BioBlitz 2016: Fungi — 120 Different Species!

     “This is an incredible community of folks that deeply care, and are inspired by living things.” 
— Amy Schlotterback, BioBlitz 2016 citizen scientist
Citizen Scientists with Their array of mushrooms, found During  BioBlitz 2016.    T Dickey 2016 photo

Citizen Scientists with Their array of mushrooms, found During  BioBlitz 2016.    T Dickey 2016 photo

Mycologist Scot Loring Leads team of citizen-Scientists During BioBlitz 2016, at Cascade siskiyou National monument.  Lilia Letsch 2016 photo

Mycologist Scot Loring Leads team of citizen-Scientists During BioBlitz 2016, at Cascade siskiyou National monument.  Lilia Letsch 2016 photo

Nearly 100 enthusiastic citizen-scientists, high school and college students, volunteers, and fungi experts, gathered at Pinehurst Elementary School in the morning of November 12 to participate in the 2016 BioBlitz hosted by the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

After 5 hours in the field, eight teams, each with 12 members led by a fungi expert, scouted different areas of forest, meadows, and mountain tops of the monument. Their effort uncovered over 120 different species of fungi (nearly 3 times the number found in a previous survey!) including several truffles and the rarely encountered species Ramaria celevirescens, Clavulinopsis fusiformis, and Stropharia kaufmanii

Besides providing a hands-on opportunity for people to learn about the monument, the results from this survey, together with previous and other planned scientific studies, will help identify patterns of fungi diversity, abundance, and climate. In turn, that knowledge will assist biologists in developing the best strategies for protecting, preserving, and restoring the monument’s natural health.

With assistance from BLM as well as individual and community sponsors, the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument hosts a BioBlitz for the purpose of exploring and expanding our knowledge of biodiversity within the monument. 

Steve Trudell, author of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, was impressed by the “large turnout of enthusiastic Monument supporters eager to learn about the local fungi." He said, "there are many diverse species left to be found there.”

     — Peter Schroeder, BioBlitz Coordinator

Note: Findings are in progress. Additional information will be updated.

More about BioBlitz 2016: Fungi

Many thanks to our sponsors: This event was supported by the National Conservation Lands, Research Support Program, Bureau of Land Management; Pinehurst Elementary School, Northwest Nature Shop, Green Springs Inn and Cabins, REI Co-op, Indigo Creek Outfitters, Sign Dude, Conservation Lands Foundation; and contributors to Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  

Gallery of Photos - Fungi BioBlitz 2016 


November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving support to the organizations you care about. 

We invite you to give local—Friends of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument is dedicated to expanding awareness about the monument’s biodiversity and significance to our region and as a part of the National Conservation Lands. 

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is located at the crossroads of the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Cascade Mountain ranges in Southern Oregon. The convergence brings together the different rock strata, plant, and animal communities of each region creating an incredibly varied and diverse landscape.

#GivingTuesday starts our year-end giving campaign to reach our goal of $ 5,000!
Our thanks go to an anonymous donor for matching all donations that are over $30. With your support, every dollar can go twice as far in our mission to educate, research, and spread awareness about our Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

Your support of the Friends through contributions and event participation strengthens our shared voice and effort toward ensuring our Monument stays healthy and vibrant. 

Now more than ever we couldn’t do it without your support. 

Thank you!

Donate online or mail a check to Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, PO Box 3495, Ashland, OR. 

SOU professor, Dr. Michael Parker (center front), leads Hike and Learn group to Parsnips Lakes. 

SOU professor, Dr. Michael Parker (center front), leads Hike and Learn group to Parsnips Lakes. 

Expansion Recap: Public Hearings

     “... the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is an ecological wonder, with biological diversity unmatched in the Cascade Range."  From the Monument Proclamation 7318, June 9, 2000.

Many dozens of scientists agree that adequately expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is essential to protect the Monument’s important biological connectivity, outstanding biodiversity, and make it more resilient to the effects of climate change. 

Recognizing the Monument’s contribution to the local economy and regional quality of life, the Chamber of Commerce boards, City Councils, and Mayors of Ashland and Talent – the two closest towns to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument – unanimously support science-based expansion of the Monument. 

We have the opportunity to expand the national monument to provide comprehensive and cohesive protection of this biologically unique and valuable landscape.

We support science-based Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion in order to fulfill the promise of the original monument proclamation.

Comment to Senator on the proposed expansion before November 20, 2016  

You still have an opportunity to provide public comment to Senator Jeff Merkley about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument from now until November 20, 2016. Call and leave him a message at (503) 326-3386. Or comment to Senator Merkley online. 

Public Hearing on Proposed Expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Three public hearings have been conducted to collect comments about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Senator Merkley hosted one in Ashland. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners convened a meeting in Medford; and Klamath County Commissioners held one in Klamath Falls.

On October 14th, 2016. US Senator Jeff Merkley and Mike Connor, Deputy Secretary of the Interior convened a public meeting about expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expansion in Ashland, OR. Listen to the JPR story.

Ornithologist Pepper Trail, Ph.D., Ashland presented testimony about the scientific basis and urgent need to protect the biodiversity of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Read Pepper's guest opinion at the Mail Tribune.

Sen. Merkley said, ""I wanted to make sure, absolutely sure, that the president’s team heard directly from the citizens with the full spectrum of thoughts."  

See photo slide show of the expansion public hearing. Photos by Matt Witt © 2016. 

IN blue shirt, at Microphone: Suzi Given, friends of cascade-siskiyou national monument stated support for the expansion to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (seated panel at right). T Dickey Photo

IN blue shirt, at Microphone: Suzi Given, friends of cascade-siskiyou national monument stated support for the expansion to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (seated panel at right). T Dickey Photo

October 27. Jackson County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing about the proposed expansion. More than 400 people attended and there was a diverse range of opinions about the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

November 1. Klamath County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing about the proposed expansion. Though most of the proposed Monument expansion is in Jackson County, county lines are not ecological lines. According to Sen. Merkley’s office, the Klamath County portion of the proposed Monument expansion is 18,626 acres. Listen to the entire hearing (Herald and News) 2hrs. 38min. 

If you have not been able to go to any of the public hearings, listen to Amy Amrhein, southern Oregon field representative for Sen. Merkley's office on the proposed expansion. It is the first 3 minutes of testimony at the Klamath County Board of Commissioners hearing in Klamath Falls.    

Writing Wild with Pepper Trail

"Not water alone does flow, but land
All its coverings and its inhabitants
The deer walking from valley to ridge
The birds and the every living thing
Find here, in a world of change, their place."

-- from Ecotone by Pepper Trail

Ornithologist and Poet Pepper trail (r)

Ornithologist and Poet Pepper trail (r)

A dozen eager hikers and literary folk gather at the Hobart Bluff gravel parking lot, power lines crackling in the balmy, cheerful Saturday morning breeze. Our leader for the day, Pepper Trail, is an ornithologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service, but also an accomplished writer. His book, Cascade-Siskiyou poems was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award for poetry. Pepper has come prepared for our hike today with a backpack filled with poetry and binoculars around his neck, a perfect representation of his dual identity as a scientist and artist. 

Not a moment to be wasted of the beautiful day, we jump onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) South. Not 100 yards up the trail, we are taken by the sight of elderberry trees weighed down by dusty blue-gray berries. Cedar waxwings descend on the trees in delight, their high pitched, tinkly calls echoing in the still air. A Lewis’s woodpecker flaps overhead, as juncos dart about in the bushes. And thus our adventure begins, an education in both birds and writing.

At the first rocky outcrop, we stop for some poetry writing and view-watching, taking in the gentle whisper of the wind in the trees and the amazing feeling of our homes so far below. Pilot Rocks stands sentry across the valley, a reminder of this area’s fiery geologic past. We contemplate Pepper’s poem Ecotone, which speaks of the diversity of the Monument’s landscapes. Already, only a quarter mile into our hike, we have brushed shoulders with lush incense cedars and felt the expanse of a rocky landscape dotted with wind-swept juniper trees.  Many hikers “dip their toes in the ocean of poetry,” at Pepper’s suggestion, starting with the simplicity of haiku writing. We start to put words together, inspired by the view and the company.

We enjoy our sack lunches in an aspen grove, fluttering leaves showing the first golden blush of fall as migrating hawks float overhead. After lunch, we hike back to the trailhead, where some of our party departs for the afternoon. However, those who want more poems and more views and more birds to lighten our souls, decide to hike the PCT North to the top of Hobart Bluff. Perched above Hobart Lake and the Bear Creek Valley, we take in our fill of the beauty of where we live. We are surrounded by stooped juniper trees, “old and young, green and gray / [teaching] that life and time are one” (from Juniper Years by Pepper Trail). Sadly, the afternoon must come to an end as the sun lowers itself closer to the horizon. As we return to our cars, our minds and legs are tired after a day filled with the poetic beauty of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  

Story and photos by
Katie Boehnlein, Hike & Learn Coordinator

Haiku on Our Monument

Forms an ecotone
Cascade-Siskiyou Monument
Brimming with treasures.
           -- Barbara Settles, H&L participant



Volunteers Needed on National Public Lands Day 2016

National Public Lands Day 2015 volunteer work crew.  K Lloyd photo

National Public Lands Day 2015 volunteer work crew.  K Lloyd photo

The Ashland and Butte Falls Resource Areas of the Medford District, Bureau of Land Management, will be hosting a National Public Lands Day at the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument on September 24, 2016. 

Volunteers should meet at Mountain View Shelter at the Hyatt Lake Campground from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Volunteers will help with much needed maintenance and clean-up of the campground and facilities. Projects will include (but may not be limited to) painting picnic tables, replacing fire rings, picking up trash, and other tasks that will help to enhance and beautify the area. Register online with Friends of CSNM Lunch will be provided by Greenleaf Restaurant, Ashland, OR.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. NPLD keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that worked from 1933-1942, to preserve and protect America’s natural heritage.  NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. Since the first NPLD, the event has grown by leaps and bounds.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.

The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Hike Recap: Nature Journaling

“I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

—    from “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver —

Group at Pilot Rock. KBoehnlein photo

Group at Pilot Rock. KBoehnlein photo

In the sweltering heat of mid-August, a small but stalwart group of hikers set out to explore the Pilot Rock and Lone Pilot trails. Bolstered with water, snacks, journals, colored pencils, and inquiring minds, they we ready to uncover the smallest details of their hike and capture time for creativity.
     The night before, ten participants gathered at the Ashland Library to make simple cardstock journals and practice sketching, inspired by books and resources gathered by the two leaders, Mary Silva and Katie Boehnlein. Mary has been creating beautiful watercolor and collage travel journals for years, and Katie is a passionate environmental educator and nature writer, so they brought great excitement and expertise to the table. They encouraged their participants to let go of inhibitions, highlighting instead the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, or the art of imperfection, as they readied themselves for the next day’s artistic endeavors.

Saturday morning was undoubtedly hot. Small shade at the Pilot Rock trailhead served as the perfect place to read a passage from Thoreau’s Walking, go over the day’s route, and set out on the trail! Though the morning was warm, a small breeze wafted along the winding trail, as the group admired Pilot Rock looming far above to their left. Small black and white butterflies followed in their stead, fluttering between shafts of light bending through tree limbs. A mile down the Pilot Rock trail, the group reached a crossroads. At this point, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the trail heading closer to Pilot Rock, and the Lone Pilot Trail begins on a deviating spur. 
     The Siskiyou Mountain Club created the Lone Pilot Trail, a former logging road with fantastic views of Pilot Rock and Mt. Shasta. The road twists and turns throughout 17 miles of the Soda Mountain Wilderness, which is located within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. On just the two miles of this trail that the group explored, they passed through diverse habitat: deep ponderosa pine forest as well as open oak savannah. 
     Our first stop was in a large clearing directly below Pilot Rock. We paused here for our first chance to sketch and write. Taking inspiration from a lone pine tree clinging to life at the top of Pilot Rock, we contemplated, “How do things end up where they do?” musing on the origins of small rocks, tiny wildflowers, and the immense of Pilot Rock, a volcanic plug that still juts high into the sky thousands of years after its molten creation. 
     We ate lunch beneath the cooling shade of ponderosa pine needles, sketching and talking as we ate. We dug our hands into layer upon layer of discarded ponderosa bark, a mire of puzzle pieces that serve as the tree’s best defense against fire. We then moved further out into the open to glimpse the imposing Mt. Shasta, hazy in the heat, while listening to the legend of Shasta and the Grizzlies, and inspiration of history and folklore. As the afternoon heat came to a head, we ventured up the hill once again and back towards the trailhead.
     Our final stop was in a lush, shady clearing alongside the trail. We read Charles Finn’s short essay called Chickadee, watching birds flit around us from branch to branch. They seemed tireless despite the heat. As we rose to return to our cars, filled to the brim with the Monument’s beauty and the day’s inspiration, a little voice called to us in farewell: “chickadee-dee-dee…chickadee…”

Text and photos by Katie Boehnlein, Hike and Learn Coordinator
     Exploring Place with Nature Journaling and Field Sketching

Beavers and Watersheds

The group follows Michael Parker down into Fredenburg Meadow to search for a beaver dam. see the 3-MILLION YEAR OLD LAVA FLOW at the upper left. K Boehnlein photo

The group follows Michael Parker down into Fredenburg Meadow to search for a beaver dam. see the 3-MILLION YEAR OLD LAVA FLOW at the upper left. K Boehnlein photo

Michael Parker tells about the 'sponge' as participants stand on a now-empty beaver dam. K Boehnlein photo

Michael Parker tells about the 'sponge' as participants stand on a now-empty beaver dam. K Boehnlein photo

A hot summer day in the Bear Creek Valley inevitably means that the forests of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument become needed respite. This month, we had the pleasure of following SOU Biology Department chair, aquatic ecologist, and expert bushwhacker Michael Parker into the woods and off trail in search of clues about the ultimate “ecosystem engineer”: the American Beaver.
     Our adventure began at Tub Springs Wayside, where we consolidated cars and continued down Highway 66 to Jenny Creek Road. We wound our way past corporate timberlands piled high with harvested timber, eerily resembling the piles of wood that beavers themselves collect to make their homes. But just beyond timber lands lies the Monument boundary, an immediate return to the peace of an intact forest. Just after crossing Jenny Creek, we parked and walked west along Forest Service Road 39-4E-23.3 which borders Jenny Creek. From our high vantage point, we could see the willow, cattails, rushes, and Spirea that flock to wet channels, a line of darker green against midsummer grass. This marshy grassland that used to be home to cattle grazing is called Fredenburg Meadow, a unique wet meadow gets its wetness from Jenny Creek and Fredenburg Springs.

This was the site of our first beaver dam! Beavers haven’t occupied Fredenburg Meadow and Jenny Creek for a few years now, but their dam remains, hidden beneath willow roots and cattails. Participants picked their way through soggy ground and water-loving vegetation to stand on top of the now-empty beaver dam, an innocuous conglomeration of sticks and mud cut out of the land. One by one, participants disappeared into the wall of green that surrounded the dam, emerging victorious and awed to be standing on a former home built with mostly alder boughs. We could now see that the oasis of green that we had seen from above was actually an earthy sponge, formed from years of sediment accumulation from Jenny Creek and Fredenburg Springs, kept wet by spring runoff and held in place by plant roots. In less than 10 years, the meadow has been transformed from over-grazed grassland into a productive wetland, home to amphibians, insects, fish, seasonal elk, and sometimes…beavers.

We viewed a parsnip lake from afar. Dr. parker didn't want us to contaminate the lake, where the spotted frog breeds.  tpdickey photo.

We viewed a parsnip lake from afar. Dr. parker didn't want us to contaminate the lake, where the spotted frog breeds.  tpdickey photo.

After a filling lunch under the cooling gaze of old growth Douglas Fir boughs just up Jenny Creek Road from our cars, we headed to our second destination: The Parsnip Lakes. The group was delighted to visit the lakes, a favorite spot of Michael Parker’s. In 2003, Michael and some of his biology students discovered a population of the endangered Oregon Spotted Frog at these lakes, a species then believed to be extinct from Southern Oregon. We learned that this special population has beavers to thank for their wet home. A family of beavers formed this landscape years ago, now covered in standing water and yellow pond lilies, by damming one of the springs that feeds the lakes. Even though the beavers have now left, their dam remains as an overwintering spot for the frogs, who seek out areas that do not freeze to survive the cold months.
     There are stories inherent in any landscape. We just need the opportunity or guiding tutelage in order to find them. Michael Parker led our group of excited learners to discovering the American beaver as a subtle catalyst for landscape change. They move with the ever-changing mosaic of shifting water, which goes where it flows year after year. In the process of carving out homes for themselves out of alder sticks and mud, they nibble on willows and re-engineer the landscape. Often, this means wetter, more fertile ground for vegetation, amphibians, and other water-loving creatures to thrive!

by Katie Boehnlein, Hike and Learn 2016 Coordinator

View photos from the hike. To view caption text, hover over the photo. All photos by Katie Boehnlein, except where noted.

Hike Recap: Exploring Conifers with Doug Kendig

Botanist Doug Kendig. Photo by TDickey

Botanist Doug Kendig. Photo by TDickey

     See Doug Kendig's slideshow with notes, Conifers of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Shannon shows us that sugar pines are quite the handful! Photo by K Boehnlein

Shannon shows us that sugar pines are quite the handful! Photo by K Boehnlein

An eight-car caravan winds its way down Highway 66, weaving in and out of dappled shadows on a warm early-summer morning. Doug Kendig, former botanist with the BLM’s Northwest Forest Plan, is at the front, leading us deep into the peaceful Northeastern reaches of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. We turn off the Greensprings Highway, following Jenny Creek North along Moon Prairie Road (40-3E-3.0), which turns into Jenny Creek Road. The drainage is deep and dramatic, steep velvet hills of conifers rising from the waterway. We ride above it all, appreciating the visible swath of conifer diversity around us.
     We stop as the road crosses Jenny Creek over a concrete bridge, getting out of our cars to peer into the waterway. Doug helps us identify common high-elevation riparian trees: Sitka alder, red osier dogwood, ninebark, white oak, and willow. From our vantage point deep in the drainage, conifers surround us. We look up to see white and grand firs with their cones sticking straight up from the canopy branches into the blue sky, a direct contrast to Douglas fir (a false fir), whose mouse-tail cones droop downwards.
     We park the cars a short ways beyond Jenny Creek, up the mountain at the intersection of 15.4 road and Jenny Creek Road. We’re almost at the ridgetop, and begin walking west along 15.4 road. At a bend in the road, Doug turns the group off course, into a small break in the trees. We meander through a maze of incense cedar and sugar pine trunks, picking our way through horsetail, starflowers, bracken fern, and Oregon grape which blanket the pine needle-strewn understory. We emerge into a riparian meadow that is saturated with standing water. Incense cedar snags ring the periphery of the meadow, a surefire sign that the soils around this area are wet most of the year- too wet for cedars to thrive! In this magical thicket, we find a Pacific yew tree, an understory conifer with an interesting, fleshy, berry-like cone. We don’t see cones, but are able to distinguish its short, dark needles and purple, peeling bark from an adjacent white fir.
     At the end of the 15.4 road, we eat a delightful lunch in a sunny conifer grove, and then turn around to return to the cars once more. Before we are let off the hook, however, Doug makes sure that we know the difference between the many pine trees that surround us. Sugar pines have five needles to a bundle, as does Western white pine, but the sugar pine needles are shorter and cones grow off the tips of the branches. Ponderosa pines, on the other hand, have three needles to a bundle, puzzle-piece bark, and a beautiful candelabra shape.
     Learning about conifers in the Monument with Doug Kendig proved to be a delightful way to spend a Saturday morning. We shared company with eager learners, the sun warming our backs, and we came away with new tree friends to greet next time we visit the Monument.
     --Katie Boehnlein, Hike & Learn Coordinator
Notes from the June 10-11 Conifers Hike & Learn.  Photos by Katie Boehnlein

Hike and Learn group with Doug Kendig. Photo by K Boehnlein

Hike and Learn group with Doug Kendig. Photo by K Boehnlein

The group walks through a tunnel of conifers: Incense cedar, Douglas fir, white fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and Western white pine. Photo by K Boehnlein

The group walks through a tunnel of conifers: Incense cedar, Douglas fir, white fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and Western white pine. Photo by K Boehnlein

Picturing the Monument Anniversary by Matt Witt

For the past year I’ve been taking photographs to contribute to the work of Friends of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument to celebrate the monument’s 15th year. 

Pilot rock in deep winter © 2016 Matt Witt 

Pilot rock in deep winter © 2016 Matt Witt 

Recently, I had the pleasure of sifting through them and putting together an online album to share of a few dozen of my favorites.

The first thing I noticed was what a big part fog plays in many of them. Winter fog creating drama around Pilot Rock. Wet fog making spring colors sparkle. Fog creating rainbow colors as sun shines through the trees. Fog softening the light of dawn in the woods on Porcupine Mountain.

Next I noticed the snow. What a gift that we who live in the valleys where snow rarely accumulates anymore have a nearby mountain wilderness where winter’s magic is still on display.

Phlox and dried wood © 2016 Matt Witt 

Phlox and dried wood © 2016 Matt Witt 

And last I noticed the variety of what the monument has to offer. Spectacular rock formations. Sweeping views. Flowers of many shapes and colors. Butterflies and other living creatures.

This year’s project is complete, and feedback is welcome if you click online album to check the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument album out. But I look forward to continuing to hike and photograph in the monument in the years to come, and to supporting all those who promote our public lands and protect the natural environment around us.  

     --Matt Witt, photographer

Sweet 16 - Monument Birthday

Sweet 16! Rainy and Lela Miatke, teen singers of Rainy and the Rattlesnakes lead the group singing “Happy Birthday” to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council has hosted all 16 of the annual celebrations. Dave Willis acknowledged the many folks who have worked on making and caring for the Monument; and what still needs to be done. 

Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity 

Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity 

Featured speaker Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity told about the role of wolves in sustaining healthy ecosystems; and the need for science-based information in resource policymaking. People have the control of a cascade effect in our relationships to land, plants and animals. 
     With increased population, encroaching development and climate change, scientists report that the Monument needs better protection.

     Soda Mountain Wilderness Council hikes: Sunday, June 12: Southern Oregon University biologist Michael Parker will lead a scramble up Vulture Rock. Email to sign up. Saturday, June 18: Botanist John Villella will lead a top-to-bottom, shuttled hike to explore the east end of Grizzly Peak Preserve. Email Alison Kling at to sign up.



2016 Awards: Student Research

Grants for the 2016 Friends Research Fund were awarded to Emily Burke, Martin Harris and Kieran McCann

     Emily Burke
is graduate student in Environmental Education at SOU under Dr. Stewart Janes. Emily will be surveying nocturnal acoustic occupancies, characterizing nest habitats, and analyzing pellets to determine the extent of diet and habitat overlap between great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) and the invasive barred owl (Strix varia) on the Dead Indian Plateau in southwestern Oregon. A greater insight into resource use overlap between the two owl species may suggest a useful means of managing habitat of the great gray owl, a threatened Oregon sensitive species.

Martin Harris and Kieran McCann are both Geology undergraduates at University of Oregon. They will assist Dr. Jad D’Allura, SOU Emeritus Professor of Geology, in completing detailed geologic mapping of rock units and conducting geohydrologic studies in the southern Jenny Creek area within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Results from this work will increase our understanding of the area’s geologic past, elucidate changes in hydrology in response to climate change, and provide insight into how water resources and mass-wasting events affect ecological processes in the monument.

Look for these student researchers in the Monument! We'll share more about their findings at next year's Community Research Forum.

--Peter Schroeder, Chair of Friends Research Fund

Proposals were read by Dr. Schroeder; Dr. Michael Parker, biologist and SOU faculty member; Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist and Krista Harris, pharmacist (ret.) and FCSNM member.

Many thanks to our donors for funding these awards. Give to support the Friends of CSNM education and conservation programs!

Hike Recap: Feeling the Geologic Rhythms of the Monument with Jad D’Allura

Hike & Learn 2016 Coordinator Katie Boehnlein tells about the geology hike led by Jad D'Allura. You can use her notes when you next hike Greensprings Loop.

It was a chilly morning as we ascended into the clouds that cloaked the Greensprings Summit. Twenty of us stalwart hikers were in for a treat as Jad D’Allura, emeritus professor of Geology at SOU, led us along the Greensprings Loop trail and Pacific Crest Trail in a journey back in time to the Monument’s geologic beginnings.

Geologist Jad D'Allura shows us the rock beneath the Monument's biodiversity.

Geologist Jad D'Allura shows us the rock beneath the Monument's biodiversity.

A climb on the columnar joints

A climb on the columnar joints

As we climbed a slight incline through the fire forest of Douglas Fir, Snowberry, Trillium, and end-of-season Fawn Lilies, Jad helped us imagine the tumultuous events that created the bedrock upon which the Monument’s biodiversity has emerged. The west side of Greensprings Mountain, where we began our hike, was formed by volcanoes eons ago, but has since been eroded and covered by forest. We were lucky, at times, to see evidence of this geologic movement rising above the soft, needle-strewn trail. Just a mile or so into our walk, we could see a lava flow rising above to our right. We were amazed to hear that these remnants of the Western Cascades have been tilted 25° to the north-northeast! This is because Klamath Falls is actively (though gently) sinking off to the east as the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains lift off to the west. The cooling fractures splitting the rock face into distinct bands were perfect for the littlest among us to climb up for a better view of the valley off in the distance.

Along many of the ins and outs of the Greensprings Trail, the landscape changes dramatically, from open slope to oak woodland to hardwood groves. The Monument is famous for this biodiversity, but through the eyes of geology, our multifaceted journey around Greensprings Mountain exists solely because of the diversity of rock types. These varied types of rock break down to form the diverse soils that host so many different kinds of flora and fauna.

White bands of quartz in the rock sample

White bands of quartz in the rock sample

The open oak woodlands show us distinctly how the volcanic bedrock has weathered dramatically downslope over the years. Picking up rocks off the trail, we can look for white crystals called plagioclase feldspars, which tell us that the magma in this area cooled slowly as it rose from the Earth’s core. Darker minerals, like the dark green augite, and later forming quartz crystals, are best seen under a hand held magnifier (loupe).

At our lunch spot at Hyatt Meadow, protected by Douglas Firs, we watched Keene Creek become sodden in the deepening mist and drizzle. We had progressed to the boundary of two rock formations, the Roxy Ann and Wasson Formations. The new rocks of the Wasson Formation presented themselves to us: soft, white rock littering the creek bed. We learned that these rocks were formed by solidified ash that billowed out of nearby vents 24 million years ago. Imagine standing in the way of molten clouds blowing by at 200 miles per hour!

Our hike ended at the then rain-soaked Little Hyatt Reservoir. The dramatic finale was climbing up a small rise to see columnar basalt formations that ring the edge of the water. Imaginations buzzing, we headed back to our cars to warm up, eyes now open to the ancient history always underfoot.

Earth Day 2016 Recap

Earth Day 2016 hike on Greensprings trail images by katie boehnlein © 2016

Earth Day 2016 hike on Greensprings trail images by katie boehnlein © 2016

Children eagerly stroked the animal pelts, bones, and feathers while studying with magnifying glasses. Several students exhibited high proficiency in recognizing the animals from which these originated. 
   Thanks to our Friends of CSNM volunteers who hosted our booth at Rogue Valley Earth Day on April 23, 2016! Parents and adults signed up for our Hike and Learn events, and joined our membership. Though the weather was chilly, breezy and intermittently sprinkling, it did not deter Earth Day enthusiasts this year!  Many folks requested maps and more information on hiking in the monument. 
We joined KS Wild to hike the Greensprings Mountain trail on April 24. Though the snowy weather discouraged most while approaching the monument, the hike was spectacular. 
   We saw lots of signs of spring life poking through the snow—flowering current, calypso orchids, blue dicks, snow queens, yellow and purple violets, larkspur, several varieties of yellow lomatium and trillium. Hikers watched clouds stunningly rise to reveal the green and purple hills of the Rogue Valley. 
   Following the scenic hike, hikers convened in the Greenspring Inn toasty warm yurt for a fabulous public lands video and talk by Dave Willis addressing the monument’s lands.

   -- Susan Roudebush, Friends of CSNM Boardmember


Public Process: Dialogue with BLM

BLM OPen House Hosted Community members to review and comment on Roads in the Monument. Images by Matt Witt © 2016     

BLM OPen House Hosted Community members to review and comment on Roads in the Monument. Images by Matt Witt © 2016     

On April 6, 2016, BLM held an Open House for the public to comment on its recently released Draft Transportation Management Plan and Environmental Assessment.  
     Approximately 80 people came and listened to introductory comments by Joel Brumm, Assistant Monument Manager. He described the four alternatives about how BLM could handle the management of roads within the Monument while also considering uses of trails, Pacific Crest Trail; trail maintenance, hunting, and snowmobiles. 
   Joel said, “Through this process we will try to find the right combination of road and trail systems to protect the monument features, accommodate resource management, and provide access for community and recreational uses."
     Participants spoke about their concerns and asked questions about the Transportation Plan at the various stations set up around the room. Each station displayed maps showing the 4 alternative proposals and suggested road treatments. Several longtime sport hunters who have hunted in a proposed closed road area were able to talk with Kathy Minor, one of the Transportation Plan’s planners.
     Information exchange between public and BLM is crucial to be considered before final decisions are made.   
     Lisa Rice, BLM Archeologists, showed historical and Native American objects collected in and around the Monument area. This exhibit highlights the historical importance of the Monument with current efforts to protect biodiversity.

    -- Terry Dickey, Friends of CSNM Board Chair

Hunter, resident and volunteer firefighter Mark Flotho writes about road closure in the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument Mail Tribune article (April 10, 2016) 

Fall-in-the-Field Inspires Care

Fall in the Field school group learns about Cascade Siskiyou National Monument biodiversity from SOU Environmental Education graduate student leader. T Dickey 2016 image.

Fall in the Field school group learns about Cascade Siskiyou National Monument biodiversity from SOU Environmental Education graduate student leader. T Dickey 2016 image.

Our thanks to our partners, SOU Environmental Education graduate student leaders who conduct Fall-in-the-Field environmental education programs at the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM)! See the photos and read their comprehensive Final Report of Fall-in-the-Field 2016.

Here's an excerpt, about the CSNM, from their Final Report:

    "By far the most popular site for Fall in the Field day programs, CSNM is a hotspot for biodiversity. This year, students explored the Monument like never before. Students engaged in “Nature CSI” to discover the truth behind several mysterious objects found on the Monument. They employed their observations skills as they hunted for the elusive habitats of Great Grey Owls, Douglas Squirrels, Western Fence Lizards and Bark Beetles. Students even discovered the overwhelming biodiversity on the Monument for themselves as they were challenged to see who could find the most species with a given amount of time. They were amazed by the fact that they own part of this rich public land and were inspired to care for it after learning what makes it so special. 
     The largest addition to the CSNM program this year was the idea of lesson choice for teachers. Teachers could choose between lessons on weather and climate, geology, or watersheds to best adapt the Program to what they were teaching in the classroom. This added an extra dimension to the experience by giving teachers a say in what they thought would be most valuable for their students."

--Excerpt from Fall in the Field 2015-16 Final Report

Fall-in-the-Field 2016-17 is open for registration. Teachers can sign up for programs at
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and two other sites.


DRAFT BLM Plans for Public Review

The BLM Medford District Office released the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Draft Transportation Management Plan (TMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for a 45-day comment on March 25th. The draft TMP/EA describes and analyzes four alternatives for future management of the monument transportation system. The final decision will be made only after consideration of the comments received. The decision maker may choose one of the alternatives or can select an alternative that blends components of one or more of the alternatives. 
     The planning process will address motorized/mechanized uses of the transportation system including off-highway vehicles, snowmobiles, bicycles, and non-motorized/non-mechanized uses including hiking and Nordic skiing. 
     According to Joel Brumm, Assistant Monument Manager, “Through this process we will try to find the right combination of road and trail systems to protect the monument features, accommodate resource management, and provide access for community and recreational uses."

For additional information, contact
Joel at (541) 618-2256 or

The public is encouraged to review the Draft TMP/EA and provide comments. To help people understand the alternatives, the BLM prepared a summary or Reader's Guide. Both documents are available on BLM's ePlanning website.
     An informational open house for the CSNM Draft Transportation Management Plan will be held at the

Bellview Grange
1050 Tolman Road, Ashland, OR
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m.

At the open house, the public will be able to discuss the proposed alternatives, talk to BLM resource specialists, and provide written input.

Making Sense About Roads

Assistant Monument Manager Responds to Closing Roads Inquiry

Dear Joel Brumm,
     Someone just told me that they heard on the TV News that the BLM is closing all of its roads in the Monument because it cannot afford to maintain them.
     What do you know????

                                        -- Barbara Ann

the draft Environmental Assessment will Be Released; followed by a public comment period of at least 45 days.

the draft Environmental Assessment will Be Released; followed by a public comment period of at least 45 days.

Dear Barbra Ann,

Well, like most good rumors, there is a kernel of truth buried deep there. We are in the midst of a transportation planning process for the Monument, and we are continuing with work that we identified in the 2008 Resource Management Plan as needing to be completed. Kathy Minor, myself, and several others went before the Jackson County Commissioners in early February to discuss this plan in advance of the draft Environmental Assessment that will be released for public comment on March 25, 2016.
     The BLM is NOT planning on closing all the roads in the Monument. We have one alternative, the one that proposes closing the most roads would close 164 miles of the 412 miles of roads currently in the Monument. As you can see, even this alternative leaves approximately 3/4 of the current Monument roads open. These are largely old logging network roads that are not needed under our Monument designation because we are no longer commercially harvesting timber. Major arterial roads such as Soda Mountain, Emigrant Creek, Jenny Creek, etc. will not be affected. We also are proposing, under one alternative, to close the gate on Skookum Road past the Soda Mountain Lookout road, which would hopefully help address the OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) trespass in the corridor between the power lines going down towards Agate Flats.
     We have very limited funding for road maintenance in the Monument, and that is one factor driving this process. We would prefer to use our limited road maintenance funds for important roads and not to maintain the maze of old logging roads, particularly north of Hwy 66. If left unmaintained, these roads will deteriorate, culverts will clog, roads will eventually wash out, and sediment will end up in the Monument aquatic systems causing significant deleterious impacts. 
     There was a news article about the briefing we had with the Jackson County Commissioners that generated a lot of interest. On March 25, we will release the draft Environmental Assessment followed by a public comment period of at least 45 days. I encourage anyone to comment on the plan.
     In summary, the BLM has no plans to close all the roads, but we also suspect the current transportation system is in excess of our needs going forwards as a National Monument. 
     Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

--Joel Brumm, Assistant Monument Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Medford, OR 97504

Soundscape in the Monument

Colin Malloy was awarded a 2015 Grant from the Friends Student Research Fund. He describes his work in the field, and now in the studio.

Colin Malloy, at Southern Oregon University. Artist provided photo.

Colin Malloy, at Southern Oregon University. Artist provided photo.

"I took several trips out to CSNM with a portable recording device and made field recordings of interesting sounds. This included wildlife, insects, myself walking over various terrain, the trees, etc. I also took photos along the way.
    "I am in the process of editing the sounds together to make a 3-channel soundscape. When it is played back, there are three sound sources. Stereo has two sounds sources (left and right); 5.1 surround has 5 sound sources. The soundscape will accompany the live performance.
     "I am creating the score and parts based on the photos I took. Some examples of this will be to transform the horizon or the shape of a path from a photo into a line that the performer interprets musically.
     "I have made the photos and recordings. Now I am working on the (slow) process of editing the soundscape and creating the scores. We are planning to workshop the piece in April [2016]. The premiere performance is planned is scheduled in May at SOAR, Southern Oregon University (SOU)."

                    --Colin Malloy, Masters of Music in Percussion Performance from SOU
First prize in the 2014 James P. and Shirley J. O’Brien Endowment Composition Competition hosted by University of Arizona.

A “Peak Experience” on Public Land

Light Show on Pilot Rock in Winter         © 2016 Matt Witt

Light Show on Pilot Rock in Winter         © 2016 Matt Witt

Shine a Light Pilot Rock 2016 © Matt Witt

Shine a Light
Pilot Rock
2016 © Matt Witt

Our public lands are a place to commune not just with nature but with each other.
     My son and daughter and I have been hiking together since they were old enough to sit in a pack, and backpacking together since they were in their early teens. 
     Because there is a Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, my son and I were able to celebrate the solstice season by snowshoeing around to the south side of Pilot Rock from Old Highway 99.
     The sunlight was filtering through clouds and fog, creating an ever-changing light show on the pristine new snow. Camera in hand, I waited for the clouds to drift into alignment to create this dramatic spotlight on the snow-covered peak.

     I had seen Pilot Rock many times from other vantage points and in other seasons, but never with this grandeur. It was a special treat to be able to share this “peak experience” with my son, and it redoubled our commitment to help protect and expand these sorts of opportunities for more people in America and around the world.

                             Photographer Matt Witt, has contributed photographs of the monument to publish in our Friends of CSNM newsletter, website, and blog during the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument's 15th anniversary year.