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:

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 Braithwaite (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 Braithwaite, 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


Rocks, Owls, Student Research

Friends Research Funds provided grants during 2016 to student researchers:  Here are selections from their journal entries about their field work in the Monument.

Invasive Barred Owl and the Native and Threatened Great Gray Owl
by Emily Burke, SOU Environmental Education
Faculty: Dr. Stewart Janes, SOU Biology

During my time assessing the potential for competition between the invasive barred owl and the native and threatened great gray owl in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, I spent the majority of my research hours in the monument at night, calling and listening for owls. Prior to this project, I had spent a fair bit of daylight time in the monument, witnessing it mostly through sight, but researching owls in the CSNM allowed me to experience it in a completely novel way, a way that most people probably don’t experience the monument; the sweeping vistas of the day give way at night to common poor-wills whistling rhythmically, the wings of bats skirting my cheeks, and tree frogs chorusing in unison. And occasionally, the eight-note call of a barred owl winding through the midnight firs.


Geology in the Field
By Kieran McCann, University of Oregon
Faculty: Dr. Jad D'Allura, SOU professor of geology (retired)

This summer working in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was an extremely rewarding experience that gave me insight into the day to day life of a working field geologist. Going back to the basics of geology and getting my nose on the rocks reminded me of why I chose this science in the first place. I was able to make my own interpretations and put my knowledge to the test in an applied setting. Though definitely challenging physically and puzzling geologically, this opportunity has solidified many lessons I learned in the classroom and trained me in many invaluable skills I can use in my future career.

One of the most challenging locations in our field area was Agate Flat because it is so isolated and had only one access road. We had to be especially aware of timing and water supplies because of the high summer heat. Despite the difficulties associated with reaching this area, it proved to be the most rewarding when tackling the geology. The remoteness and stillness of the area really allows one to appreciate the monument in its rawest form.



Defend Monument Action

The expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument continues to draw legal actions. Lawsuits challenging the Monument expansion have been filed by the Western Oregon counties and the timber industry.

Listen to the discussion by Dave Willis from the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center discuss the issue. Show your support to Oregon Wild, the Wilderness Society, the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and others for their actions to protect the Monument.

Keep on top of the pertinent details by reading our synopsis.

February 16, 2017 Oregon Courthouse News: Counties Fight Monument Expansion

February 27, 2017. Mark Freeman / Medford Mail Tribune: Environmental groups to defend monument expansion

March 14, 2017. Brandi Buchman / Courthouse News Service: Timber Industry Says Cascade-Siskiyou Protections Threaten Loggers

March 15, 2017. Conrad Wilson / Oregon Public Broadcasting: Judge rules groups can intervene in Cascade-Siskiyou lawsuit


Monument Science Symposium

Charles Schelz, an ecologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, hosts the fifth Monument Science Symposium*.

Emily Burke, SOU ornithology student, presents her research findings on the habitats of native and invasive owls.

University of Oregon geology students Kieran McCann and Martin Harris and SOU student Kendra Madaras-Kelly discuss their work mapping geological faults, contacts between the Western and High Cascades, and geohydrology of the Jenny Creek area.

BLM biologist Chris Volpe gives the status of the Jenny Creek sucker, an isolated population in the eastern part of the monument.

Scot Loring gives a brief summary of Friends 2016 Bioblitz: Fungi, and Michael Parker, chairman of the SOU Biology Department, will update attendees on how the monument expansion increases research opportunities for students and professionals.

If you go: Get the Free Parking Code to park on SOU Campus.

*Formerly titled Community Science Forum. This event is sponsored by Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Seeking Artists In Residency in the Monument

2017 is the first year Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) is participating in the Bureau of Land Management Artist In Residence (AiR) program. AiR provides artistic and educational opportunities that promote deeper understanding and dialogue about the natural, cultural, and historic resources on public lands. They can provide new ways to look at and appreciate public lands managed by the BLM.

Seeking Visual Artists only. Artistic expertise, professionalism, and creative uses of artistic media are encouraged. Selected artists receive a one to two-week residency at CSNM facilities during the summer. Professional visual artists only may apply in the pilot year 2017. Painters, photographers, printmakers, illustrators and graphic artists will be given equal consideration.

Other requirements of the residency include the artist donation to the BLM the use of of an original piece of artwork from their residency in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. During their stay, artists share their vision in one 45-minute public presentation. Read all details in the application.

Completed Applications Due By: March 31, 2017.
Download Application and details.

Contact Cascade-Siskiyou AiR program coordinator:
Email: Christine Beekman, BLM
Tel: 541-618-2320. 

The Artist-in Residence in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument drew national media attention after a tweet from former President Clinton.

Winter Clues in Snow Tracks

Are you getting cabin fever? Have you spent enough time in the valley this winter and are ready for a change? Your monument is waiting for you and winter is a perfect time to visit! Whether it is a scenic drive, a snowshoe hike or a cross-country ski, the quiet months of winter can be a perfect escape. Many days the air in the valley gets trapped by an inverted cloud layer and produce grey, dreary skies. A short drive up to the monument can reveal a completely different day with blue skies and warmer temperatures.

 A Great Grey Owl snow plunge. 

A Great Grey Owl snow plunge. 

Winter in the monument usually means there is a layer (or two) of snow. Animal tracks in the snow can read like pages in a book, telling the story of the comings and goings of critters found in the monument. Look closely for signs of some of our more common winter residents including snowshoe hare, coyote, chipmunks and squirrels.

While looking for tracks and other signs of animal activity, be sure to keep your eyes open to one of the more spectacular events that reveal itself in snow. The Great Grey Owl, the largest owl by length, is a year-round resident of the monument. In its search for prey, it can use its keen sense of hearing to detect movement of a rodent that can be more than 2 feet under snow. As it dives from the sky into the snow, it leaves behind what is called a “plunge hole”. To the casual observer a plunge hole might look nothing more than a messy ditch but it is much more than that. The straight-down portion of the hole is often accompanied by the imprints of the owl’s wings, giving it more of a batman appearance in the snow. If you find yourself looking onto a plunge hole, you can marvel at this creature and wonder if it was successful in getting its meal!

By Christine Beekman, Interpretive Specialist
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Photos courtesy of BLM.

 A snowshoe hare bound pattern. The hind feet are at the top and the fronts are at the bottom. 

A snowshoe hare bound pattern. The hind feet are at the top and the fronts are at the bottom. 

Meet Ecologist Charles Shelz

Charles Schelz, BLM Ecologist, has worked throughout the West for 30 years. A botanist and ecologist, he has worked primarily for the National Park Service and Forest Service. He has been an instructor at San Francisco State University; and a consultant with The Nature Conservancy and other private and public organizations. His primary interests include ecological condition and change, research, restoration, and collaboration.      

 Charles Schelz  Photo by WChin

Charles Schelz  Photo by WChin

As the ecologist at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Charlie Schelz will be involved in the inventory and monitoring of the biodiversity. He will work closely with a wide variety of groups, students, youth, and researchers; surveying, and developing studies that help us understand species composition, and ecological structure and function, or how all the pieces work together. He will use this information to better manage the monument for biodiversity, and to accomplish this through collaboration with a diverse array of local, national, and international groups.

Contact: Charles Schelz, Ecologist, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
3040 Biddle Road, Medford, Oregon  97504   Tel. 541.618.2244


Fast Facts: Monument Expansion

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was expanded on January 12, 2017. Here is an excerpt from the BLM Fact Sheet and FAQs.  

 Pilot Rock, CSNM BLM Photo by Bob Wick

Pilot Rock, CSNM BLM Photo by Bob Wick

Fast Facts
• Original monument is approximately 65,000 acres in southwestern Oregon
• Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
• Expansion is approximately 42,000 acres in Oregon and 5,000 acres over the border in California

What is the effect of the President’s proclamation? The President’s proclamation expands Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and the expansion is comprised entirely of existing federal lands.

How does the expansion impact public access, including vehicle use? The expansion allows for public access, including hunting and fishing, which will continue to be managed by the State of Oregon and the State of California.

What lands does the expansion add to the monument?  The expansion of the monument includes areas identified for their ecological contribution to the purposes for which the original monument was established, including the Horseshoe Ranch and Jenny Creek areas in Siskiyou County, California; the upper Jenny Creek Watershed; the Grizzly Peak area; Lost Lake; the Rogue Valley foothills; the Southern Cascades area, including Moon Prairie and Hoxie Creek, all in Jackson County, Oregon; and some of the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain, including Old Baldy and Tunnel Creek wetland in Klamath County, Oregon. Together, these areas represent approximately 48,000 acres of public lands – 42,349 in Oregon, and 5,275 in California.

By Christine Beekman, Interpretive Specialist, Cascade-Sisskiyou National Monument

BLM updates about Monument Expansion are linked on the Expansion page of Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument website.

Recap: Hike & Learn 2016 Season

“It was so enjoyable just being out in the woods” --Hike & Learn participant

As the days grow longer, sunrise also comes earlier each day in the Rogue Valley. Pink, orange, and lavender light illuminates Grizzly Peak from the Valley floor, a daily reminder that our Monument has been expanded and can now be seen from our local hamlets of Ashland and Talent. The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument now encompasses 50,000 additional acres of beautiful scenery and protected safe zones for wildlife. With additions such as Horseshoe Ranch, the Jenny Creek watershed, Grizzly Peak, Lost Lake, and the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain, it is undeniable that Monument supporters will be seeking out opportunities to explore and learn about the natural history of these places in the coming months.

 Hikers hug a ponderosa pine tree on the Lone Pilot Trail. K Boehlnein photo

Hikers hug a ponderosa pine tree on the Lone Pilot Trail. K Boehlnein photo

Luckily, the Friends have begun gearing up for another exciting Hike and Learn season starting in May, events that are certain to highlight new additions as well as visit old favorites. The Hike and Learn series has been the Friends’ most prominent ongoing education program over the past five years, offering citizens in our region opportunities to learn about the Monument from local experts and experience its biodiversity first-hand.

The 2016 Hike and Learn season followed a similar structure to previous years’: two-day monthly educational events that focus on a natural history or art topic. Participants attend a Friday evening informational workshop which then leads seamlessly into an immersive Saturday hike in the Monument. Last year’s line-up featured geologist Jad D’Allura, botanist Doug Kendig, aquatic ecologist and expert bushwhacker Michael Parker, artist-writers Mary Silva and Katie Boehnlein, poet-ornithologist Pepper Trail, and photographer David Lorenz-Winston.

There was overwhelming support for these programs, with 96 individuals attending over six different weekends. A large majority of participants who filled out an evaluation said they had an “excellent” time and that the experience had been an incentive to learn more about biodiversity. This incentive is demonstrated by our participant numbers as well; 24 participants came back to more than one Hike and Learn program throughout the season.

Participants’ favorite aspect of the 2016 Hike and Learn programs was the expertise of the leaders to guide participants toward new learning, piquing interest in natural history topics or artistic endeavors. One commented that “the science was so delightfully explained” and that “the leader’s passion for the Monument is inspiring.” Others mentioned that the time in nature was invaluable. “It was wonderful to go to a place I had never been,” one participant said, as did others who were appreciative for the opportunity to get familiar with the Monument and spend time with a friendly, inquisitive group of fellow hikers. The need for educational events like ours is even more pertinent this year, given the Monument’s expansion and political opposition to President Obama’s recent proclamation. The Hike and Learn program gives people opportunities to see biodiversity first-hand and learn from experts about the importance of conservation.

Though snow still covers much of the Monument’s now 100,000+ acres, longer and warmer days are approaching. The Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are excited to offer another full season of engaging and inspiring Hike and Learn programs in 2017. Stay tuned for an announcement on our full line-up in April.

Text and photos by Katie Boehnlein, Hike & Learn 2016 Coordinator

A Win for Biodiversity!

Today is a momentous day for our region. We are thrilled to announce that the Obama Administration moved forward with expanding Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

So many of you, our supporters, as well as other invested organizations including the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and KS Wild have worked tirelessly to advocate for an expanded Monument. This expansion will ensure the region's unparalleled biodiversity remains intact, especially with the threat of climate change. 

The expansion is an additional 48,000 acres, 5,000 of which are in the Siskiyou County of California. Both of Oregon’s US Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as Oregon Governor Kate Brown, strongly supported the Monument expansion.

Take a moment to give them a heartfelt thanks for ensuring the continued protection of biodiversity in Southern Oregon.

Thank our elected officials including President Obama, Senators Merkley and Wyden, and Governor Kate Brown.