Labor Day weekend capped our inaugural season of interpretive programs at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument for 2017.
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!"
“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!”
Morgyn Ellis, Ranger Intern
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument