This is the first in a three-part series to an outdoor summer guide. In this first installment, you’ll get to know some of the nonprofits that get you out in nature and teach about the region. Part two will feature guided outfitter trips in the region. Part three will feature the top backpacking trips in the region.
It is so cold out right now. Sure, the snow is incredible this year. But if you’re like me, you may already be thinking about your spring and even your summer plans to get out in the woods.
As a place-based conservation advocacy organization, KS Wild works with dozens of community groups to advance protections of public lands, clean water and special places. You can join us for a hike or event focused on conservation of this region, or find other outings that fit your interests.
We also value our partnerships with the many fantastic organizations that get folks out in the woods, restore our public forests and watersheds, and educate the public about this special region. As you decide what to do, I encourage you to check out the offerings of these great organizations:
• Siskiyou Field Institute: Learn about the phenomenal diversity of life in the Siskiyou region with this premier field-based education organization. They bring in the top minds and the most fascinating researchers to teach students young and mature about the wonders of the Klamath-Siskiyou. Their facility near Selma, Oregon, could not be set in a better location to see the real wonders of this region. For those interested in Hollywood Westerns, the facility was once John Wayne’s old ranch! Check out the 2017 field-based natural history classes at www.thesfi.org.
• Lomakatsi Restoration Project: Get your boots dirty with this group and help restore forests and streams. Lomakatsi has been around for more than 20 years helping restore public and private lands from past abuses. They employ an ecologically trained workforce that includes local tribal members. KS Wild sees Lomakatsi as a model for on-the-ground restoration work and social justice in action. Through their thinning work they are also showing how we can restore our forests and provide a timber by-product without clear-cutting, herbicides, and the impacts on wildlife that marked past industrial timber management. You can learn more about their education programs at www.lomakatsi.org.
• Siskiyou Upland Trails Association: Just to the west of Ashland, the Applegate Valley is home to small family farms, wineries and a host of recreation opportunities on public land. SUTA and their sister organization, the Applegate Trails Association, are leading an effort to maintain and build new multi-use trails. The trail system will ultimately connect Ashland to Grants Pass on a ridgetop trail! You can volunteer at www.sutaoregon.org
• Coyote Trails: If you or your kids are interested in learning about primitive life skills, Coyote Trails (www.coyotetrails.org) is worth checking out. This organization also hosts workshops for the public on many subjects related to wilderness living, and KS Wild is partnering soon with them on a wildlife tracking workshop.
• Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (www.cascadesiskiyou.org): This group leads some of the best, closest hikes to Ashland in the newly expanded Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. KS Wild often partners with the Friends to get folks out in the monument on hikes, biodiversity surveys, and stewardship projects.
• Siskiyou Mountain Club (www.siskiyoumountainclub.org): Get your hands calloused and some miles under your belt with this organization. SMC works in several local wilderness areas and in some of our most scenic and wild public lands. They also offer internships with college students and partner with federal land managers to ensure that the trails on our public lands are not lost. With the shrinking federal workforce, these types of partnerships will be more important than ever. This is a real wilderness trail group that is taking on management of many wildland trails.
— Joseph Vaile is executive director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild, 541-488-5789, www.kswild.org). His Wild Side column appears every three weeks.