2017: Fires still ravaging trails throughout Southwest Oregon
15 SEPTEMBER 2017 | BROOKINGS,ORE. — With large fires still burning throughout Southwest Oregon and Northwest California, come fall we will be at the forefront of ensuring our backwoods trails aren’t lost.
The gift that keeps giving
Wildfires wreak havoc on trails for decades after they’re declared out. A few years after a fire, dead trees start to fall. That fallout usually peaks in about 10 years. Downed logs form impenetrable stacks and grow into slash piles that stretch for miles. Brush explodes and trails disappear.
With each day, more fire killed trees will fall on the trails we take care of. More brush fields will emerge from fertile ashes. We’ve got an uphill battle.
Almost everywhere we work will sustain long term trail damage from the 2017 fire season. From the Siskiyou Wilderness, to the Sky Lakes, the trails we work will be hit hard.
Chetco Bar Fire courtesy Inciweb
“We were just getting ahead in the Kalmiopsis,” says Aaron Babcock, SMC field coordinator. “The Chetco Bar Fire will have a long-term impact on our work there.”
The Miller Complex and Eclipse complexes hit the Red Buttes and Siskiyou Wilderness Areas, and the High Cascades Complex hammered the Sky Lakes.
Giving a place a voice
People are the lifeblood of our National Forests. Trails are the arteries through which they hike, ride, hunt, backpack, fish, explore, discover and play. By the time a trail starts to fade underneath years of post-fire destruction without maintenance, the fire has become old news, and any funding associated with its recovery has long dried up.
“Pretty soon the community’s connection to the trail dries up, too,” says Gabe Howe, executive director for SMC. “The place loses its voice and its story. When a trail disappears to fire damage, a legacy is lost.”
Photo by 2017 intern Trevor Meyer
We put staff, interns, and volunteers to work saving trails, and have over 216 miles of trails we steward. This year we’ve setup a fund restricted for use on trails negatively impacted by fire, and you can give.
This year, we setup a fund restricted for use on trails that have been negatively impacted by fire. Learn more and give to the fund now. ###