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Updates on threats to the Klamath-Siskyou region, and what you can do to help.

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While there are appropriate places for ORV recreation, high elevation flower meadows and popular hiking trails are not those places.

The Rogue River/Siskiyou National Forest’s Boundary Trail offers an epic ridgeline experience in a botanically wondrous roadless area. Unfortunately, this unique backcountry trail is threatened by Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use and the noise and ecological damage that follow suit.

The 15-mile Boundary Trail connects Tannen Mountain, just west of the Red Buttes Wilderness, to Grayback Mountain, a defining peak of the northern arm of the Siskiyou Crest. The Boundary Trail straddles the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. The trail criss-crosses the ridge between the Illinois and Applegate Valleys, offering spectacular views of the maze of jumbled mountains that define southern Oregon and northern California.

The Boundary Trail is a recreational paradise within the 100,000-acre Kangaroo Roadless Area, which is proposed as an addition to the Red Buttes Wilderness. On the north end are glorious wildflower meadows, an historic cabin and the monumental peak of Grayback. On the south end are the marvels of the Red Buttes Wilderness, with complex geology, and mountain lakes tucked into forested folds. To the west is the Oregon Caves National Monument and the flower-laden Bigelow Lakes.  From anywhere on the trail one can discover rare plants and climb peaks that are mostly unseen from any road to soak in expansive views of the Illinois, Applegate and Klamath River drainages.

ORVs on The Boundary Trail?

Currently all National Forests are undergoing a “Travel Management Planning” process whereby each forest determines which roads remain open to motorized recreation and which will be closed. The Boundary Trail is currently being considered as a designated route for ORV use.

While thousands of acres of existing roads are appropriate for motorized recreation, high elevation hiking trails with exceptional botanical diversity are not. In addition, motorized recreation can cause conflicts with non-motorized recreationalists and can create safety hazards for hikers and horseback riders.

This is an important time for the Forest Service to hear from you that the Boundary Trail should be closed to motorized recreation. Please take a few moments to write a letter advocating for non-motorized recreation on the popular Boundary Trail.

Send letters to:

Steve Johnson, ID Team Leader
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, c/o Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District
Travel Management Planning
645 Washington Street
Ashland, Oregon 97520-1402
Email – srjohnson@fs.fed.us

Talking Points

The Boundary Trail should be closed to motorized recreation because:

1. An exponential increase in OHV use on public lands is resulting in a growing degradation of public resources.

2. The Boundary Trail is an inappropriate place for motorized recreation given the unique botanical communities and meadow habitat that exist along the trail.

3. The Boundary Trail is located within the Kangaroo Inventoried Roadless Area, and at the headwaters of the Applegate and Illinois Rivers, both major tributaries of the Rogue.  ORV use can damage aquatic resources.

4. Motorized recreation on the Boundary Trail would create safety hazards with numerous other users, such as hikers and horseback riders.


SAMPLE LETTER

To:  Steve Johnson, ID Team Leader
       Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
       c/o Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District
       Travel Management Planning
       645 Washington Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520-1402

Re: OHVs and the Boundary Trail

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I am writing to express my concern about the potential designation of the Boundary Trail on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest as a route for Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs). The Boundary Trail is located in an ecologically rich area and is a popular trail for non-motorized recreation, and therefore should be closed to motorized recreation.

An exponential increase in OHV use on public lands is resulting in a growing degradation of public resources. During a March 13, 2008 U.S. Congressional hearing on the impacts of unmanaged ORVs on Federal land, retired USFS employee Jack Gregory testified that, “Our public lands are in serious trouble. Irresponsible offroading has become such a menace that it is now the single greatest threat to American landscapes.”

While thousands of acres of existing roads are appropriate for motorized recreation, high elevation hiking trails with exceptional botanical diversity are not. In addition, motorized recreation can cause conflicts with non-motorized recreationalists and create safety hazards for hikers, backpackers and horseback riders.

The Boundary Trail is an inappropriate place for motorized recreation given the unique botanical communities and meadow habitat that exist along the trail. Allowing ORVs on this trail would directly conflict with current public use of these areas and create public safety hazards. Please designate the Boundary Trail off-limits to ORVs.

Sincerely,