will give you a new appreciation for the Applegate Valley and the Wellington Wildlands.
ANN will be hosting the premiere film showing of Saving Wellington at the Red Lily Vineyard on October 13, 6:30 PM. The event will include live music from Emily Turner before the film showing. Dinner and wine from Red Lily and locally made desserts will also be available for purchase.
The event is free to the public! Please consider making a generous donation to ANN at the event and support conservation in the Applegate Valley.
With a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder, the Hendrix Fire began on July 16, 2018. The fire was lit on Garvin Gulch, a small tributary of Glade Creek in the Little Applegate River watershed. It began on the lower flank of Sevenmile Ridge’s western face, at the boundary of Forest Service and clearcut, private industrial forest land.
Sevenmile Ridge is a prominent feature in the upper Little Applegate River watershed. It extends south from the Little Applegate River near Brickpile Ranch, to the broad, barren serpentine summit of Big Red Mountain on the Siskiyou Crest. Big Red Mountain contains incredible botanical diversity and numerous rare plant populations, protected in both the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area and Research Natural Area. Big Red Mountain is cherished by many people in southern Oregon and northern California as the most intact portion of the Little Applegate River watershed, and one of the most botanically diverse mountains on the eastern Siskiyou Crest.
From the summit of Big Red Mountain, Sevenmile Ridge drops north, supporting dense fields of beargrass, sparse grasslands, low rock outcrops, serpentine pine forests and ancient mixed conifer forests. Unfortunately, these beautiful and intact forests are broken by swaths of clearcut, private lands that straddle the ridgeline. Much of the Hendrix Fire burned in this mixture of intact Forest Service land and recently logged private timberland. Large portions of the fire also burned within the 2001 Quartz Fire footprint.
The Hendrix Fire burned actively for only about six days. In fact, over one-third of the acres burned on July 17 alone, when 344 acres burned and the fire surged up Garvin Gulch and over Sevenmile Ridge. In total, 1,082 acres burned at mixed severity, leaving a complex mosaic of living green forest, freshly burned and now rejuvenated brushfields and burned snag forests of fire-killed trees.
From the beginning, Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) crews began working to suppress the fire by preparing roads and building dozerlines in Garvin Gulch and near Hells Peak at the southwest and northwest fire perimeter. They also started bulldozing the old Sevenmile Ridge Trail through some of the most intact conifer forest in the area. They were heading north from the headwaters of Garvin Gulch, hoping to contain the fire at the top of Sevenmile Ridge with a long ridgetop dozerline; however, high winds pushed the fire east and it spotted over Sevenmile Ridge, becoming established in the headwaters of the Little Applegate River. At this point the dozerline on the spine of Sevenmile Ridge was deemed unnecessary and abandoned.
The fire then backed into the Little Applegate River and grew very slowly up Sevenmile Ridge towards Big Red Mountain. It was still quite early in the season and the higher elevation fuels were still very moist, helping to minimize both fire behavior and spread. The fire crept forward as crews began bulldozing south on the Sevenmile Ridge Trail into the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area.
According to Forest Service staff, portions of this dozerline were built without the permission of Forest Service officials, by either a renegade or poorly informed bulldozer operator. Either way, it was a lack of agency oversight that allowed this dozerline to be created within the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area. Roughly one mile of dozerline was built either on the boundary of the Big Red Mountain Botanical Area or within its protected boundaries, doing great damage to the otherwise intact native plant communities. Ironically, this fireline was never used for fire containment.
To their credit, Forest Service Resource Advisors (READS) working on the fire to protect natural resources, did steer crews around rare or unusual plant populations and stopped the unauthorized bulldozing before it continued further towards Big Red Mountain and the Pacific Crest Trail.
At this point, the Hendrix Fire was moving southeast, backing east off Sevenmile Ridge into dozerlines and roads on nearby private timberland, and south into a deep, forested drainage. The fire backed into this small, moist drainage, where it stalled out at the canyon bottom. After July 25, the fire sustained no new fire growth and simply smoldered out in the moist drainage. Due to steep and rugged terrain crews did not build handline or actively fight the fire in this canyon. They simply monitored the fire, making sure it did not cross the small creek; ready to act if necessary, but allowing the fire to naturally extinguish itself in the moist little streambed.
For much of the fire period heavy smoke inversions moderated fire behavior, leading to low-severity fire effects; however, the majority of the July 17 wind- and terrain-driven fire run burned at high severity. This uphill run accounts for over 1/3 of the fire area and burned through old-growth mixed conifer forest. The run began in upper Garvin Gulch and extended over Sevenmile Ridge, creating significant mortality and high-severity fire effects.
The mosaic of the Hendrix Fire is highly varied. While portions of the fire burned at low severity in stands of old-growth pine and fir, as well as in open serpentine woodlands, it also appears that significant portions of the fire did burn at relatively high severity. These high-severity fire effects are centered around the steep headwaters of Garvin Gulch and in the young plantation stands in adjacent private timberlands.
The mature fire-killed forests will create important snag forest habitat and is already attracting a diversity of woodpeckers, including the beautiful, and locally uncommon, white-headed woodpecker. This interesting woodpecker is found mostly east of the Cascade Mountains in dry conifer forests. Here in the eastern Siskiyou Mountains white-headed woodpeckers have stable populations around Mt. Ashland and Big Red Mountain. They have congregated in the post-fire snag forests, happily pecking insects and vocalizing cackles and calls. Research conducted following the 2001 Quartz Fire in the Little Applegate showed that high-severity snag patches create important habitat for song birds. They will also be important habitat for deer and elk, who will eat the nutritious regenerating grasses, herbs and shrubs. Black bears will come for berries, greens and bulbs. Even Northern spotted owl may forage in fire-killed snag patches for dusky footed woodrats in the newly opened, early-seral habitat.
These complex, early-seral plant communities contain important wildlife habitat and extremely high levels of biodiversity. Although often underappreciated, these snag forests are an important piece of Siskiyou Mountain biodiversity.
ANN will work to protect the important habitat the Hendrix Fire is providing on public land. We will oppose any post-fire logging that might be proposed and continue fire ecology education efforts in the Applegate Valley and in the Siskiyou Mountains. Please consider supporting our work!
The Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) is pleased to announce that we are now a fully independent 501c3 non-profit organization. Until recently, ANN operated as a loosely structured organization with minimal funds to support our work. We organized as was necessary to defend the values that make the Applegate Watershed so special to us all. Recently, the threats to our valley, and to public lands in general, have grown. These threats have highlighted the need for a non-profit organization dedicated full time to the specific needs of the Applegate Watershed and community.
ANN works to sustain the integrity of the environment in the Applegate Valley and surrounding areas through education, collaboration, community activism, stewardship and science. We promote community engagement in the public land management planning process. These efforts require consistent engagement with the local community; engagement with the BLM and Forest Service by attending many public meetings; submitting public comments and administrative appeals, and producing on-the-ground monitoring reports. We also organize educational events and provide the community with Applegate-specific conservation updates. Please consider supporting our work with a tax-deductible donation. All donations will directly support ANN’s conservation efforts in the Applegate Watershed.
The quality of life in the Applegate is tied to the beauty and health of our local environment. We believe that by protecting our environment we are also protecting the quality of life we enjoy in the Applegate Valley.
ANN currently has three main programs:
Wildland Protection: Our Wildland Protection Program strives to address immediate threats to unprotected wildlands throughout the Applegate River Watershed. We are also working to foster a movement to secure long-term protection of wildland habitats in our watershed.
Timber Sale Monitoring: Our Timber Sale Monitoring Program works to protect the beautifully diverse forests of our region. We monitor proposed timber sales on BLM and Forest Service land and use our findings to inform public comments, appeals and campaigns to either stop or significantly alter damaging timber sale proposals in the Applegate Watershed.
Applegate Valley OHV Monitoring: Our OHV Monitoring Program documents the impact of unauthorized or damaging OHV use throughout the Applegate Watershed. We create detailed monitoring reports that are submitted to land management agencies and are used to advocate for closure of damaging routes on both BLM and Forest Service land.
ANN has grown from a small coalition of Applegate Valley residents into the voice of conservation in the Applegate Valley. We work to educate our community, advocate for our wildlands, defend our ancient forests and protect the streams that flow through our communities. ANN is an expression of those who live in the Applegate Watershed and love its last wild places. We are longtime community members, new residents, and the next generation of Applegate Valley residents protecting our home. Please support conservation in the Applegate Valley by supporting Applegate Neighborhood Network.
When: June 2, 2018 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Where: Meet at 8:00 AM at the top of Anderson Butte Road
Join expert ornithologist Frank Laspalluto for a hike on Anderson Butte. The hike will take place on the new Jack-Ash Trail. Frank will lead a leisurely birding exploration on the upper 4 miles of the Jack-Ash Trail. The hike is a fundraiser for ANN and will be limited to 10 participants.
To RSVP contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(directions will be given to participants after you RSVP)
The public deserves a safe, beautiful, natural experience on their public lands. The BLM has an obligation to provide this experience, yet in many places around the Applegate Valley they have failed to do so.
Lack of enforcement capacity and lack of motivation to responsibly deal with various irresponsible recreational activities has turned our spectacular backyard landscapes, such as Anderson Butte, into trashed-out playgrounds for unauthorized OHV users and irresponsible shooting. ANN believes this issue affects the quality of habitat on our public lands; we also believe it impacts the quality of life available to surrounding communities. Rather than beautiful vistas, gorgeous wildflowers and spectacular habitats, what we see are shot gun shells, shell casings, shot-up TVs and appliances, illegal dumping, damaging OHV trails and bullets whizzing by on hiking trails — this is what one remembers when visiting portions of our public land. Many in the Applegate Valley have had enough. Have you?
Below is a letter submitted by ANN to the Medford District BLM regarding unsafe and irresponsible target shooting near Anderson Butte. This issue is becoming increasingly dangerous and is displacing other forms of public use, such as hiking on the nearby Jack-Ash and Sterling Ditch Trail systems, botanizing, birding, mountain biking, driving for pleasure, etc.
If you are a landowner in the area or spend time in the area, please contact Medford District BLM, District Manager, Elizabeth Burghard, and share your concerns regarding unsafe target shooting, unauthorized OHV use, illegal dumping, and other forms of inappropriate and impactful public use in the Anderson Butte area.
Ms. Elizabeth Burghard
3040 Biddle Rd
Medford, OR 97504
Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) would like to provide input on the management of our public lands in the Applegate Valley. More specifically, we would like to provide input on long-standing problems associated with unsafe target shooting and tannerite use in the Anderson Butte area. In recent years, unsafe target shooting has become an increasingly dangerous and damaging use of our public lands around Anderson Butte. Target shooting and illegal dumping seem to be closely associated in the area. The vast majority of old log landings, quarries, and pullouts along the road system have become illegal dumping and target shooting sites.
Irresponsible target shooting is currently a significant public safety risk with shooting enthusiasts firing across open BLM roads, off steep hillsides, towards hiking trails, and towards residences along Griffin Lane, Sterling Creek Road, Little Applegate Road and in the few private residential inholdings in the area.
In January of 2016, residents on Griffin Lane had a bullet from the Anderson Butte area lodge in their front door. Nearby homeowners are subjected to daily safety risks on their own property due to unsafe target shooting on BLM lands. In fact, BLM signage is currently encouraging unsafe target shooting in the area. For example, on an exposed ridge above Grub Gulch, the BLM has posted a sign stating, “Caution, Homes Below, Know Your Backstop.” The sign encourages shooting enthusiasts to utilize the exposed ridgetop for shooting and draws attention to the site. Ironically, no safe backstop exists on the ridgeline and homes are located directly below, in range of stray bullets.
Hikers, mountain bikers, recreational drivers, botanists, mushroom pickers, hunters and other forest users are routinely put at risk due to unsafe target shooting. Major BLM recreational improvements and trailheads for the Wolf Gap Trail, Jack-Ash Trail, and Sterling Ditch Trail have become target shooting areas, putting non-motorized trail users at significant risk. The BLM must act before someone is hurt or killed. Currently, other public land users are abandoning premiere recreational facilities, including the only Oregon State Scenic Trail, the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, due to valid safety concerns.
Much of the current problem comes from a complete lack of management and law enforcement. For many years, the Anderson Butte region has been a free-for-all, with blatant unauthorized OHV use tearing up the hillsides, unsafe target shooting, illegal dumping, and other forms of inappropriate use degrading public lands and spilling out into nearby communities. BLM land managers have refused to address these issues with appropriate action and have set a precedent of impunity and inaction. As a direct consequence, one of the region’s most cherished backyard recreational opportunities is being abandoned by responsible recreational users and destroyed by a combination of inappropriate public use and BLM inaction.
According to the RMP, the Sterling Mine Ditch Trailheads and Jack-Ash Trailheads are “closed to shooting.” Likewise, the entire Anderson Additions Extensive Recreational Management Area is under a firearms restriction, including buffers along “trail corridors and trailheads to provide public safety.” The BLM has an obligation to immediately implement these management directives in the Anderson Butte area, before someone is killed.
The BLM must close the entire Anderson Butte area to target shooting. The 2016 RMP gives the BLM the authority to immediately take action, close and post the trailheads for the Sterling Ditch Trail and Jack-Ash Trail, “Closed to Target Shooting.” Our immediate concern is the safety of the public who uses these lands and the nearby residents. The current status quo at Anderson Butte is unacceptable.
We urge the BLM to consider an area-wide closure to target shooting on all BLM land between Wagner Creek Road, Griffin Creek Road, Griffin Lane, Sterling Creek Road and Little Applegate Road. The BLM should also increase law enforcement patrols to limit violation of the target shooting closure and reduce illegal dumping. The public deserves a safe space to recreate on Anderson Butte and enjoy their public lands.
Thank you for your time,
Luke Ruediger/Program Coordinator
Applegate Neighborhood Network
Throughout the past year Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) has worked on numerous major campaigns to protect, restore and rewild the Applegate Valley and Siskiyou Crest. We are proud of our achievements in 2017 and look forward to doing even more in 2018.
Pickett West Timber Sale
The BLM’s Grants Pass Resource Area proposed the Pickett West Timber Sale in late 2016. The project proposed extensive old-growth forest logging, with nearly half the timber sale involving units between 150 and 240 years old. The BLM also proposed new road construction, riparian logging and severe impacts to the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail.
The massive timber sale became a major focus of our work in 2017. The Pickett West Timber Sale extended across a 200,000-acre planning area, from the Wild and Scenic Rogue River near Galice and Hellgate Canyon, to the mountains surrounding Selma, Oregon, and large portions of the Applegate Valley near Wilderville, Murphy and North Applegate Road.
ANN took a leading role by monitoring units in the Applegate Valley, Illinois Valley and the Rogue Valley. We worked with Klamath Forest Alliance and the Deer Creek Association to coordinate monitoring efforts across southern Oregon. ANN documented high priority red tree vole habitat on the Rogue River and outside Selma, Oregon in beautiful old-growth forest proposed for logging. We also documented road construction and old forest logging that would irreparably alter the proposed route of the Applegate Ridge Trail.
We publicized our findings and advocated for withdrawal of problematic units. We also utilized our monitoring efforts to write detailed public comments and administrative protests. We provided reports to Fish and Wildlife detailing our monitoring results and documenting inaccurate Northern spotted owl habitat designations. In many units we documented unacceptable impacts to the Northern spotted owl’s main food source, the red tree vole.
The BLM canceled numerous of the worst Pickett West units on the Rogue River, dropping a few hundred acres from the project. Unfortunately, the BLM then sold a reduced timber sale in the Rogue River area, called Pickett Hog. This sale is currently on hold until ANN’s administrative protest, and the 28 other administrative protests they received for the original Pickett West Timber Sale, are resolved. ANN will keep you posted on the administrative protest process.
In the meantime, Fish and Wildlife ordered the BLM to review many of the Pickett West units ANN identified as problematic in the mountains around Selma, and the BLM ended up withdrawing the entire Selma portion of the Pickett West Timber Sale, including 1,584 acres of old-growth forest. Although a spectacular victory for local environmentalists, rural residents, and scientists who opposed this sale, BLM has, unfortunately, initiated a Scoping Notice on a greatly reduced and new timber sale in the Selma area called Clean Slate. Although reduced in size, the Clean Slate Timber Sale still has units containing old-growth forests. The BLM is accepting public comments about the Clean Slate project until December 8, 2017.
Finally, in the Applegate Valley, the BLM is proposing to move forward with the original Pickett West Timber Sale planning by implementing what they are calling the Savage Murph Timber Sale near Wilderville, Murphy and North Applegate. ANN will continue working to stop the old-growth logging and road building proposed in the Savage Murph Timber Sale in 2018. We are committed to detailed, site-specific, on-the-ground timber sale monitoring and documentation of what is truly at stake should these projects go through.
Siskiyou Crest Post-Fire Logging
The Gap Fire burned over 30,000 acres on the southern slopes of the Siskiyou Crest in the summer of 2016. The Gap Fire burned through the Klamath National Forest (KNF) to the spine of the Siskiyou Crest, near Condrey Mountain. In the high country around Condrey Mountain the fire burned in a natural, mixed-severity fire mosaic, leaving green forests, lush high mountain meadows, headwater springs, and burned snag forests interspersed in a diverse patchwork of habitats.
On the south slope of Condrey Mountain, near the summit of the Siskiyou Crest, the KNF proposed to log fire-affected, old-growth forest at the headwaters of Buckhorn and Middle Creek. Although just barely outside the Applegate Watershed, the proposed clear-cut, post-fire logging would have impacted the Siskiyou Crest and the important habitat connectivity corridor that connects the Coast Range to the Cascade Mountains and the Great Basin. This connectivity corridor feeds and maintains the continued outstanding biodiversity of the Applegate Valley.
ANN worked with the Klamath Forest Alliance as the only environmental organizations to conducted on-the-ground field monitoring of the eighteen, high-elevation logging units and new road construction proposed near Condrey Mountain and Dry Lake Mountain.
We publicized our findings and utilized our monitoring results to inform our extensive public comments on the project, and four units near Dry Lake Mountain were immediately withdrawn. The KNF approved the remaining fourteen units and new road construction around Condrey Mountain. ANN, Klamath Forest Alliance and others responded with detailed administrative protests, putting the project on hold. The KNF resolved our administrative protest by withdrawing the remaining fourteen units and 450 acres of high elevation forest on the Siskiyou Crest from the timber sale proposal. We are very proud of this victory for the Siskiyou Crest!
Over the last two years ANN has worked on a large, collaborative project in the Upper Applegate Watershed with both the BLM and Forest Service called the Upper Applegate Watershed (UAW) Restoration Project. The project is being implemented through the Applegate Adaptive Management Area and has included extensive public involvement. Members of ANN have been at all of the many public meetings and field trips associated with UAW project planning. We have attended these workshops, field trips and planning meetings to ensure conservation issues are addressed in the project. We also provided detailed public comment during the scoping period.
The UAW collaborative project is working towards the development of an Environmental Assessment (EA) before a final project is approved. Currently, ANN supports many of the proposals and has steered the agencies away from ecologically sensitive areas and towards responsible land management practices. Proposals we support include: new non-motorized trail development, large-scale prescribed fire, fuel reduction maintenance around rural residential communities, pollinator habitat restoration, ecologically-based commercial thinning in managed stands and noxious weed removal. We are opposing a handful of commercial logging units located within roadless areas, and we are strongly opposing numerous new OHV trails also being proposed in roadless areas. If new OHV trails are approved through this project it will no longer meet the intended “purpose and need” of the project, which has been focused on habitat restoration. New OHV trail construction in roadless areas is the antithesis of habitat restoration.
Middle Applegate Timber Sale
ANN has participated in the early stages of project planning with the BLM on their proposed Middle Applegate timber sale. The project area extends from Bishop and Forest Creeks, to Thompson Creek and across the Middle Applegate watershed, over to Slagle Creek. ANN has attended numerous community meetings and coordinated with local community members to advocate for implementation of the Applegate Adaptive Management Area and meaningful community involvement in the planning process. We are advocating for protection of the Wellington Butte Roadless Area, old forest habitats, and the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail corridor. We appreciate the efforts of Applegate community members who have attended the meetings and voiced their support for conservation during the early planning stages for the Middle Applegate timber sale project. ANN will keep you posted if there are any further developments.
ANN has continued to monitor unauthorized and damaging OHV activities in the Applegate Valley and on the Siskiyou Crest. Over the course of the last year, ANN has successfully advocated for the obliteration of one OHV trail on BLM land near Anderson Butte. We have also worked to include one unauthorized OHV trail obliteration project into the UAW Restoration Project.
OHV Categorical Exclusion
In April 2017, the Medford District BLM approved a Categorical Exclusion to avoid environmental analysis and public comment on the “maintenance” of 65 miles of unauthorized OHV trails in the Forest Creek, China Gulch and so-called Timber Mountain/John’s Peak area. BLM’s goal is to legitimize these illegally created, unauthorized OHV routes, mask the environmental impacts for upcoming environmental analysis, and cut the public, including residents of the Applegate Valley who are negatively impacted by the project, completely out of the process. The Categorical Exclusion excludes the requirement that land managers conduct a thorough review of the cumulative environmental and social impacts. It also excludes the requirement that land managers provide a public comment period and address the concerns, science, and information identified in the public comment process.
The 65 miles of OHV trails in question are highly erosive, user-created routes that have never been subjected to environmental review or approved through a legal NEPA process. The unauthorized trails impact rare plant habitat, wildlife habitat, hydrology, water quality, soils and a myriad of other forest resources. They also encourage and facilitate private land OHV trespass by officially maintaining routes that include or continue onto adjacent private lands. These private lands include the homes and backyards of many Applegate Valley residents.
Although the BLM approved the project with no public comment, ANN promptly filed an administrative protest, demanding the project be withdrawn and that BLM conduct Travel Management Planning as required in the 2016 Resource Management Plan.
Unfortunately, BLM denied our protest and intends to move forward with OHV trail maintenance in the area. ANN will continue to watch the BLM, document the impact of OHV use and advocate for closure of damaging OHV trails. For now the BLM can maintain these user-created trails but they have not been officially authorized. We are gathering evidence and stand ready to oppose these illegal OHV trails as soon as BLM proposes them for approval in the future.
Applegate Grazing Complex
ANN has been monitoring grazing allotments on the Siskiyou Crest throughout the summer of 2017. We are documenting the ecological impact of public land grazing in preparation for the upcoming Applegate Grazing Complex allotment renewal in 2020.
The Forest Service will be updating management plans for grazing allotments in the Applegate watershed, a task that has been neglected for many decades. Some of these grazing allotments have not had an updated management plan since 1956! Our goal is to document impacts to water quality, soils, wildlife habitat, pollinator habitat, botanical resources, and designated botanical areas to inform the planning process. We are monitoring four grazing allotments that cover large portions of the Siskiyou Crest from Dutchman’s Peak to Carberry Creek.
The Miller Complex Fires defined the summer of 2017. Combined, the fires burned nearly 40,000 acres in the Applegate watershed from mid-August to the first fall snow. The fires burned in a natural, mixed-severity fire mosaic and provided significant ecological benefit to the forests and wildlands of the Applegate watershed
While the fires were burning, ANN tracked their progress and informed fire managers of important ecological considerations within the fire area. We also advocated for responsible fire management, effective community protection and the protection of roadless habitats from fire suppression impacts.
ANN has been monitoring the fires and fire suppression activities in the Miller Complex. We are currently preparing the Miller Complex Fire Report in order to share our findings with local conservationists, residents, scientists, politicians and land managers. This report will explore the fire effects, fire suppression impacts, and long-term implications of the Miller Complex Fire.
ANN worked hard in 2017 to educate the public about the important role fire plays in the Siskiyou Mountains. We are using the Miller Complex Fire to explore the region’s fire ecology and pyrodiversity.
Thankfully, the Forest Service is not proposing post-fire logging in the Applegate Valley portions of the Miller Complex Fire. This is a huge victory for our diverse, fire-adapted Siskiyou Mountain forests and the post-fire environment, and it will provide an opportunity to research and monitor the natural process of renewal following wildfire. ANN intends to utilize the Miller Complex Fire area as a living laboratory. We hope to educate both the public and federal land managers regarding the benefits of wildfire in the Siskiyou Mountains.
What lies ahead for 2018?
In 2018, ANN will continue working for the community and the environment of the Applegate Valley. We will continue our on-the-ground monitoring efforts and will advocate for conservation in federal land management planning. We expect the Savage Murph and Middle Applegate Timber Sales will be a high priority in 2018, along with ongoing OHV monitoring, monitoring of grazing allotments and collaboration in the UAW Restoration Project. On the Siskiyou Crest, ANN will oppose any post-fire logging proposed in the Abney Fire on Klamath National Forest lands. We will also continue providing information to the public regarding fire ecology and wildfire management. ANN is the only conservation organization focused solely on the needs of the Applegate Valley, the Siskiyou Crest and the important connectivity habitat that the region provides. Please consider supporting our work with a generous donation. Your support is vital to the wildlife and wildlands of the Applegate Valley!
The Grants Pass District BLM has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Picket West Timber Sale and will be accepting public comment until June 29, 2017.
The Pickett West Timber Sale is huge, with units extending across southwestern Oregon, from Merlin and Galice on the Rogue River, to Selma in the Illinois River watershed, and in the Lower Applegate River watershed around Wilderville, Murphy and North Applegate Road.
The project proposes to commercially log over 6,000 acres of BLM land and build 14 miles of new road. 48% of the units proposed for logging are between 150 and 240 years old, making them old-growth by any credible definition. The BLM is proposing to log these old-growth stands to as low as 30% canopy cover with no upper diameter limit, meaning any size tree can be logged.
Join ANN and Tom Doty on July 15, 2017 for an evening of Native American storytelling around the campfire. Tom will share stories from local Native American tribes about the Rogue River and Applegate Valleys.
Tom Doty was born in southern Oregon. His family background is Irish, English, Taklema and Shasta. His Takelma and Shasta ancestral village is at Coyote’s Paw on the Klamath River. He studied writing and theater at Southern Oregon University and Reed College in the 1970s. He began storytelling when he returned to Southern Oregon in 1981, learning the craft from tribal elders. Tom is the author of a series of Doty & Coyote books and many of his stories have been broadcast on Public Radio. In 2001 he wrote and directed a play titled, Two Sisters, Two Brothers and a Journey, a story of the Takelma people of southern Oregon. Tom travels around the region telling his stories and keeping the tradition of Native American storytelling alive. Join us!
The event will be located at Flumet Flat Campground on Palmer Creek Road. We will have 50 camps available for overnight camping. We will also have an evening of fun, listening to bioregional stories and socializing with neighbors. The event will be free, but please consider a generous donation to ANN. More information will be announced soon. Please join us.
When: July 15, 2017 (time to be announced)
Where: Flumet Flat Campground on Palmer Creek Road
The BLM will be hosting a field trip June 17, 2017 to the Pickett West Timber Sale to view and discuss proposed units and treatment options. The field trip will include two separate stops. Please consider attending this important field trip and join ANN as we advocate for conservation.
The first stop will be on Upper Savage Creek Road to view a proposed timber sale unit in the Lower Applegate River Watershed. Meet at 9:00 AM at the Speedy Mini Mart at 6415 Rogue River Highway. We will be shuttled in BLM vans to Upper Savage Creek Road. The field trip will begin at 9:00 AM and end at around 11:30 AM.
The second stop will be at Robertson Bridge at 1:00 PM. We will drive up Pickett Creek Road to a parking area where BLM will shuttle us to unit 33-2. The field trip will begin at 1:00 PM and end at around 3:30 PM.
At the Applegate Neighborhood Network, we are working hard to develop a more profound sense of place. and a deeper appreciation for the ecology, beauty and diversity of the Applegate River Watershed. We are working to promote the the protection of wild places and the responsible stewardship of the more altered environments in the area. To achieve these goals we are working to connect people to this beautiful landscape.
Our member organization, Applegate Trails Association is designing, building and promoting the Applegate Ridge Trail (ART), an over 40 mile trail proposed to connect Jacksonville, Oregon and Grants Pass, Oregon through the hills of the Applegate Valley. The trail will cross the Wellington Butte Roadless Area and the wild country in upper Humbug and Slagle Creek. After years of organizing ATA has gained approval from the BLM to begin building the East ART, a 5.6 mile route connecting Sterling Creek Road to Highway 238.
ATA has wasted no time, building trail in a frenzy of excitement and enthusiasm. ATA crews and Northwest Youth Corp made tremendous progress this week building roughly one mile of trail in a few short days. ATA hopes to have the trail completed by fall.
The Siskiyou Upland Trails Association (SUTA) has also begun building phase one of the Jack-Ash Trail that will ultimately extend from Jacksonville, Oregon to Ashland, Oregon. The Jack-Ash Trail will traverse the McDonald Peak Roadless Area, the Bald Mountain Roadless Area and the Dakubetede Roadless Area. SUTA has approval on the first phase of the trail near Anderson Butte and began building trail this past November. They have about 2.5 miles remaining to build.
The trails will allow local residents to develop more intimate relationships with the mountains of home. They will also provide additional incentives to protect the wild landscapes through which they traverse. We are working to promote conservation and responsible recreation on public lands in the Applegate Watershed and see these trails as an essential step towards a more sustainable future.
Join SUTA and ATA for upcoming volunteer trail building days.