The 100,000-acre Kangaroo Roadless Area is named after Kangaroo Mountain, pictured here near the Red Buttes.
A primary goal for the Siskiyou Crest Campaign is preservation of its wilderness qualities through permanent protection via a National Monument or other vehicle. Unprotected wilderness in this area surround the 20,230-acre Red Buttes Wilderness Area and span east toward the Cascade Mountain Range. This critical core habitat is the heart of the Siskiyou Crest, while adjacent roadless corridors are integral to the many species utilizing the area.
Five sizeable Inventoried Roadless Areas are located in the Siskiyou Land Bridge: the 100,000 acre Kangaroo, the 20,000 acre Condrey Mountain, the 12,000 acre McDonald Peak, the 10,000 acre Kinney, and the 8,000 acre Little Grayback. Broadly defined, these road free lands combine to form a 1-million acre web of high quality habitat in this critical wildlife area.
Forests and Flora
The diverse forests of the Siskiyou Crest include ancient groves of mixed conifer that contrast with rugged pine forests typical of the unique geology of the Siskiyou Mountains. Diverse true fir forests are home to many endemic and relict trees. Over 20 conifer species are found on the mountainous slopes of the Siskiyou Crest. There are occurrences of common Cascade species unusual for the Siskiyous, such as Engelmann spruce, Pacific silver fir, Alaska yellow cedar, supalpine fir, and quaking aspen. Klamath-Siskiyou endemic, Weeping or Brewer's spruce, reaches its eastern range limit in the Condrey Mountain Roadless Area. The largest grove in Oregon of Baker cypress, a fire dependent species, is found in the Kangaroo Roadless Area.
In addition to the exceptional tree diversity, numerous rare and unique plant species are associated with the Siskiyou Crest. Applegate gooseberry, a narrow endemic that grows only on the slopes of the Applegate Valley, is one example. Forests to meadows to rocky outcrops in over a dozen recognized special botanical areas provide varied habitats for rare and endemic plant species.
The Siskiyou Crest is a travel conduit for wide-ranging mammals. Wolverine, marten, lynx, fisher, mountain lion, bear, and elk currently inhabit or have been recently sighted in the area. The area also provides home range and connectivity habitat for the gray wolf, grizzly bear and pronghorn sheep, mammals that are currently extirpated from the Klamath-Siskiyous. The Siskiyou Mountain Salamander lives only on the slopes of these mountains. The cool, clear waters flowing from the crest into the Rogue, Klamath, Applegate, and Illinois basins are a refuge for endangered wild salmon.
Pacific fisher (Martes pennanti) and other carnivores require large tracts of land to forage and reproduce.
Public lands timber sales threaten the biological integrity of the area. These sales and projects like the proposed Ski Ashland expansion would create wildlife migration barriers, simplify forest structure and exacerbate severe fire risk.
Road building to access timber is a past and continuing threat. Interstate 5 is a known barrier to wildlife migration between the Cascades and the Coastal Mountains.
Ancient incense cedars marked for cut in a 240-acre private inholding in the middle of the 20,000-acre Condrey Mountain Roadless Area
Private land logging activities, predominately clear-cutting, on in-holdings owned by industrial timber companies is common within and adjacent to the Siskiyou Crest. Oregon's forest practices act does not adequately protect the region's natural wonders.
Cattle grazing occurs in virtually the entire area and many meadows are severely overgrazed. Continuance of this activity at the current level will continue to degrade fish habitat, compact soils, alter plant communities, push rare plants to the brink of extinction, despoil clean water and degrade recreational experiences. Cattle trespass has been a serious problem in several areas, such as Bigelow Lakes botanical area, which is frequently invaded by a grazing allotment from the other side of the crest.
Off Road Vehicle (ORV) use is heavy and destructive in some areas, particularly high meadow habitats. Many rare and sensitive plant and wildlife species are affected, and ORV enthusiasts are now pressuring the Forest Service to open more trails to motorized use. One of these, the Boundary Trail, is on the Siskiyou Crest proper in the Kangaroo roadless area.
KS Wild's Strategies
In addition to our work to eliminate the threats to the land bridge, we propose permanent protection for the public lands on the Siskiyou Crest via a National Monument or other similar vehicles.
Low impact fire hazard reduction, and fire reintroduction are some of the restoration activities that need to take place. The Forest Service and BLM should actively decommission many non-essential roads within the Siskiyou Crest. These activities would put many local people to work in the woods. We are also exploring ways and means to cross Interstate-5.
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