Ashland, OR, April 6, 2012 – The Siskiyou Mountain Club (SMC) will be hosting their 1st Annual Volunteer Appreciation Night on Saturday, May 5 at Southern Oregon University’s Meese Art Auditorium. Starting at 6 p.m., the SMC invites participants to enjoy appetizers, beverages and bid on a silent auction. At 7 p.m., the SMC will start a presentation that features a virtual tour through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area, volunteer stories and granting of two awards. At 8 p.m. coffee and sweets will be ready for those who would like to stay and mingle.
The Meese Art Auditorium is located at 1250 Siskiyou Blvd next to Indiana Street, and those planning to attend should RSVP on the sidebar at www.siskiyoumountainclub.org, or contact Gabe Howe at 503 545 4911 or howegabe(a)gmail.
|Chetco River along the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route|
The 2002 Biscuit Fire left much of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area’s 153-mile trail system impassable and dangerous. Over 2010 and 2011, SMC volunteers contributed over 2,000 hours clearing 21-miles of a 28-mile continuous route through the Kalmiopsis.
They work from remote camps for up to 10 days at a time on a system of trails coined the “Trans-Kalmiopsis Route.” Access to the route is from the Babyfoot Lake Trailhead west of Cave Junction, OR and the Vulcan Lake Trailhead east of Brookings, OR. The route represents the only current access into the upper reaches of the Chetco River, Oregon’s largest unimpeded waterway renowned for its pristine clarity and record sized salmon. The SMC plans on finishing the route this summer, which will mark the 10 year anniversary of the Biscuit Fire, the largest wildfire in Oregon’s history.
“I’m just excited to get out there in the community and show people what we’ve done and what we’re doing,” says Howe, the SMC’s co-Founder and President. “We work on some of America’s most damaged trails and in Oregon’s most remote, rugged wilderness. While it’s slow going, our work is very real. We want to get the word out and give a night to the volunteers.”
He says the work is slow because chainsaws and other mechanized equipment aren’t allowed in Wilderness Areas. Howe and his volunteers cut through thousands of downed trees with crosscut saws, axes, and other hand tools. But that doesn’t bother him. “I love crosscuts, at least when they’re sharp. There are only a handful of people in Oregon who still know how to condition and file them.”
|The original SMC crew at Babyfoot Lake Trailhead.|
Formed in 2010, the SMC is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission it is to promote, enhance and maintain primitive outdoor destinations in the Siskiyou backcountry. They coordinate stewardship projects, publish field guides and outdoor literature, and lead active outdoor adventures for the public.
Those interested in the SMC should go to their website, www.siskiyoumountainclub.org. There users can view a 2012 calendar of events, sign up for work parties, and view digital maps of the SMC’s progress in the Kalmiopsis.