07 DECEMBER 2018 | RED BUTTES WILDERNESS, OR. —

Dear Friends,

As winter solstice nears, I don’t have as many hours in the day to look out. I wake up early, and the long nights leave the start of my days dark, so I find myself looking in and reflecting.

And I’ll tell you what: It was one hell of a year in the Siskiyou backwoods.

We take care of 500,000+ acres of Federal Wilderness
Look, I have a laundry list of successes my board and staff has brought on this past year, but I had a greater realization in 2018 about our place in the community. We do a lot more than rebuild entire trail configurations and groom the most amazing leaders.

We care for the lands we work in in a way no other entity does. By putting our boots on the ground, saws into logs, and pulaskis into the dirt throughout those 300 miles of trails, we are buying into the 500,000+ acres of backcountry they traverse.

We actively protect these places and the American experience people draw from there, and we’re not doing it with online petitions, Facebook likes, or expensive attorneys. We’re doing it with hard work, and we’re doing it for everyone.

Whether you are hunting by horse in the Sky Lakes or mountain biking in the Grayback Range; whether you are snowshoeing on the precipice of the Siskiyou range, running cross country in the Kalmiopsis, or fishing on the Wild Rogue; we have a powerful and positive presence in these places that is not moved by politics or trends.

photo by Deputy Field Director Trevor Meyer

No administration, no funder, no stakeholder could keep us from our mission (just ask, some have tried). We work unwaveringly. We work hard. We work long, and through that a positive current broadcasts into our region’s wildest backcountry.

Budget growth, diversity
Numbers do not lie. Our budget has increased 52% from this time last year, and our revenues are still diverse. 57% of our revenue has come from our partners at the Rogue River-Siskiyou, Klamath, and Six Rivers national forests. And the rest has come from you, the community, as well as the Oregon Community Foundation and National Forest Foundation.

It’s always been my intention to grow our revenues in harmony, never relying too heavily on any one funding channel. I’m as proud of our revenue diversity as I am the growth it reflects. So far we’ve raised over $350,000 this year.

Board build out
The SMC board is a dynamic one. Each board chair has left a strong legacy, setting the next one up for success. This year Tami Kelly took over as our Chairwoman, and she’s joined by a committed group that shows up each month.

✓ Board Chair, Tami Kelly
✓ Board Treasurer, Douglas Kendig
✓ Board Secretary, Dave Brennan
✓ Board Director, Dave Eye
✓ Board Director, Ryan Ghelfi
✓ Board Director, Mac Jefferson
✓ Board Advisor (non-voting), Paul Fattig

They do their homework. They have earnest discussions and make strong decisions, and they do it efficiently. They do it all for free, and they set my staff team and me up for success.

Strengthening our staff team
Last spring my field director, Aaron Babcock, and I had a tough conversation about our work load and the question of viability. We determined we had to hire more permanent staff if we were going to continue on trajectory without burning out. So we hired two deputies:

✓ Deputy Director, Karolyn White
✓ Deputy Field Director, Trevor Meyer

We’re by no means a traditional organization, and Trevor and Karolyn were by no means traditional hires. They just graduated college and don’t have a whole lot of experience at this level.

But they came with talent, passion, and proven work ethic, and ultimately that’s why we groomed them into these positions.

180 miles restored or maintained
Our footprint has grown to nearly 300 miles of trails we pledge to maintain on a minimum three year rotation.

Thank you
We are guided by our mission, and we are driven by the community. Thank you all so much for your support this year, in years previous, and in years to come.

Long live the backwoods trails.

Sincerely,

Gabriel Howe
Executive Director


Comments

comments