FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05 SEPTEMBER 2016
Contact: Gabriel Howe
130 A Street #2B, Ashland, OR 97520
SISKIYOU MOUNTAIN CLUB CREWS RESTORE AND MAINTAIN 129 MILES OF TRAILS, ON COURSE TO TURN SOUTHWEST OREGON INTO “NATIONAL HIKING AND BACKPACKING DESTINATION”
05 SEPTEMBER 2016 | ASHLAND, Ore. — Siskiyou Mountain Club volunteers, interns and staff have restored 63.87 miles and maintained 64.8 miles of trails so far in 2016. The Club maintained a growing portfolio of adopted trail systems, including a wilderness section of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Wild Rogue Loop, the Lower Rogue River Trail, and the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route.
Heavy restoration took place on trails in Oregon Caves National Monument, and Red Buttes, Siskiyou, Kalmiopsis, and Sky Lakes Wilderness Areas. Get the whole stewardship report and review the Club’s 2016 work log at www.siskiyoumountainclub.org/worklog.
The bulk of Siskiyou Mountain Club’s work is performed by an in-house crew of college interns. They work for 10 days at a time from their backpacks on self-supported trips deep in the wilderness. Interns receive a per-diem and tuition reimbursement, and the Club recruits some interns to fill staff positions.
Eliasa Collins, a 2016 intern who is now transitioning into an hourly field position, says she’s excited to be moving forward with the Club. “I want to finish what I started,” she says. The interns’ work is complemented by volunteers from the community, who have worked over 1,800 hours so far this year.
“Eliasa and her crew mates are turning Southwest Oregon into a national hiking and backpacking destination,” says executive director Gabriel Howe. He mentions indicators like Google searches show the area is seeing a renaissance in hiking and backpacking. “And we’re not reinventing wheels or playing politics. We’re just working hard and staying focused on our mission.”
Brian Long of Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest confirms growing interest in the area’s trails. “I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people who are excited that the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route is once again open for public enjoyment,” he says. Long, a program manager for multiple ranger districts, has been coordinating with the Club since 2010. “It’s due entirely to the strong partnership between the Forest and Siskiyou Mountain Club,” he adds.
Howe mentions the promotional side of things starts at home. “A lot of hikers in the Rogue Valley don’t realize what’s right around the corner,” he mentions. “They’re staying very, very close or going really, really far.”
Field Coordinator Aaron Babcock says the work season is still full on. “We have a big project in the Kalmiopsis to complete,” he says. “Plus loose ends to tie up.” Babcock estimates he and his staff will restore and maintain another 20 miles of trails before the year ends.
Funding for 2016 projects have been provided by The Ford Family Foundation, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Herbert P. Templeton Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Medford REI, National Forest Foundation, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians Foundation, and over 300 contributing members.
“We’ve seen a real change in the Forest Service’s priorities since we started in 2010,” adds Howe. “They’re putting up major resources for backcountry trails and the Rogue-Siskiyou is our strongest partner.” ###