GO HERE: The Rare, the Beautiful and Threatened Klamath-Siskiyou Region
Yes, this ecoregion is a wondrous place. So much so that the international Union for the Conservation of Nature has named it an Area of Global Botanical Significance and it is proposed as a World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Yet in spite of this recognition, there are still encroachments to clean water, biodiversity, forest health, and climate resiliency. Here are a couple of nearby public lands that are uniquely beautiful, but also under threat:
The Westside Project, Grider Creek Watershed: Natural fire is key to diversity here for millennia— yet recently, we have suppressed natural forest fires and now witness even further harm to our ecosystems through salvage logging. Massive logging of large trees in the Klamath National Forest is stripping the forest of valuable nutrients, causing erosion on steep slopes, and destruction of a major wildlife corridor. Hike the PTC out of Seiad valley to get high views of this area.
Mining Threats in the South Kalmiopsis: Smith River headwaters: After repeated threats of internationally-backed companies wanting to strip mine in the headwaters of the pristine Smith River, a movement has been born to protect it. As the struggle continues on, you can still experience the ecstasy of swimming in the pure waters of the North Fork Smith out of Gasquet.
A silver-lining opportunity for protection: expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Two weeks ago, a massive turn-out of supporters urged Senator Jeff Merkley and represenatives from the Department of Interior to support the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument based on the recommendations of local scientists who recognize this spot as an outstanding place for biodiversity and as a climate change species refuge. Hike Pilot Rock, and let’s keep our fingers crossed!