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 Jr. Ranger badges. See 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. 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

BioBlitz 2017 – Herpetology: SOU Biology Lead Citizen Scientists in the Monument

Birds called through the tall branches of Douglas-fir, white fir, incense cedar, and ponderosa pine that lined the trails of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Their needles were warming fast, a spicy feast to the nose, as the morning of Saturday, May 20 dawned sunny and clear.

Dr. Michael Parker, SOU Biology Department Chair, demonstrates how to tie a lasso. TPD photo

Dr. Michael Parker, SOU Biology Department Chair, demonstrates how to tie a lasso. TPD photo

Sixty (60) eager citizen scientists and eighteen (18) student leaders gathered for the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s third annual BioBlitz. This event was in collaboration with Southern Oregon University, led by Dr. Michael Parker, Biology Department Chair, with his SOU Biology - Herpetology class. The recently melted snow undoubtedly meant abundant snakes and lizards; frogs, toads and salamanders; and even turtles waiting to be found in the diverse habitats of the Monument.     

BioBlitz 2017 – Herpetology is the first large-scale survey of the herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) within the Monument, where citizen scientists worked alongside SOU students to document the distribution of the many species of herps within the Monument’s recently expanded boundaries.

SOU Biology student leader catches a snake in each hand.  Shane Stiles photo.

SOU Biology student leader catches a snake in each hand.  Shane Stiles photo.

Student leaders, distributed amongst nine sites, led participants to diverse ecosystems within the Monument. The Sampson Creek Preserve, Mayfield Gardens, Upper Parsnip Lakes, Baldy Creek, Boccard Point, Agate Flat, Shoat Springs, Box-O Ranch, Jenny Creek (upper and lower), the Oregon Gulch, and Fredenburg Meadow were all systematically surveyed for herps between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm.

Collectively, the groups observed 18 species including 5 lizards, 6 snakes, 1 turtle, 3 salamanders and 3 frogs (including one boreal toad).  By far the most widespread and frequently encountered species was the Western Fence Lizard that accounted for 76% of all observations and was found at all 9 locations. Racers, Southern Alligator Lizards and Western Skinks were also frequently encountered, occurring at 7-8 of the 9 sites surveyed.  

The three least common species encountered were the Striped Whipsnake, Western Pond Turtle and Boreal Toad, each represented by a single individual at a single site. This initial inventory that was collected at the BioBlitz now provide the basis for future surveys and focused research into biodiversity on the Monument, all of which is essential for its protection.

BioBlitz 2017 highlighted the Monument as a community and educational resource, increasing public appreciation of the uniqueness of the CSNM and providing a hands-on opportunity to learn more about it. Participants were excited to visit diverse parts of the Monument they had never been and spend the day in the company of interesting people. One participant remarked, “The event was amazing. I would always come to any of these kinds of events. It really gives folks a chance to learn and get closer to nature.”

BioBlitz 2017 - Crater Renaissance Academy participants at Boccard Point, with Mt. Shasta Vies. Caroline Burdick photo.

BioBlitz 2017 - Crater Renaissance Academy participants at Boccard Point, with Mt. Shasta Vies. Caroline Burdick photo.

Participants did get close to their study animals, catching lizards and snakes to identify species and sex as well as taking close-up photos of amphibian egg masses and reptile scales to identify later in the lab. The group that visited Boccard Point got to see biodiversity in action. Standing before a sweeping view of Pilot Rock, Mt. Ashland, and Mt. Shasta, Western Fence Lizards and Sagebrush Lizards lounged on neighboring rocks while Cascades’ incense cedar and white fir gave way to Great Basin sagebrush and juniper.

Undoubtedly, the vistas of the Monument, as well as its characteristic flora and fauna, serve as continual inspiration for scientists and recreational visitors alike. BioBlitzes are essential to keeping this fire of inspiration alive. As one participant so poignantly remarked, “Thanks for letting me be a part of this! If only there was more time in a day! (I didn’t want to leave ☺!)”

by Katie Boehnlein, BioBlitz 2017 Coordinator
SOU Environmental Education graduate student


Photo Gallery - BioBlitz 2017 Herpetology. To view captions, hover top right of each photo.

Pictures Prompt a Thousand Words In Defense of Our National Monuments

I had been asking myself what all of us could do to stop the Trump Administration’s threat to abolish or slash 27 national monuments, including our local Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, when I got an email from Kevin Ebi, a nature photographer in Seattle.

Pilot Rock in Deep Winter © Matt Witt

Pilot Rock in Deep Winter © Matt Witt

He said he was putting together an e-book that people would be able to view or download free online that would show photographs of each of the endangered monuments. He had been looking at images on my website of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and wanted to know if I would be willing to contribute some of them to the e-book.

Within a few days, ten nature photographers had agreed to donate our work to the stunning new free e-book, “Land Almost Lost: A Call to Save Our National Monuments.”

Land Almost Lost: A Call to Save Our National Monuments.

Land Almost Lost: A Call to Save Our National Monuments.

Already, thousands of people have viewed it and then clicked on the links it provides to file a comment with the U.S. Interior Department and contact their members of Congress, calling for preservation of all of our monuments.

I had a big collection for Kevin to choose from, having hiked and photographed in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in every season for the past ten years. I also sent him some images from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, a spectacular treasure where I had just gone backpacking, and he used one of a prairie hawk soaring high above a cliff at sunset.

Recently, I heard another local photographer quoting the saying, “We don’t take photographs; we are given them.” The same can be said of our public lands. They are protected only because dedicated activists, scientists, landowners, tribal leaders, hikers, hunters, birders, anglers, and other local residents organized and spoke out over many years.

If we want our national monuments and national parks to endure for ourselves, for future generations, and for the huge variety of plants and creatures that live within them, we all have to make our voices heard – today.

by Matt Witt, Photographer
Artist-in-Residence 2017, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Matt has generously allowed the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to publish his photos in our e-newsletter. 

Friends Award Student Research Grants - Summer 2017

University student researchers will once again get a chance to discover and contribute to what we know about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Research grants were awarded to Southern Oregon University students Suphasiri Muttamara (Dialects of Pika) and Hope Braithworth (Dragonflies and Damselflies); and from University of Oregon Alec Sweetland (Geologic Summer Research Investigations). 

The 2017 funding was provided by the Gwladys & John Zurlo Foundation and Friends of CSNM. You can make a donation and help support education about biodiversity in the Monument.

The Friends Research Fund provides research opportunities for university students. Projects must occur in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and have a supervising faculty member. Topics can be in the areas of sciences, arts and humanities. 

This year’s review committee included: Morgyn Ellis, FCSNM Board Member; Dr. Stewart Janes, Professor of Biology, SOU; Kent Pressman, community member; Charlie Schelz, BLM Ecologist; and Linda Hilligoss, SOU Professor of Education.

Project Descriptions 2017 funded by Friends Research Fund 

Dragonflies and Damselflies of CSNM - $ 1,472
Hope Braithworth, Graduate Student, SOU Environmental Education
My main objective in conducting this research is to quantify dragonfly and damselfly species distribution and abundance within and among a diversity of aquatic habitats in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  (Michael Parker, SOU Professor of Biology)

Dialects of Pika (Ochotona princeps) in Southwestern Oregon - $ 580.
Suphasiri Muttamara, Graduate Student, SOU Environmental Education
The project is a study a distinct population of pika in the CSNM using call dialects. Separated populations of this species have different call dialects due to geographic variation and isolation. My hypothesis is that differences in call dialects will reflect the degree of isolation and divergence among populations. This project will be part of my master thesis project. The specific objectives include: 1) Determine differences in call dialects among pika populations from the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, and Lava Beds National Monument. 2) Compare differences to determine the amount of isolation among these populations. (Stewart Janes, SOU Professor of Biology)

Geologic Summer Research Investigations in CSNM - $ 673.
Alec Sweetland, Senior, University of Oregon
Research will include detailed mapping of rock units and contacts found in the High Cascade and Western Cascade volcanic deposits, and investigation into the geohydrology of the spring systems located in the area by measure discharge rates and mapping spring locations. The goal of these projects is to develop a richer knowledge of the geologic history of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  (SOU Emeritus Professor Jad D’Allura, Geology)

Your gift will support education programs about the biodiversity of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Thank you!

Friends Response to Executive Order

President Trump has signed an executive order requiring the Department of Interior to review all designations of land under the Antiquities Act that fit the category of being designated after 1996 and having over 100,000 acres of land. The Antiquities Act was signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 to safeguard and preserve federal lands, objects of scientific interest, and cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy.

No President has ever revoked a national monument and for good reason: such an attack on our nation’s public lands and heritage is deeply unpopular and likely illegal. The Trump administration’s Executive Order to review national monuments could threaten dozens of national monuments including the Grand Staircase-­‐Escalante National Monument, the Bears Ears National Monument, and our own Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM).

The CSNM was designated in June 2000 by presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act. The monument is home to thousands of species, including a few threatened and endangered, such as the Oregon Spotted Frog and Gentner’s fritillary.

Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The only monument designated for its biodiversity, established in 2000. Monument boundaries were expanded in 2017.

Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The only monument designated for its biodiversity, established in 2000. Monument boundaries were expanded in 2017.

“The monument was proclaimed because it’s a place where there’s exceptional biodiversity. The idea that there is a place in the world that has 135 species of butterflies is just magical!,” says Michael Parker, Professor of Biology at Southern Oregon University.

The Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument connects the distinct Oregon ecosystems of the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountain ranges into one unique biological corridor that contains species from east and west of the Cascades. The monument offers unrivaled vistas, access to the Pacific Crest Trail, protection for cultural sites, learning opportunities for youth, and year-­‐round outdoor recreation.

National parks, public lands and waters are a critical part of the nation’s economy – especially for rural and Western communities that benefit from the tourism, outdoor recreation and quality of life associated with healthy public lands. They also define who we are as a nation and help to shape a better future by connecting our landscapes to our cultural past.

The Friends of Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument is a non-­‐profit organization that promotes the protection, restoration, and conservation of the Cascade-­‐Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). The Friends is opposed to any action to revoke or reduce the protections the monument provides to this valuable community asset.

Terry Dickey, Chair
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Teacher on Public Lands at Monument

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was selected to host a Teacher on Public Lands (TPL) intern this summer. Our Washington Office Division of Education, Interpretation and Partnerships supports the placement of 20 classroom teachers as interns at selected sites. Teachers earn university credit from the University of Colorado Denver and receive a professional development stipend upon completion of a mutually beneficial project that supports Junior Ranger education and youth engagement efforts.  

Tara O'Malley, appointed Teacher on Public Lands at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during summer 2017. 

Tara O'Malley, appointed Teacher on Public Lands at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during summer 2017. 

TPL teachers spend up to 30 percent of their time learning about public lands and resources, experiencing the day-to-day operations of the BLM, and working with the public. When teachers return to school in the fall, they are expected to spend part of their classroom time-sharing their TPL projects with their own students and other appropriate audiences.

We are pleased to announce our CSNM TPL intern is Tara O'Malley, a 3rd grade teacher at Table Rock Elementary School in White City, OR. She earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Southern Oregon University and is a Portland OR native. While interning at CSNM this summer, Tara will complete lesson plan activities that she can field-test on young monument visitors this summer, and then bring back with her to Table Rock elementary this fall. Come up to the monument this summer and meet Tara!

Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist

Recap: Research in Monument

The Friends envision a healthy and vibrant Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument for present and future generations. We manifest this vision by supporting students in their path towards careers in the sciences and arts that contribute to conservation efforts. In just three years, the Friends Research Grant has become one of our standout programs: awarding individual grants ranging from $250-$1,500 to undergraduate and graduate students that enhance the understanding, appreciation, preservation, and protection of the CSNM.

On March 23, over sixty Friends’ supporters and scientists gathered to hear about the research by four students and scientists who have endeavored research in the Monument boundaries in 2016. It was an opportunity for students to present their research in a professional context and for the rest of us to learn about the current status of critical species and landscapes in the CSNM.

L to R: Martin Harris and Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Charles Schelz (BLM Ecologist), and Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education) K Boehnlein photo

L to R: Martin Harris and Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Charles Schelz (BLM Ecologist), and Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education) K Boehnlein photo

Martin Harris (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), Kieran McCann (University of Oregon, BS Earth Sciences), and Kendra Madaras-Kelly (Southern Oregon University, BS Chemistry) all worked with Emeritus Professor Jad D’Allura on geoscience projects. Martin furthered existing GIS mapping data for the High Cascades and Western Cascades regions of the Parker Mountain region, noting the differences in rock type between each formation. Kieran focused on hydrology, attempting to answer the question, “How does geology affect stream flow?” He found that the High Cascades, being more porous, allow water to flow into groundwater more readily (see Kieran's photos). Consequently, the High Cascades retain less water throughout the season, whereas streams in the Western Cascades (more eroded and protected) retain more surface water. Kendra is the first researcher to attempt water chemistry analysis in Monument waterways, analyzing eleven water samples from various locations for presence of trace elements. Luckily, she found that the eight creeks are all safe to drink from, and she discovered that the concentration of elements increased as the stream length increased, most likely due to influx from various tributaries. 

Emily Burke (Southern Oregon University, MS Environmental Education) presented information about her Master’s Thesis project on Great Grey Owl (GGO) and Barred Owl (BO) competition on the Dead Indian Plateau (See Emily's photos) . Emily’s research furthers existing widespread research on competition between native Northern Spotted Owls and invasive Barred Owls. Her project attempted to parce out the differences between GGO and BO habitat and pinpoint the main variables that define each species’ individual habitats. Her findings suggest that the habitats of GGO (less dense forests) and BO (dense, shorter forests) are different enough that they don’t seem to be posing much of a threat to competition. This is great news for the Monument, as a majority of the GGO nests discovered by the BLM in the last five years are in the expanded Monument area. Emily’s research suggests that conserving Great Grey Owl habitat into the future, especially with increased Monument acreage, may be a low concern. 

Chris Volpe talks about the current status of the Jenny Creek sucker. K Boehnlein photo

Chris Volpe talks about the current status of the Jenny Creek sucker. K Boehnlein photo

Chris Volpe (BLM fish biologist) and Scot Loring (mycologist and Friends’ board member) also offered insights into recent studies on the Monument. Chris summarized Jenny Creek sucker surveys from 1981 to the present, reassuring us that research is still active on behalf of this special species. Biologists like Chris continue to monitor and locate priority spawning sites, paying particular attention to tagged individuals’ tendency to return to their birth streams to spawn. Scot summarized the 2016 Fungi BioBlitz findings, highlighting six rare or sensitive species that were found among the total 114 species catalogued. Out of this total, 99 new species were also recorded for the CSNM lists, increasing the total number of fungi species documented within Monument boundaries from 47 to 146!

Michael Parker (SOU Biology Chair, aquatic ecologist, and herpetologist) closed the evening’s event with poignant comments about future research opportunities in the Monument. He reminded us that the Friends Research Grant was born over three years ago at the end of a hike that he led in the Monument for Friends’ supporters. At the conclusion of the hike, participants wondered about more opportunities for research in the Monument, and offered bills or checks for the creation of a fund for students.

Today, we have an expanded Monument just out our backdoor, and a myriad of potential research opportunities. We know that biodiversity is abundant in the CSNM and that connectivity between habitats is necessary for species to thrive, but little is known about the social & cultural aspects of the Monument. For instance, what are the recreational and economic implications of the CSNM to neighboring communities? Or, why are national monuments important for our aesthetic, spiritual, and educational well-being? The answers to these questions, and more, are endless. Here’s to another successful year for students and career scientists attempting to answer the most creative questions they can muster!

Katie Boehnlein, Coordinator
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument