Apply Now: 2018 Teacher in the Monument

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Summer 2018 Opportunity

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is recruiting for a Teacher on Public Lands! Come learn about Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s unique resources and get credit for it!

The teacher selected will receive a stipend of $2,000 for completing 160 hours of service. The teacher will also receive 3 graduate credits, which can also be used as continuing education credits through the University of Colorado. All fees and tuition are covered by the Teachers on the Public Lands Program.

The teacher will complete a final project that includes development of curriculum-based learning activities relevant to both public land resources and the teaching needs of their school district or organization. 

Application period open now, until filled.
For more information about the program, contact

Christine Beekman
CSNM Interpretive Specialist

To learn more about Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, please visit our BLM website

Eeeek! Pikas in the Monument

Suphasiri Muttamara, SOU graduate student researcher was awarded 2017 Friends Research Fund grant.

Suphasiri Muttamara, SOU graduate student researcher was awarded 2017 Friends Research Fund grant.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of my favorite places on earth. Working there is a challenge, yet a bliss. I was conducting research for my project, Dialects of Pika in Southwestern Oregon. My study site, Vulture Rock, doesn’t have an accessible trail. I had to bush whack up hill while carrying my recording equipment that looked exactly like a satellite dish.

I liked to stop on a track for a moment to absorb the beauty of the forest. Whether an open spot where butterflies danced in the sun, amidst the Douglas firs; a field of golden chinquapin so dense you could walk on it; a carpet of sword fern; wild garlics, and bleeding hearts, or a magnificent talus slope—I loved them all.

Working with animals was unpredictable. Many times, I visited the site and didn’t get any data. Still, sitting there listening to the wind rushing through the trees and flute-like songs of Hermit thrushes made me feel it is worth the hour-long trek.

I will never forget the very first time I visited Vulture Rock by myself. I heard a pika call when I approached the slope. I was too slow and didn’t get the record, but I was optimistic and told myself the pika might call again. I found a comfy rock, readied the equipment, and waited. Nothing happened for 20 minutes. Then a pika popped up from a rock in front of me! It was so close that if I reached my hand out, I could have touched it. I didn’t expect to see a pika, not to mention it being so close to me.

I didn’t dare to move a muscle. It looked like a furry potato—tiny, brown and fuzzy. I could see the white rim around the ears, and its dark shiny eyes. The pika turned its back to me, so it didn’t notice me. I reached for my phone, hoping to get a picture. It turned back and our eyes met. It must be the most horrifying moment in the pika’s life.

It screamed “Eeeeeek”! Then it disappeared underneath the rock. It didn’t make any noise for the rest of the three hours I was there. I went home empty-handed, but very, very happy.

Suphasiri Muttamara
2017 Friends Research Fund grantee
Southern Oregon University, Environmental Education

Dialects of Pika (Ochotona princeps) in Southwestern Oregon
The distribution of pika (Ochotona princeps) populations in the Southwestern Oregon are poorly known and their range is highly fragmented. Recently, a population of pika was discovered on Vulture Rock which is now within the boundaries of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) due to the recent monument expansion. The purpose of the research is to study a distinct population of pika in the CSNM using call dialects. The study of calls will contribute to a better understanding of the connectedness of pika populations, and if the population in southwestern Oregon has geographic variation.

The results will be discussed at the 2018 Monument Research Symposium on March 15, 2018.

2018 Hike & Learn Coordinator

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

We welcome Heather Wilson to the Friends as our 2018 Hike & Learn Coordinator!

As the president of SOU’s Environmental Education Club and as a graduate student in SOU’s M.S. in Environmental Education, Heather Wilson has become quite familiar with organizing and hosting meetings and educational events.  February 10, Heather Wilson will join the Friends of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument as our 2018 Hike and Learn Coordinator. Her well-rounded experience in event coordination and educational planning yield an excellent match with our program’s needs.

Along with her Bachelor’s in Biology and minors in Spanish and math, she’s acquired some valuable and pertinent work experiences. Before coming to SOU, she worked for the Southern Oregon Land conservancy as an intern, aligning curriculum to state and national standards. She also interned with Rogue Valley Farm to School developing educational materials.  She served as an Interpretive Assistant at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and interned both at Mammoth Cave National Park as a Guide and at Reiman Gardens in plant collections and record-keeping.

With her excellent educational and experiential background and her delightful personality, we feel confident that Heather will develop a stellar hike and learn series for our Friends.  According to Heather, “I’m excited about this job. It makes good use of my organizational and communication skills, and I love to hike!.”


Antiquities 2018; Public Lands Immeasurable Quality

Senate Bill 2354 affirms support for national monuments; and veterans tell about the healing powers of public lands, specifically Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Senators Wyden, Merkley fight for national monument protections
Kobi5 News.  February 2, 2018
Senate Bill 2354:“America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018.” Senate Bill 2354 affirms support for existing national monuments established between 1996 and April 2017 under the 1906 Antiquities Act; and designating national monuments are valid and cannot be reduced except by an act of Congress. Use GovTrack to monitor this bill.

Opinion: Veterans depend on national monuments. Zinke should leave them alone
By Sean Davis.  Oregonlive / The Oregonian  February 9, 2018
Purple Heart recipient and Oregon resident tells how veterans “have relied on our national monuments and other protected public lands for peace, solitude, recreation and more. Our leaders should listen to those who fought for this country in defense of our fellow Americans' liberties. That includes keeping our monuments open and accessible to all.”

Opinion: Take it from a veteran, there's healing power in public land
Sharon Smith. Citizen Times / USA Today Network.  February 10, 2018
A USAF combat veteran tells about hiking with Warrior Expeditions and the benefits of how “our public lands improve the health and well-being of Americans, especially veterans.”

APPLY NOW: 2018 Artist-in-Residence for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was established because of its biodiversity.  See photos of the monument in the  BLM Oregon and Washington Flikr album .

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was established because of its biodiversity.  See photos of the monument in the BLM Oregon and Washington Flikr album.

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management Medford District Office is accepting applications through March 31 for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 2018 Artist-in-Residence program. The BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation as we pursue our multiple-use mission. Artwork created by program participants supports keeping America not only beautiful, but also strong. 

To apply, prospectives can download and complete the application. Applications must be received by March 31, 2018.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Artist-in-Residence Program is founded on the belief that artists look closely at the way the world works, notice things that others may have missed, challenge ideas and create in a variety of forms, and therefore can provide new ways to look at and appreciate public lands managed by the BLM.

The program provides artistic and educational opportunities that promote deeper understanding and dialogue about the natural, cultural and historic resources on public lands. It also offers writers, composers and visual and performing artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline amid inspiring landscapes. 

Artistic expertise, professionalism and creative uses of artistic media are encouraged. Selected artists receive a one- to two-week residency at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument facilities during the summer. During their stay, artists will share their work in a public presentation.

Participating artists are also asked to donate to the BLM the use of an original piece of artwork from their residency in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Monument staff are especially interested in artwork relevant to the BLM mission that can be used in exhibits and for educational purposes. In addition, artwork may be used by non-profit partners for items such as postcards, posters, and similar items. The artist will retain both the original artwork and the copyright.

To contact Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument program coordinator
Christine Beekman
Tel. 541-618-2320.

Read: The Difference Of A Year

Notable Reads
National monuments, including Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, remained one of the top stories about the environment in 2017. From Cascade-Siskiyou's expansion on January 12, 2017, through the Zinke review and his subsequent recommendation to shrink its size, each of these articles tell about the difference in policies and impacts upon the nation's landscape and heritage.
Poll: Vast Majority of Voters Oppose the US Department of Interior Secretary’s recommendation to remove the protected status of certain national monuments.

McLaughlin & Associates  11/28/2017

Trump Wrongly Slashed Monuments Making the Most Use of Public Lands
By Stephen Trimble, The Hill. 12/29/2017     
     “These 27 national monuments have become the core units of what we now call the National Conservation Lands System, acknowledged in a 2009 law as a permanent part of the public trust. Managers long focused on grazing and fossil fuel extraction have been asked to modernize and broaden the agency’s culture to include conservation and restoration.”

Interior revokes climate change and mitigation policies
By Elizabeth Shogren, High Country News. 01/4/2018
     “Just before Christmas, the Interior Department quietly rescinded an array of policies designed to elevate climate change and conservation in decisions on managing public lands, waters and wildlife. Order 3360, signed by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, explains that the policies were rescinded because they were “potential burdens” to energy development.”

National Monuments Protect Meaning Not Just Landscapes
By Jonathan Thompson, High Country News.  9/1/2017           
     “With the tug-of-war over its future status raging, the Bears Ears National Monument is a monument in name only — without a management plan, it’s not getting any more protection, just more visitors and impacts. Yet even there, the designation itself, and the vast amount of acreage it encompassed, acknowledged that the “significant” archaeological sites need the surrounding landscape, both cultural and natural, to give them meaning. Hacking up and shrinking the new monument would be done in blindness to this knowledge, and take us back to the myopic approach of a century ago. That is why the tribal nations that pushed for the original designation are prepared to fight any effort to shrink the new monument.

The Economic Importance of National Monuments to Communities
Headwaters Economics  8/2017
"This research and interactive charts show that the local economies adjacent to all 17 national monuments studied in the West expanded following the monument’s creation."

Fundraiser: For Monument with William Sullivan

“Our national monument--It’s public and it’s ours,” said fifth generation Oregonian and author William Sullivan at the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument annual fundraising dinner. While sharing the recent updates to his book, 100 Hikes / Travel Guides Southern Oregon & Northern California he urged protection for designated monuments from threats.

Friends' boadmember Susan Roudebush introduced William Sullivan by reading from his book, Listening for Coyote: A Walk Across Oregon’s Wilderness, selected in 2005 by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, as one of the 100 most significant books in Oregon.

“Man’s duty is to take care of the land where he lives. This is the essence of loving they neighbor—for God’s earth is our most cherished neighbor.” September 2 quote from Roger Murray about taking care of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. 

William proceeded to highlight his 30-year hiking Oregon trails story, illustrated by his slideshow. Featuring the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and southern Oregon, he showed the connected network of public lands and their natural treasures. He said, “We need to stiffen our resolve to care and protect all that Oregon stands for.”

We appreciate our donor / dinner guests who supported the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 2nd annual fundraiser.

Cheers to our Volunteers for the Fundraiser!
Chouse hosts Corey Ross and Greg Conaway for use of their home
Volunteer chefs: Board member Susan Roudebush and Kent Pressman
Mushrooms collected by board member Scot Loring and Michael Biggs
Music provided by students of music teacher Lauren Trolley

Many thanks to these business supporters!

Ashland Food Coop      Dagoba Chocolate      Dunbar Farm      Fred Meyer North
Market of Choice      Medford Food Coop      Rise-up Bakery      Safeway Ashland
Shop N Kart      Northwest Outdoor Store      REI

We thank you all for your continued support!

Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 


WChin 2017 photos

Community Outreach: Seniors

This fall we expanded our programming to reach more senior residents. The Rogue Valley is a hub for retirees. Some have moved recently and know little about the natural and cultural history of the region. Many others have lived here most of their lives and are still looking for new ways to connect with the world around them.

Last month, we partnered with The Springs of Anna Maria, a senior living community in Medford. We scheduled two events: an in house presentation, followed up the next week with a scenic drive through the monument.

The presentation introduced the 5 different ecoregions- the foundations for the diversity of life found in the monument. The following week, residents enjoyed driving through the gorgeous fall color and seeing firsthand the intertwining plant communities and scenic vistas. Throughout both events, cultural aspects and histories were shared. A favorite stop was at Tub Springs where bottles were filled, crisp clean water was enjoyed, and memories of days gone by were shared. 

There are many facets to Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. We would love to do more programs like this to educate those around us about the cultural, historic, and natural history of the region. If there is a resident or retired community you are involved in, feel free to reach out, we would love get them engaged!

Shannon Browne
Outreach Director
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

TDickey 2017 photos

Fall in the Field: Explore the Monument

Students in grades kindergarten through 12 traveled to the monument's Greensprings Loop Trail and the Hobart Bluff Trail. Along the way, they learned about the monument's biological diversity through hands-on activities developed by graduate students at Southern Oregon University's Masters in Science Environmental Education program. Fall in the Field is the capstone work of the graduate students.

"Thanks to SOU Fall in the Field program, kids from all over the Rogue Valley visited the monument since early September. Congratulations on a job very well done!" said Christine Beekman, BLM Interpretive Specialist.  

The year's Fall in the Field theme allowed students of various grade levels to explore interdependent relationships in ecosystems and to discover the unique biodiversity that makes the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument such a special place.

Nine classes (grades kindergarten - 2) explored and observed the range of habitats at the monument. They discovered how unique habitat influences species diversity.

Twenty-eight classes (grades 3 - 5) explored important interdependent relationships on the monument by solving Nature's Mysteries as they hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail. From dissecting speckled oak galls to becoming a pileated woodpecker, students were immersed in the monument's diverse life.

Four classes (grades 6-8) used data collection methods to discover how abiotic and biotic factors influence ecosystems. On one trail, they were able to identify 4 different ecosystems and examine how this influences the biodiversity at the monument.

Students (grades 9-12) used data collection methods to explore the issues of land-use debates and conservation of resources. In a role as a rancher, a wildlife biologist, or a forester, students were challenged to develop their own land ethic as they learned about biodiversity in the Cascade-Siskiyou bioregion.

We served a total of about 1,100 students plus teachers and chaperones during this year's Fall in the Field program!

Story by
Rebekah Campbell, Fall-in-the-Field  
SOU Environmental Education graduate student

Photos by Christine Beekman, BLM Medford Office

Hiking Through History with Dr. Jeff LaLande

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dr. Jeff LaLande, historian and US Forest Service archeologist, lead us on an exploration retracing the Applegate Trail through the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. We spent the day following historical markers and listening to stories from emigrants that rode the trail from the east to get to the Willamette Valley. ("The Applegate Trail, first laid out and used in 1846, was a southern alternative to the western-most segment of the Oregon Trail..." more by Jeff LaLande at Oregon Encyclopedia)

We started the morning at Pinehurst Inn, alongside Jenny Creek. This was not a stop along the original trail, but Jenny Creek was the location of the first of three wagon slides that emigrants using the trail had to navigate to get through the mountains and into the valley that would later become Ashland. We listened to pigmy nuthatches in the incense cedars overhead as Dr. LaLande read accounts of different travelers coming through this area, anticipating their destination after being on the trail for months.

Our next stop was Tub Springs where we actually found ourselves in some wagon ruts that might have actually been part of the original Applegate Trail. There is also an old wagon road here that was built in the 1860s as a route to the Klamath Basin. Tub Springs was very important to many emigrants as a source of fresh water for them and their livestock.

At Green Springs Summit, we looked out across Keen Creek where the third and final wagon slide was located, where the dam is now. Emigrants would use rope to slide their wagons down to Keen Creek and then they would use two teams of oxen to pull their wagons out of the valley. The trail then followed what is now Tyler Creek Road down to Emigrant Creek.

We loaded back up into our modern day wagons and turned onto Tyler Creek Road to follow the trail back into the valley. Along our way down the mountain, we stopped along the road to observe a yellow post. These markers were placed in 1976, as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration, to mark the historic Applegate Trail. During this commemoration, a group of individuals rode in wagons up the Applegate Trail from the Humboldt Valley to reenact an 1860s emigration. 

Our final stop was at Hill Dunn Cemetery, overlooking Emigrant Lake. Dr. LaLande read more accounts from travelers as they entered the valley. These pioneers described their first impressions of the valley as they spent their first night at the Mountain House, Hill House, or Walker House. The peace and resources of the valley were very welcoming to these, who had been traveling for months. 

Our hike came to a close as we listened to the emigrants' plans for the future and stories about what happened to them. What a great way to wrap up our Hike & Learn season, on a beautiful day, after enjoying our public lands.

Story and photos by
John Ward, Hike and Learn Coordinator

Restoring Biodiversity

September 22.
Hike Recap: Who Lives in the Creek with Chris Volpe and Tim Montfort

The Box O Ranch was acquired by the US Bureau of Land Management in 1995 as part of a land swap with a private property owner. The property was of interest because, among other reasons, it contained two stream miles of Jenny Creek. This special watershed has been monitored by the BLM since 1990 to keep track of its special ecology.

Jenny Creek is part of what is known as an upside down watershed. A typical watershed starts narrow with larger substrate consisting of pools and boulders near its source. As the watershed flows downward, combining with tributaries, the streams contain smaller substrates causing them to widen and flatten out. This is not the case with Jenny Creek’s watershed. In fact, just three river miles from its mouth on the Iron Gate Reservoir, Jenny Creek has a large series of falls that create a natural barrier. Any aquatic organisms spawned downstream of the falls have no way of making it above them. 

Because of all this, the Jenny Creek watershed is home to a number of aquatic species that are genetically distinct from similar species found in the wider Klamath and Rogue watersheds. We set out on the morning of September 23, 2017 to find some of these species and observe some of the restoration efforts at Box O Ranch. Guiding our exploration were aquatic ecologist Chris Volpe and hydrologist Tim Montfort, both of the BLM Medford district office..

Chris and Tim led us down to Box O parking area, from Copco Road, where we left our vehicles and hiked into the ranch. Our hike leaders were very familiar with the Box O, as it was one of the locations where Chris monitors species like the Jenny Creek sucker and Tim has restored habitat by planting trees and making changes to the landscape.

We spent the morning in the grassy valley looking at pictures from before the restoration efforts and being amazed at the amount of change that has occurred over such a short time. A large amount of effort has gone into replanting trees based on old photographs from before the valley was homesteaded; trees like white oak, Oregon ash, ponderosa pine, and willow.
Chris set up his backpack shocker and pulled some fish from the stream. This interesting device works by having a wire dangling into the water and then a wand with an anode on the end. This creates a current of electricity in the water, exciting the fishes’ muscles. The muscle twitching forces the fish to swim toward the anode where it gets a stronger amount of electricity and is stunned. The stunned fish are then scooped up with a net and counted to survey the number of fish in any given area of stream. On the day of our hike, Chris was able to pull some Jenny Creek suckers and some speckled dace from the stream for us to look at.

The Jenny Creek sucker is an isolated population of the Klamath small-scaled sucker, which is endemic to the Jenny Creek watershed above Jenny Creek Falls. This small bottom feeding fish is not its own subspecies, but is different from the larger population, primarily in size, due to the different it habitat it finds itself in above the falls.
Upon further examination, Chris realized that one of the dace had a parasite. Making a small field dissection, he freed the parasite from the small fish. The worm unfolded from the abdomen of the fish to an impressive length. Identified as Ligula intestinalis, this parasitic worm starts as an egg in the stomach of copepods on the stream bottom, where a small fish eats it. It then grows and bloats the small fish until it cannot swim well and begins to struggle near the surface of the water. This makes it easier to get eaten by a bird, such as a heron or kingfisher, which is the final host for the parasite.

We ate our lunch on a grassy bank, and then hiked down the creek enjoying the beautiful valley, discussing the future of Box O and Jenny Creek. We then made our way out along the old irrigation canals and back to our vehicles. 

Story and photos by
John Ward, Hike and Learn Coordinator

The McLoughlin Quad: Fundraising for a Cause

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feeling inspired by Michael's journey? You can create your own fundraiser on Facebook at Of course, you can always donate directly to the Friends at

Pyrodiversity Begets Biodiversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ranger Interns Highlight Interpretation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noteworthy Reads: A Monumental Conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tools for Our Outreach

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to Shannon! 

Three Visions of the Monument

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watercolor by Darlene Southworth 

Watercolor by Darlene Southworth 

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

Grizzly Peak Trail by Mabrie Ormes

Grizzly Peak Trail by Mabrie Ormes

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

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

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

In memoriam

Harriet in her studio, 2014.    WWC photo

Harriet in her studio, 2014.    WWC photo

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

Grizzly Peak Trail System OPEN -

BLM & OR Dept of Foresty Logos


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

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

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


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


Grizzly Peak Trail System CLOSED to Protect Public Health and Safety

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

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

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

See the full Emergency Closure Notification.

For additional information, please reach out to the

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

Noteworthy Reads: Protect Biodiversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scenic Vistas of the Monument Expansion with Dr. Michael Parker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gallery of photos by John Ward, except where noted.