Volunteer Profile - Daisy Moser

Daisy Moser at Vulcan Lake, Kalmiopsis Wilderness
Name: Daisy Moser
Age: 23

Born: Palmer, AK
Crew: June 2011, Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area
Hours on the trail: 85

Ashland, OR -- The backcountry was nothing new to Daisy Moser when she moved from Palmer, Alaska to Ashland, OR in 2009. But working in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area for a week would knock her socks off.

She'd heard about trips with the Siskiyou Mountain Club in 2010, and ended up on a week long trip in June 2011 with her friend Stefani Gissel, who had already signed up.

"It was a free backpacking trip where we got to be bad ass with no one looking," she said in an interview with SMC correspondents. "I learned a lot of team work skills, some technical skills. I'd never done that kind of work before. And I made some of my favorite memories."

Moser and her crew worked 7 nights on top a dusty ridge with views far as the Pacific Ocean. As worked progressed, every morning there was a longer commute into the work site. And every evening there was a longer commute back, through botanical areas where the Kalmiopsis leachiana was in full bloom. But Moser got more than an adventure out of the SMC.

Looking NE from Johnson Butte spike camp
"Awesome relationships, with everyone there -- people I'd never met. I discovered my potential as a human. I pushed myself for a noble cause, and that was cool."

Unfortunately, Moser won't be volunteering in the Kalmiopsis in 2012. She's working for a summer camp back home.

"It made me feel like everyday life was boring and that I could do more."

See ya in 2013, Daisy. We'll miss you on the trail.

Those interested in having a similar experience to Daisy's should visit www.siskiyoumountainclub.org, check out our 2012 trip details, and sign-up!

Upcoming Events

Sick of sitting around and waiting for summer to kick you into gear?

Get off your duff and join the Siskiyou Mountain Club for a Wilderness adventure.
Soda Mtn Wilderness Area
  • Saturday, June 2nd -- Come help scout the Lone Pine Trail in the Soda Mountain Wilderness near Ashland, OR. Come for the wildflowers, views of Mt. Shasta, Pilot Rock and access in the Soda Mountain Wilderness's remote depths. Meet at 8am at Ashland Shop N' Kart located at 2268 Ashland St, Ashland, OR. Plan on hiking 5-7 miles, wear sturdy shoes or boots, dress appropriate for weather conditions, and bring plenty of food and water. We should be back to Shop N' Kart by 4pm. Contact Gabe Howe, howegabe(a)gmail.com. 
Vulcan Lake
  • Friday, June 22 - June 30. Spend 8 days in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area working on the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route between Johnson Butte and Taggart's Bar. Spend much of your time in a world-renown botanical area and enjoy a day relaxing either on the Chetco River, Box Canyon or Vulcan Lake. Trip details, orientation, checklist and sign-up at www.siskiyoumountainclub.org.

5 reasons you should love the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area

Vast roadless areas of undisturbed habitat

Box Canyon Creek, tributary of Chetco River
  • It's a huge tract of undisturbed forest habitat. At 180,000-acres the Kalmiopsis is Oregon's 3rd largest federally designated Wilderness Area. It's the largest Wilderness Area in Oregon west of the Cascades.
  • Unmatched biodiversity. If it grows in the Pacific Northwest, it probably grows somewhere in the Kalmiopsis. 
  • Unparalleled natural history. The Kalmiopsis has been a refuge for life since well before the Pleistocene epoch. While the rest of Oregon's ecological library was being wiped clean by migrating glaciers, life in the Kalmiopsis was evolving. 
  • Wild Rivers. The Chetco, Illinois and North Fork Smith all originate or run through the Kalmiopsis. These rivers support native fish runs, provide clean drinking water for communities and knock-your-socks-off recreation opportunities. Rivers like the Chetco are known for their pristine clarity and enchanting effect. 
  • Modern History. From Lilla and John Leach who discovered many new plants in the area, to the 2002 Biscuit Fire, the Kalmiopsis has always been a fascinating component of Southern Oregon's history. 

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement has become a central component of the SMC's vision. At first, this was all about getting work done. I had encountered conditions in the forest which frustrated me, so I started doing something about it. But as I began taking more people into the woods to work, and seeing the transformation they went through, the SMC became about people, about providing an enriching experience for volunteers.

Southern Oregon University students at Babyfoot Lake after whoopin trail into shape
Volunteers don't just go home with new work skills and an authentic appreciation for public service. They go home with a graduated sense of confidence. For most of our volunteers, this is the most challenging experience of their life so far. On our hike back to the trailhead, after working for eight days at a time in the Wilderness, volunteers live the outcomes of their commitment.

They walk over a trail which they preserved without help from technology or mechanization, a trail that would have been lost, and that process becomes a metaphor. When they return home, many SMC volunteers -- as told by volunteer Matt Cortese -- start removing the brush and clutter of daily life, uncovering and revealing their own inner-path.

While I take pride in the fact that our outcomes can be measured by the mile, I take greater pride in the direct impact the SMC has on peoples' lives.

-Gabe Howe

1st annual volunteer night was success

SMC Co-Founders, Gabe Howe and Jill Stokes
The event started at about 6pm last Saturday, May 5. Guests started filtering through the doors of Southern Oregon University's Meese Art Auditorium. But they weren't there for the art; they were there to honor SMC volunteers, who over the last two years have put in over 2,000 hours of work to clear trails mostly in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area.

Attendees lingered around a silent auction while munching on goodies from La Tapatia Restaurant in Phoenix, OR and sipping on beer and wine from Shop N' Kart in Ashland. 

The presentation in the auditorium started with an introduction by SMC board member Zack Green, who is still waiting for an SMC trail-name.  

"In my opinion this was long overdue," he said. "This is the third year SMC volunteers have been working, and they deserve this." Then Zack got funny. "Yes, they do work hard, but anyone who will spend ten days in the backcountry with Gabe [SMC Field Coordinator] deserves some recognition."

Then Gabe Howe took the audience through an 8-minute Google Earth Tour of the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route. 

"Yeah, it's really fancy or whatever. But really I just wanted for people who haven't been out there to visualize the work we've done, and the work ahead of us," said Howe. "We're gonna clean it up and upload it to the web soon, so everyone can go into the Kalmiopsis." 

A Google Earth Tour is like watching someone use a flight simulator over satellite imagery, with customized notations. 

Matt Cortese gets a laugh out of himself
The tour was so authentic that it was described by retired Kalmiopsis Wilderness Ranger, Rene Casteran, as "effectively barf-bag inducing.".

"The highlight for me was the heart felt tale of the would-be photographer Matt Cortese," Rene commented. 

2011 SMC Volunteer Matt Cortese told a story about his 7-day experience last summer. The story was met with many laughs, and perhaps some cries, namely from Field Coordinator Gabe Howe.

"Next time, Gabe, I'm bringing my camera and stopping to take as many pictures as I'd like," Matt concluded in his speech. Gabe had asked Matthew to leave his camera because it was too heavy, but then requested that Matt carry an axe. 

After Matt's presentation, Howe offered the SMC Lifetime Partner award to George Brierty of the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest. The award goes to someone outside of the organization who has helped the SMC out a lot. Brierty has been behind and facilitating the SMC since 2009.

The Lifetime Volunteer Award went to SMC Volunteer and interim-Secretary, Jillian Stokes. She is also Howe's wife. "Nobody in this room has sacrificed as much as this person," Howe said before announcing the award. 

"We need to talk about this JHA change"
After wrapping up the presentation, the silent auction stayed open for another twenty-minutes. Winners received framed pictures taken by SMC volunteers, river trips with Momentum River Expeditions, Northwest Rafting Company and Indigo Creek outfitters, and gift baskets from Starbucks Coffee in Ashland. The auction fetched about $1600. 

"This wasn't about making money," said Howe, who is also SMC Co-Founder. "This was about breaking even and getting the word out, letting the community know what we've done, what we're doing, and where we're going." 

After the event, many headed to Emigrant Lake to camp out. But what happens around the campfire, stays around the campfire.