The McLoughlin Quad: Fundraising for a Cause

On September 24th Michael Biggs broke a local record. Not only did he climb Mount McLoughlin four times in a 24 hour period, he did it to raise more than $1,200 for the Friends.

Summiting a 9,495 foot peak is a robust adventure. The trail to the summit of Mt. McLoughlin climbs 4,000 ft of vertical elevation over the course of 5.5 miles. Michael has previously accomplished summiting the mountain three times in one day, and his idea to do a quad was the result of frustrations with the current monument review.

“I don't know how to stop President Trump from shrinking the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, but I know how to climb Mt. McLoughlin.” An experienced mountaineer, Michael hit the trail at 2:30 AM knowing well that he might not be done with this crazy adventure of his till 24 hour later.  

He set up a Facebook fundraiser, all proceeds benefiting the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. “I had no idea if anyone would donate to my stunt, so I picked a random goal of $999, and I’m happy to say I raised over $1,200!” Says Michael, “I know Mt. McLoughlin is outside the monument, but I feel it is our regions Sentinel and it watches over the monument and our amazing region as a whole.”

When asked if his sense of purpose is fulfilled, he says “Absolutely, 100%. Not only did my wife, Dawn, and climbing buddy, Chuck, ensure that I lived through the day, I was surprised the amount of support I was able to get. I want to empower others to raise money for organizations they care about. I love our land and I’m honored to have found a way to raise money for a cause that’s important to me.”

Needless to say, the Friends are grateful to Michael and all those who donated. Support such as this ensures that the Friends continue to advocate on behalf of the monument during these uncertain times.

Feeling inspired by Michael's journey? You can create your own fundraiser on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fundraisers. Of course, you can always donate directly to the Friends at www.cascadesiskiyou.org/donate.

Pyrodiversity Begets Biodiversity

In 2002, the East Antelope Fire travelled across part of Grizzly Peak, igniting trees both living and previously burned. This left behind an open landscape of charred trunks and sculpted snags. An event such as this changes the ecosystem and creates new habitats.     

On Friday, August 25, 2017, we met at the Ashland Public Library to discuss the fire ecology of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with Dr. Dennis Odion, ecologist with the National Park Service. Dr. Odion used illustrations and photos to discuss the plants that make up much of the habitat of the monument and how they have adapted to fire. This, in turn, led to how these adaptations have shaped the biodiversity of our public lands.     

When a fire of mixed intensity burns through a forest, it creates a diverse landscape. Some areas experience low intensity, fast moving flames that have little effect on the trees. Others experience higher intensity flames that burn the foliage of the trees, but only weaker trees and saplings die. Still other areas experience extreme intensities that kill most, if not all, of the plant life. Together, this creates a mosaic of habitats throughout the forest, each benefiting different groups of species and increasing the biodiversity.     

On the day of the hike, we set out for Grizzly Peak to observe this pyrodiversity in one of the newly expanded portions of the monument. It was a morning hazy with smoke, and we saw at least one area on the trail that had burned during recent lightning strikes. Even though the conditions did not bode well for the scenic views along the hike, they were conducive to our fire ecology discussions.     

As we hiked we discussed the differences between Douglas-firs, white firs, and ponderosa pines. The white-firs burn easily in fire, but are also quick to sprout from seeds in an affected area. The Douglas-firs and ponderosa pines are much harder to burn. The ponderosa pine, especially, has thick, scaly bark that is hard to ignite and can easily flake off if it does catch fire. Some trees, like knob-cone pines, have sealed cones, called “serotinous,” that require fire to open the cones and release the seeds.     

Much of our hike up was through conifer forest, largely untouched by fire. As we neared the halfway point, we found ourselves surrounded by landscape that had been touched by fire. Trees with interesting branching, growing green from branches that had somehow survived the flame, stood tall among twisted and charred snags of trees that were not so lucky.     

Further along, Dr. Odion pointed out that white oaks and elder berries now flanked us. Oak trees have epicormic buds, meaning their buds are protected by bark and, after a fire burns off the foliage of the tree, these buds quickly sprout into new branches and leaves. This newly open landscape with dead trees is host to wood beetles, woodpeckers, Lazuli buntings, and many other species you would not find in the unburned conifer forest we hiked in earlier. Some research has shown that areas with frequent fires are less prone to sudden oak death, a disease that has been affecting Oregon forests. Researchers speculate perhaps smoke helps fight off the illness and protect the trees.     

By the time we returned to the parking lot it was evident that Dr. Dennis Odion had shown us how pyrodiversity produces opportunity and change for a new round of plant and animal succession until the next fire. So much goes into creating the diverse area we are lucky to call home here in Southern Oregon. We were all so happy that we managed to endure the smoke and enjoy our public lands.

Text and images (unless otherwise noted)
John Ward, Hike and Learn Coordinator

 

Ranger Interns Highlight Interpretation

Labor Day weekend capped our inaugural season of interpretive programs at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument for 2017.

Ranger interns Morgyn, Becky, and Elizabeth (l to r) with Smokey Bear at BLM Free Fishing Day, June 6, 2017. BLM photo

Ranger interns Morgyn, Becky, and Elizabeth (l to r) with Smokey Bear at BLM Free Fishing Day, June 6, 2017. BLM photo

Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist said, "Our interpretive ranger interns this summer really brought the monument to life!  Because they delivered over 60 dynamic programs many more visitors have a greater appreciation and understanding of the Cascade-Sisikyou National Monument."

Since July 1, Ranger Interns Morgyn Ellis, Elizabeth Schyling, and Becky Yaeger met over 1,000 visitors at the contact station, the campground program, or on a guided walk. Notable visitors included Governor Kate Brown and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke. They also presented Junior Explorer programs for children focused on the monument, BLM and public land stewardship.

In Ashland, Christine Beekman spotted a boy wearing his Junior Explorer badge, and diligently working on his Junior Explorer workbook while waiting for an Oregon Shakespeare Festival evening performance to begin. He told her about the monument's biodiversity and all he learned at Ranger Morgyn's Junior Explorer program. After Christine identified herself as a ranger, he said, "I want to be a ranger when I grow up!"

A boy works on his Junior Explorer workbook while waiting for an evening OSF performance. C Beekman photo.

A boy works on his Junior Explorer workbook while waiting for an evening OSF performance. C Beekman photo.

“Yes Monument!” was often written in the comment book, located at the contact station, to show support for the monument expansion. Visitors also mentioned hiking on trails to Hobart Bluff and the Greensprings Loop, particularly during wildflower season. Monument visitors were able to discover the biodiversity of the region’s plants and animals; use a geologic map to build Oregon from the ground up; and create nature journals to preserve memories from their experiences. The guided hikes and programs accommodated a range of ages, interests, and skill levels for visitors from throughout the world.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is the only monument established for its biodiversity. A sampling of our programs included the unique geologic history from When Mountains Meet Biodiversity Blooms. Meet Trees of the Forest showed how a transitioning fire forest and snow forest shifts to the drier oak savanna and chaparral. A hike to Pilot Rock shows how Great Basin plants encroaches into parts of the conifer forest. Creatures of the Night was a popular evening talk about the bats.

Ranger intern Morgyn reports, “My personal highlight occurred after presenting an evening talk--I saw a mountain lion on my way home!”

“I also loved seeing one family three days in a row! I met them at Hobart Bluff on a Friday morning. They came to my Saturday evening program about bats; and to a Sunday morning Junior Explorer nature journal session. Before they left the monument for Portland, their five-year old son made the family stop by the contact station to ask me "why are bats wobbly?"

Road closures didn’t seem to deter visitors from driving up to the monument to get above the valley smoke caused by nearby fires. By the end of August the air quality became unhealthy and fewer folks came up to hike.

Ranger intern Morgyn summarized, “We have had an amazing experience interacting with visitors from all walks of life and look forward to seeing our programs continue to provide meaningful experiences to monument visitors next season!”

Story with
Morgyn Ellis, Ranger Intern
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Noteworthy Reads: A Monumental Conflict

Although Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is only 17 years old, the struggle continues. Reports show a leaked memo a 30-year advocacy for a monument by Dave Willis, four lawyers views, cultural and economic conflict, and an artist's personal experience.

Dave Willis (r) and Ryan Zinke Cascade-Siskiyou on Zinke downsizing list By Mark Freeman.  Mail Tribune, August 24, 2017  Mail Tribune - Jamie Lusch photo

Dave Willis (r) and Ryan Zinke
Cascade-Siskiyou on Zinke downsizing list
By Mark Freeman.  Mail Tribune, August 24, 2017  Mail Tribune - Jamie Lusch photo

Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West
By Matthew Daly | AP  Washington Post September 18 at 12:22 PM

The Fight For Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
By Leah Sottile. Outside Online, September 13, 2017
National monuments aren’t created overnight. Just ask Dave Willis, a 65-year-old outdoorsman in Southern Oregon who started advocating for protection of the area now known as Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument when he was 30 years old.

Trump Will Have a Hard Time Shrinking the Monuments
By Jake Bullinger. Outside Online, September 8, 2017  
"Four lawyers about the four monuments most likely on Zinke’s chopping block"

Trump's day of doom for national monuments approaches
By Jimmy Tobias. Guardian, August 2017 13.13 EDT
The debate over Cascade-Siskiyou presents a snapshot of the cultural and economic conflict that so often characterizes public land management in the American west.

My Adventure: Monumental Art
By Matt Witt. Mail Tribune, August 20, 2017  
Much has been said in recent months about the monument in terms of biodiversity, climate change, at-risk species and reconnecting habitat for wildlife mobility, but perhaps not enough about its beauty.

Tools for Our Outreach

Shannon Browne, Outreach Director, Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument  TPD 2017 photo

Shannon Browne, Outreach Director, Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument  TPD 2017 photo

Shannon Browne, Director of Community Outreach (Friends of CSNM) is invited to attend Patagonia’s Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference in late September 2017 at the Stanford Sierra Camp near South Lake Tahoe, California. Only 85 participants from around the country are invited to attend this 5-day conference.  

Since 1994, Patagonia began offering these gatherings bi-annually in order to expand its support of grassroots environmental groups beyond its grants program. The goal of a Tools Conference is to provide practical training in skills that will help invited participants become more effective in their grassroots environmental efforts. Patagonia’s Tools conference organizers believe in the importance of sharing ideas and best practices that really work. The value of attending the conference comes both from the workshops and speakers and from networking opportunities with a truly inspirational group of participants.

Congratulations to Shannon! 

Three Visions of the Monument

Mabrie Ormes, Matt Witt, and Darlene Southworth at Ashland Art Center, 2017.   WWC Photo

Mabrie Ormes, Matt Witt, and Darlene Southworth at Ashland Art Center, 2017.   WWC Photo

          “I will walk an easel and supplies up the trail each day and make a juicy oil painting…”
--Mabrie Ormes, painter, 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Three Visions of the Cascade-Siskiyou is on exhibit at the Ashland Art Center through Saturday, September 30, 2017.  

Mabrie Ormes, Darlene Southworth and Matt Witt are each an Artist-in-Residence 2017 at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Their artworks on exhibit bring attention to the monument, established for its biodiversity, and yet still under threat from the president-ordered review.

Matt Witt, photographer, was named Artist in Residence at Crater Lake National Park, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon. He says, "Much has been said in recent months about the monument in terms of biodiversity, climate change, at-risk species and reconnecting habitat for wildlife mobility, but perhaps not enough about its beauty." See Matt's monumental art (Mail Tribune) story and photos.

Watercolor by Darlene Southworth 

Watercolor by Darlene Southworth 

Ashland Art Center artist member Darlene Southworth is professor emeritus at Southern Oregon University and mycologist. At the monument she recently led citizen scientists at the 2016 BioBlitz: Fungi. She was watercolor painting, when Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stopped to see her work during his site review.

Grizzly Peak Trail by Mabrie Ormes

Grizzly Peak Trail by Mabrie Ormes

Mabrie Ormes, painter, hiked and carried her art materials up the trail. Despite injuring her back during her residency, she is still committed to completing a multi-panel painting, scheduled for an exhibition in 2018.

Artists have been instrumental in the creation of national parks such as painter Thomas Moran and his majestic paintings of landscapes in Yellowstone National Park. Ansel Adams signature images of Yosemite and Denali are now recognized worldwide. Mabrie, Darlene and Matt are the inaugural group in this monument's first year Artist-in-Residence program.

If you go: The Ashland Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.


In memoriam

Harriet in her studio, 2014.    WWC photo

Harriet in her studio, 2014.    WWC photo

Artist Harriet Rex Smith (May 3, 1921 – July 20, 2017) encouraged care for the environment and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. From her studio located next to the Greensprings Inn, she painted many landscape scenes.

Grizzly Peak Trail System OPEN -

BLM & OR Dept of Foresty Logos

 

August 16, 2017 Update
Effective Immediately:
Grizzly Peak Trail System Back Open
Closure signs and caution tape are no longer at the Grizzly Peak trailhead or its tributary trails. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Medford District jointly with the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District have decided the area is now safe for public access.
Fire and forestry managers quickly closed the trail system August 11th, both to allow fire cleanup efforts to finish and to account for public health and safety. The series of five fires on Grizzly Peak are now 100% contained. Aerial recon will continue as the temperatures warm up in southern Oregon this week.

The Grizzly Peak Trail is on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management out of its Medford District office. It is a popular hiking area that attracts several visitors during the summer months. Therefore, we are pleased to reopen the trail system in such a timely manner in order to allow the community the chance to get out and enjoy the remainder of the summer out on the trails.

For additional information, please reach out to the
BLM Medford District office at (541) 618-2200, or the
Oregon Department Southwest Oregon District Medford Unit at (541) 664-3328

 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
August 12, 2017 Notice to Close.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:

Grizzly Peak Trail System CLOSED to Protect Public Health and Safety

With increased fire activity on Grizzly Peak near Ashland, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Medford District jointly with the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District have decided that a temporary closure of the Grizzly Peak Trail system is necessary in order to protect public health and safety. The closure is effective immediately and will be in place until the area is deemed safe for public access.

Currently, firefighters are still engaged on Grizzly Peak; however, only three of the five fires initially reported are still actively burning. The first two fires were knocked down and 100% contained by early afternoon. Both are less than an acre in size. Firefighters are engaged on the final three fires tonight. The fires range from ¼ acre to 2 acres, and are each at least 30% mopped up and 100% lined. We will continue to work on these fires swiftly and efficiently in order to eliminate any further risk to public and firefighter safety.

Closure signs will be placed at main entry points to the area; however, maps of the closure area can be obtained through the BLM Medford District Office. The Grizzly Peak Trail is on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management out of its Medford District office. It is a popular hiking area that attracts several visitors during the summer months. Therefore, we hope this precaution keeps both visitors and firefighters safe as crews continue to make progress on the series of fires on Grizzly Peak.

See the full Emergency Closure Notification.

For additional information, please reach out to the

BLM Medford District office at (541) 618-2200, or the
Oregon Department Southwest Oregon District Medford Unit
at (541 664-3328.

Noteworthy Reads: Protect Biodiversity

At Vulture Rock: Dr. Michael Parker, tells about the biodiversity in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  2017 TPD photo.

At Vulture Rock: Dr. Michael Parker, tells about the biodiversity in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  2017 TPD photo.

Stay up to date on the latest monument press and media:

Howard Hunter, Advocacy Chair article in Mail Tribune – July 30, 2017
Guest Opinion: No shortage of vehicle access in the monument.

Michael Parker, Pepper Trail, and Jack Williams opinion in Oregon Live - August 13, 2017
Scientists urge no changes to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Gov. Kate Brown Tours Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Urges Protection...
Text and link to photos July 16, 2017

Michael Parker, SOU Biology Department Chair, and Dave Willis, Soda Mountain Wilderness video interview on July 24, 2017 KOBI Five on 5.
About the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Secretary of Interior Zinke visit, the monument biodiversity, wilderness, road access, and public input.

BioBlitz 2017: Herpetology survey led by Dr. Michael Parker and SOU Biology students with citizen scientists in the monument. Daily Tidings - June 5, 2017.
BioBlitz Tallies Monument Creatures. 

#Cascade-Siskiyou on Twitter: What people are saying or showing about the monument.

#MonumentsForAll on Twitter: An attack on one monument is an attack on all. An unprecedented review on 26 monuments. 

Scenic Vistas of the Monument Expansion with Dr. Michael Parker

At Vulture Rock. Dr. Michael Parker, leads Friends of CSNM Hike & Learn group to view monument expansion.  2017 panorama photo © Benjamin Black

At Vulture Rock. Dr. Michael Parker, leads Friends of CSNM Hike & Learn group to view monument expansion.  2017 panorama photo © Benjamin Black

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument originally covered almost 53,000 acres across southwestern Oregon. On January 12, 2017 President Barack Obama, expanded the monument boundaries by roughly 47,000 acres. This expansion included some local watersheds, as well as broadened the range of altitudes found within the monument. For our July Hike & Learn, we set out with Dr. Michael Parker, biologist and professor at Southern Oregon University.

At the Friday night talk, Dr. Parker previewed the areas that we would be exploring on our Saturday hike. He explained why some of these places were recommended by scientists to be included in the expansion. This included some private land behind Emigrant Lake and around Grizzly Peak, managed by the Selberg Institute for conservation purposes and providing lower elevation ecosystems not previously included in the monument. It also included higher altitude ecosystems, like the area around Vulture Rock and some of the headwaters of Jenny Creek.

Dr. Parker explained that these areas further represent why the monument is such a special place, encompassing such broad and different ecosystems within its borders. Biodiversity needs the protection of larger landscape and enlarged borders; global change threatens species at lower elevations. The actual expansion has reductions from actual scientific recommendations.

Dr. Michael Parker (2nd left) tells us to look overhead at scenic vistas.  TPD photo

Dr. Michael Parker (2nd left) tells us to look overhead at scenic vistas.  TPD photo

On the morning of our hike, we departed for the Green Springs trailhead. From there, we hiked out to our first scenic vista, overlooking the land managed by the Selberg Institute below us, now included in the monument. Green rolling fields, with scattered white oaks cascaded down to Sampson Creek. As we continued around the Green Springs Loop, Dr. Parker stopped to encourage us to look overhead. Scenic vistas are not just broad sweeping views from high places, but can also be peering through interlacing branches of Douglas-fir trees or down across moss-covered logs in the forest. It was on this stretch of trail that we came across recently appointed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, visiting Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument as part of a Trump review.  

We made our way towards Vulture Rock. We drove up past Hyatt Lake and parked at the base of an old forest service road. We were greeted by a spring surrounded by wildflowers, with dragonflies buzzing overhead and more than one rough skinned newt swimming in the water. We walked up the road and then cut into the forest. Finally, after pushing through some mangled golden chinquapin, we broke out of the forest and onto a rocky outcrop.

As we took a moment to rest and eat some lunch, the lone call of a pika rang out across the clearing. Among our group was SOU graduate student Suphasiri Muttamara, who is researching pika call dialects of populations in the monument and nearby areas; this project is funded by the 2017 Friends Research Fund.

Pika are of a group of animals called lagomorphs. These animals are hind-gut fermenters, meaning that the bacteria that break down much of the food that they eat lives in the last portion of their digestive tract. To get more nutrition from their food, lagomorphs will occasionally produce cecotropes, which are moist, soft pellets, different from their fecal pellets. These cecotropes are eaten to gain the nutritional value that would have otherwise been lost.

We put our food away and stowed our packs to begin our ascent. Helping each other along the scramble, we steadily climbed towards the top. The pile of rocks we were clambering about atop of were remnants of an old igneous intrusion. Softer material that had surrounded the pile of rocks has been washed eroded away leaving a tall spire of rock and providing us with a wonderful vista. From atop Vulture Rock, we had a 360-degree view of the monument and many of it’s newly included acres. On one side, we were flanked by Surveyor Mountain, on the other we looked out to see Pilot Rock tucked into place near Mt. Ashland. These landscapes encompass a wide swath of diverse ecosystems that are home to many species of plants, animals, fungi, and more. Some areas are protected by our monument, and its recent expansion, for the sake of these species. Others are trusted to private landowners in hopes that they will manage them properly.

We took our time soaking in the views and then headed back down the slope.  We found our packs, cut back through the woods, and then wrapped our trip with one last scenic vista, looking out from our deck chairs at the Green Springs Inn at some cold brews and warm pie.

by John Ward, Hike & Learn Coordinator
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Gallery of photos by John Ward, except where noted. 

 

National Public Lands Day - Starthistle Control Project

Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis)

Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis)

We Need Your Help!
Volunteers are invited to participate in a Starthistle Control Project at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on National Public Lands Day - September 9, 2017. Since 1994 National Public Lands Day promotes volunteer service for conservation on public lands. Register to volunteer for this project.

Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is a pernicious and persistent invasive weed of a number of grassland and oak woodland areas within the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). Starthistle is an important and balanced part of the ecosystems in Eurasia, where it is kept in check by an assortment of natural enemies and plants that have co-evolved with it in its native habitat. Unfortunately, these natural enemies are not present in other areas of the world where it has been accidentally introduced in Australia, Argentina, Chile, and the USA.

In many of these regions it has become an invasive species and noxious weed and has altered the native ecology of the areas. It is a deep concern for land managers.

Project Description There is an area with a large infestation of starthistle along the Green Springs Loop Trail within the CSNM. We will manually control starthistle in this area using gloves and large heavy-duty plastic garbage bags. We will need to be careful not to spread the seed by bagging primarily the flower and seed head of the plant. The plant can be yanked out of the ground by hand or the seed heads cut with a knife or pruner. Since it is an annual plant it will not regrow after simple cutting of the plant.

Project duration: We will work for 4-6, hours starting at 9am at the Green Springs Loop Trailhead. A bag lunch will be provided at the trailhead.

Level: Easy walk, with ability to bend and weed pull, along gradual slope. Children (aged 12+), accompanied and supervised by parent or guardian are welcome. Appropriate for family or group service in outdoors.

Sign-up for this FREE event: Register at Eventbrite and indicate your name(s) and sandwich preference.  

Directions to the Green Springs Trailhead: From I-5 Exit 14 to Hwy 66 (Green Springs Hwy) to Little Hyatt Prairie Road (14.6 miles), on left. Follow Little Hyatt Prairie Road (.7 mile) to the first left-hand road (39-3E-32). Follow this road to the Green Springs Trailhead parking area. Look for NPLD signage.

What to bring:  Leather gloves, pruners or knife, hat, water, and sunblock.
BLM will provide plastic garbage bags.

For more information:
Contact Charlie Schelz, BLM Monument Ecologist
Tel: 541-618-2244
Email: cschelz@blm.gov

Out and About the Monument

LEAVE NO TRACE. Keep it natural - Leave what you find. An elaborate labyrinth has been created on the top of Grizzly Peak. It will soon be dismantled and its components returned to their natural state on the ground.  CBeekman 2017 photo

LEAVE NO TRACE. Keep it natural - Leave what you find. An elaborate labyrinth has been created on the top of Grizzly Peak. It will soon be dismantled and its components returned to their natural state on the ground.  CBeekman 2017 photo

Leave What You Find. Leave No Trace principles are practiced on monument lands, so that we can minimize our impacts on the landscape. This includes "leave the things as you found them."
     Monument staff marks trails with signs and posts, and not rock cairns (or piles of rocks). If you see cairns along any trail, feel free to dismantle them and gently disperse the rocks back onto the ground.
    Remember: take only photos, leave only footprints! We can all take care of our monument's biodiversity.

Go with Interpretive Interns! Rangers Elizabeth, Becky and Morgyn continue to attract more and more CSNM visitors to the information station at the Greensprings, and to their interpretive programs. Ranger Elizabeth had 30 folks at her recent evening program. Everyone in attendance learned more about the monument's geology and how it sets the stage for its unparalleled biodiversity!  Go on guided walks or listen in at an evening program. Kids can earn Junior Explorer badges. See free program offerings for the remainder of the summer, through September 3, 2017.

Delphinium (Delphinium menziesii)            CBeekman 2017 photo

Delphinium (Delphinium menziesii)            CBeekman 2017 photo

Sign in at Trailheads. CSNM's outdoor recreation planner, Kathryn Lloyd, and park ranger, Rick Bishop are installing trailhead registers at popular trails. So the next time you're starting the Grizzly Peak, Pilot Rock or Hobart Bluff trails, be sure to sign in!

Grizzly Peak trail has had a delightfully long wildflower season. Visitors on the trail constantly comment on nature's brilliant display of paintbrush, sunflowers, larkspur, and fleabane daisies, among others. 

See Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke's video tour (July 2017) of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Look for 2017 Artists-in-Residence work. Photographer Matt Witt presents an public presentation (August 18) of his work in the monument and the expansion. Read and see the photographs in Mail Tribune. In September 2017 the Group Show of Artists-in-Residence will be featured at the Ashland Art Gallery, 2nd Floor.

 

Report and photos by
Christine Beekman, Interpretive Specialist
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
BLM Medford

Monument Supporters Show Up!

US Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke (blue shirt) on Greensprings Loop with Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. WWC photo.

US Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke (blue shirt) on Greensprings Loop with Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. WWC photo.

The Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument thank the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and KS Wild for organizing efforts to show U. S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke the community’s continuing Monument support during his recent visit (July 14-16, 2017). 

When Secretary Zinke walked the Greensprings Loop on Saturday (July 15) he met many monument users, including artists, birders, equestrians, and family hikers.  

Most notably, an estimated 300 local residents showed support Sunday afternoon outside the BLM Medford office while Secretary Zinke held meetings inside. It was evident on that hot afternoon, on a parking lot no less, that our monument has abundant public support.  

Monument supporters rally in BLM Medford parking lot during Zinke meeting to review Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. WWC photo

Monument supporters rally in BLM Medford parking lot during Zinke meeting to review Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. WWC photo

It was unfortunate that monument supporters, especially Oregon’s Governor Brown, were afforded so little time with the secretary relative to the time he spent with Congressman Walden and other monument opponents. 

The Friends were part of a 30-minute time slot in which 20 different people spoke in support of the monument. Those invited to speak in this very brief meeting included scientists, locally elected officials, business representatives from within the monument, and others. A short meeting was also granted to the Klamath Tribes. All up, it was a very short amount of time discussing the monument with those who value and want to protect the unparalleled biodiversity found here.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is part of BLM’s National Conservation Lands, comprising BLM’s most ecologically rich and culturally significant lands. Owned by all Americans, these are our nation’s newest collection of protected public lands—standing proudly alongside our National Parks, National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges.

We still have a few weeks before the Secretary releases his final review, scheduled for August 24. We remain hopeful that we were effective in showcasing the great importance the 113,000 acres of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument hold and why they deserve, and were granted, the highest level of protection. Of the millions of public land throughout the United States, we will continue to advocate on behalf of this monument and others. We wish to thank all those who have worked to share your voice in support of biodiversity throughout this process. Stay tuned, more to come August 24th.

Gallery: July 16, 2017 - Monument supporters rally at BLM Medford. Photos by www.dasjadolan.com

First Look into Northern California Wildflowers

We gathered round as she examined the plant protruding from the rocky substrate. Botanist Sheri Hagwood, of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, had been guiding our group of 15 aspiring naturalists through the Horseshoe Ranch Wilderness Management Area, but had now stopped as something special caught her eye. There was a small plant with green ovate leaves and a pinkish-red stem; its sepals closed tightly around its hidden flower bloom, which would open in the afternoon, giving this plant its name. We had found a rare Four o’clock flower, Mirabilis greenei, of the family Nyctaginaceae.     

Our adventure started in the Casa Ramos parking lot in Yreka, CA. We were meeting for our first ever Hike & Learn event focused on the monument expansion into Northern California. We had a great group with many of our Ashland regulars making the trip to join some new faces from the Yreka area. As soon as we all got together and organized our carpool, we struck out for the trailhead.     

Our drive took us around Iron Gate Reservoir, to the mouth of Scotch Creek. It was to be a warm day, and the cool blue pools of the creek were already very enticing. As we made our way along, we took time to stop periodically and identify different species like white and black oak, milkweed, desert paintbrush, mock orange, and many others. Our hike along Scotch Creek was accompanied by a melody of birds including goldfinches, grosbeaks, and Lazuli’s buntings.   

Hiking along, Sheri took several opportunities to inform us about the anthropogenic uses of some of the plants. The flowers of desert paintbrush can be plucked and eaten, the bark of willows can be made into a tea to sooth headaches, and the straight branches of many trees could be used in basket weaving or to craft shafts for arrows.     

We eventually left the cool company of the creek to make our way across a grassy field, through a sea of California sunshine – Oregon sunshine if we had been a bit farther north. We then made our way up into an oak savannah. These precious habitats, important to many plant and animal species, are few and far between. They have been encroached upon for years by agriculture and western juniper trees.     

We began our way back to the trailhead, making our way along Slide Creek. Along the way we found many interesting plant species, including the rare four o’clock wildflower. Two of my personal favorites from the day were the desert sage and yellow monkey flower. Finding ourselves back where we had begun, we said our goodbyes, thanked Sheri for a wonderful hike, and made our way home.

John Ward
Hike and Learn Coordinator

Interpretive Rangers Lead Walks, Jr. Ranger, Evening Talks

Interpretive rangers Morgyn Ellis, Elizabeth Schyling, and Becky Yaeger are on site to help visitors learn about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  See the Interpretive Ranger Program Schedule; weekends through Labor Day 2017.    

Interpretive rangers (L - R) Elizabeth Schyling, Morgyn Ellis and Becky Yaeger at the information contact station.

Interpretive rangers (L - R) Elizabeth Schyling, Morgyn Ellis and Becky Yaeger at the information contact station.

“What’s the monument?” Although some know the monument and its beauty, there is still an abundance of visitors that are unaware of the land their feet have been hiking upon all day.

The rangers are at the information contact station; and they will lead guided walks and conduct roving trail interpretation. They will host junior ranger programs and evening presentations at the Hyatt Lake campground.

So far the rangers have observed that children can make a connection between their previous experiences and relate to the presentations. Kids seem to have a better concept of biodiversity than a number of adult visitors. Most folks seem to be really impressed by the diversity of the monument and how it also contributes to their enjoyment of the recreational fishing and boating at the lake.

"Interpretation is equal parts knowing your audience to discover what interests them and knowing the landscape and resources. I have enjoyed learning what gets folks excited about the monument and using that knowledge to enhance their experience," said Ranger Morgyn.

BLM Interpretive Specialist Christine Beekman, works to provide as many opportunities for Monument visitors (on-site or virtual) to make intellectual and/or emotional connections with the natural and cultural resources. Live presentations diversify the traditional on site interpretive media such as waysides, kiosks and site bulletins.

Ranger Elizabeth said, "Being on the monument as an interpretive ranger has given me new motivation to look closely at the plants all around. I've loved finding patterns in their presence and absence and thinking about how to share that with guests."

Indian Paintbrush. BLM photo

Indian Paintbrush. BLM photo

If you go now:
Hobart Bluff: See a diversity of trees, which change with elevation/slope and sunlight. Many wildflowers, such as paintbrush and red columbine. Butterflies everywhere including California sisters and swallowtails.

Swallowtail.           K Reynolds photo

Swallowtail.           K Reynolds photo

Morgyn Ellis, Interpretive Ranger and Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist contributed to this story.

Out in the Field: Artists-in-Residence

Artist-in-residence Darlene Southward conducted a plein air painting session at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  BLM photo by C Beekman,

Artist-in-residence Darlene Southward conducted a plein air painting session at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  BLM photo by C Beekman,

Coming Up:
Mabrie Ormes, Artist-in-Residence, will be staying at Hyatt Lake Campground for her residency, July 17 - 31, 2017. Mabrie will be creating her works of art along the Grizzly Peak trail. if you're up in that area, you'll likely see her! 

The final artist-in-residence of 2017, Matt Witt, will be creating photographs in the Monument.  

 Look for Mabrie's and Matt's public presentations, to be scheduled on Calendar of Events.

Public Scoping Comments Due - Special Recreation Permits

Map for proposed Bike Race (Page 4 - Public Scoping publication ).

Map for proposed Bike Race (Page 4 - Public Scoping publication ).

Public comments for Special Recreation Permits for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are due on July 13, 2017 to BLM Medford. We are now in the scoping phase of the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The desired outcome is identification of key issues that should be considered by the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM or Monument) in regards to special recreation permits. Only a limited subset of such permits are currently under consideration. See the Publication (Public Scoping - Special Recreation Permits) and Maps. This means that any comments you choose to submit will be used to develop issues, mitigation measures, or alternatives as appropriate. Comments that clearly articulate site-specific suggestions, issues, or concerns are the most useful.

Public disclosure. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will make all submissions form organizations or businesses available for public disclosure in their entirety.

We look forward to working with you to ensure the protection of the Monument.

Comments Due Date. Please submit your comments by July 13, 2017.

Your comments should be e-mailed to Lyndsay Theurer at this email address: ltheurer@blm.gov

or mailed to:

Bureau of Land Management Medford District Office Ashland Resource Area
Attn: Lyndsay Theurer
3040 Biddle Road

Medford, OR 97504

Electronic submission of comments is strongly encouraged. Thank you ahead of time for your interest and participation.

Lyndsay Theurer
BLM Medford Office
 

When Advocacy Becomes Urgent

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument  - Made In America

As far as nonprofits go, the Friends of the CSNM is not an overtly political organization and only weighs in when the board of directors feels that it is appropriate and important to the protection, restoration, and conservation of the monument.      

Our friends group generally works cooperatively with the BLM and the Department of the Interior and advocates for budgets, staffing, environmental education programs, and anything that advances monument efforts.      

For example, the Friends formally supported the expansion and felt that a larger science-based monument would better protect the “objects of biological interest” that were not well understood at the time of the original designation.        

Now the Friends stand strongly in support of the monument in light of President Trump’s effort to “review” 27 monuments, including ours, designated under the Antiquities Act.  

We ask our members and supporters to stand with us and take action by the July 10 deadline. We will have a booth at the Ashland Fourth of July Celebration and other local events and can help direct you to the many ways to help us with this effort.

Our website also has Take Action link directly to Department of Interior comment form.

Howard Hunter
Advocacy Chair, Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument


Nationally syndicated columnist Dr. Michael W. Fox (Animal Doctor) writes several compelling reasons for his support of the Cascade-National Monument expansion in his June 25, 2017 column:
     "Across the North American continent, this and other bioregions rich in biodiversity need CPR (conservation, protection and restoration). Spiritually, these places are sacred. Scientifically, they are unique habitats rich in animal and plant diversity essential to sustain our need for clean air and water and to help correct and stabilize climate change. Economically, they are a biobank for society, not only for tourism, but also for biologics and microbiota of potential medical, agricultural and other industrial use. Ethically, they are monuments of Earth's creation that society must cherish -- if not for nature's sake, then at least out of enlightened self-interest."

 

​Friends Hire First Staff Position

Welcome Shannon! Our new Community Partnerships Director.

In January 2017, the Friends received a major donation from the Elizabeth G. Maughan Charitable Foundation to support and develop our capacity building efforts over the next two years.  

Shannon Browne

Shannon Browne

The Friends hired Shannon Browne, a current graduate student with the SOU Environmental Education program and last year’s stellar Student Board Member, to head this effort on a half-time basis. Shannon is a Pacific Northwest native, with a major affinity for the outdoors and conservation. She comes to us with a strong professional background in marketing, interpretation, and outreach.  Previously,  she worked with the National Park Service at Crater Lake and Oregon Caves, as well as with the Sierra Club in San Francisco.

Shannon will work to build capacity with new and diverse constituents and organizations.  These efforts will play a vital role in increasing our visibility and outreach services to communities surrounding the monument.  

Join us in welcoming Shannon as she works to expand the Friends’ reach of engaging people to understand, and act to conserve, the biodiversity that makes Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument so special.

We thank the Elizabeth G. Maughan Charitable Foundation for their confidence in our mission to support the protection, restoration and conservation of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument through service, advocacy, and education.

The Science of Sketching Clouds with Sarah F. Burns

On a bright Saturday morning in May, we sixteen headed south from Hobart Bluff. Our mission: to find inspiration within the diverse bioregion that is the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. From the start, we appeared to have our work cut out for us. Most adventurers would have delighted in the clear blue skies stretching from horizon to horizon, but not we.  We were in search of clouded vistas.      

Pilot Rock view with Sarah Burns' Hike & Learn sketch group in search of clouds, on Hobart Bluff. John Ward photo, May 2017

Pilot Rock view with Sarah Burns' Hike & Learn sketch group in search of clouds, on Hobart Bluff. John Ward photo, May 2017

Local artist, Sarah F. Burns, would be our guide through our artistic journey. She struck out south from the trailhead toward a rocky overlook that she had visited in the past.  She had great reason to return. After a short hike our group found itself looking out, on one side, over Pilot Rock toward Mt. Ashland and toward Mt. Shasta on the other. As we took in the scenic panorama, small patches of snow could be seen, hiding from the warm sun, in the shade of large conifers. The view was accompanied by a melody of songbirds, including at least one Olive-sided Flycatcher.      

Grizzly Peak and Cumulus Clouds. Painting by Sarah Burns

Grizzly Peak and Cumulus Clouds. Painting by Sarah Burns

Sarah set up her easel and gave a thorough sketching demo, with tips and tricks of how to immerse oneself into the sketch without falling into common pitfalls. She discussed how to frame an image for composition, how to use an outstretched thumb to determine scale, and then keep the original idea of your sketch in mind as you work out the smaller details.      

We each then found our own inspirations and comfortable seats among the rocks, and set out on our sketching with hopes that the clouds would continue building on the horizons. It was not long before we were immersed in our processes, occasionally taking short breaks to meander about taking in views and observing our fellow hikers’ works. Our wishing and positive energy paid off as small puffs of stratocumulus clouds built up along the horizons for us to incorporate into our sketches.         

In no time at all, it was nearing time for lunch and time for us to head back down the mountain. We each made a few final touches to our sketches, snapped some reference photos for future inspiration, and began to pack our artist tools back into our daypacks. After pausing briefly for a group photo, our gathering was joined by a brightly colored crab spider for us to marvel at. We then made our way back to the trailhead and dispersed back to our individual lives, sketches in tow.  

Text and photos by John Ward, Hike and Learn Coordinator

Artists and Summer Interns Announced

Artists-In-Residence 2017

Artists Mabrie Ormes, Darlene Southworth and Matt Witt will each spend one to two weeks in residency creating works that represent the natural and cultural resources of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

In June, look for watercolorist Darlene Southworth; and during July, Mabrie Ormes will create a series of paintings along the Grizzly Peak trail. In August, Matt Witt photographs will increase visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the wild lands and biodiversity of the monument. 

Each artist will present a public program. Dates and venues will be posted.


Summer Interns for Interpretive Services

Three summer interns will provide interpretive services to monument visitors. Morgyn Ellis, Elizabeth Schyling and Becky Yaeger are graduate students at Southern Oregon University's Environmental Education.

Becky worked for Cascade WILDS (Wilderness Immersion Learning Discovering Surviving) and studied to become an Oregon Master Naturalist. Elizabeth has taught and led hikes around Mount St. Helens. Morgyn served as student boardmember for the Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument; and she coordinated the Friends Research Grant for University Students and the Science Symposium. 

Read more about interns at SOU Environmental Education Current Students Cohort 2016-17