Spring 2024 Stewardship Update

This is an iteration of a monthly stewardship report delivered to our partners from executive director Gabriel Howe. 

Greetings stakeholders and partners, 

Our crews got to an early start this year, with volunteers on the lower end of the Butte Fork and Illinois River trails supported by our stewardship coordinator, Alex Relph, who I want to acknowledge.

Often working behind the scenes, Alex does a lot more than operate our volunteer trips. She's responsible for hiring and onboarding Corps interns, logistics, and providing our operations a great level of support. She's a full time student and has already coordinated 650+ hours of work completed by community volunteers. Alex is onto her 5th season with us and she adds a lot of strength to our outfit.


Relph on the Illinois River Trail with volunteers


More on Relph and her colleagues' 2024 accomplishments, but first the numbers year-to-date:  

Volunteer hours: 651

Miles Maintained: 26.90

Miles Restored/Improved: 1.25


Current field staffing

  • 2 program managers
  • 3 assistant crew leaders
  • 1 stewardship coordinator


Assistant crew leader Tiffani Ayres returns for her fourth season.


Did you know? 

Fire crews use trails all the time. It might be a Siskiyou Rappel crew who uses a trail for egress or a hand crew who uses a recently-maintained trail for access into an ignition. Our forests are more resilient landscapes with robust trail systems. 


Head start

We were able to get an earlier start this year because of longterm support from our partners at the Forest Service and because we're able to offer free housing for staff. I'm confident this will position us for an even more successful season with stronger skills and leadership in place earlier in the season than any previous. 


Our crew of field staff in May, 2024. From left: program manager Karly White, assistant crew leaders Gabe Smith, Megan Mollman, and Leah Doeden, program manager Nick Hodges. 


We are planning now for 2025 and 2026. We have master cost-share agreements that cover Oregon and northwest California and are familiar with the process. Please reach out at your convenience to explore opportunities.


Spring '24: Focus on community trails

In March, we started onboarding assistant crew leaders, starting Wilderness First Aid and Forest Service saw courses/evaluations. They maintained 15.5 miles of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail with Gold Beach Field Ranger Steve DicIcco and restored around 1.5 miles of the Portuguese Creek Trail in the Klamath National Forest. Thanks to Alicia Green and Adam Liedl for their support there. The crew worked through piled jackstraws, plenty of large-diameter blowdown, and thick brush. Those projects were funded by agreements with the Rogue River-Siskiyou and Klamath national forests. 

Program manager Nick Hodges cuts a log on the Rogue River National Recreation Trail


Further down the trail 

As the season marches on, we will continue onboarding field staff before our interns arrive June 2 and June 26. The crews will start with projects across the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, our longest-standing forest partner, and move on to the Marble Mountain Wilderness and the Badger Creek Wilderness with our newest forest partner, the Mt. Hood National Forest. We will wrap up our Corps season with a project in the Sky Lakes Wilderness in cooperation with the Pacific Crest Trail Association. This season, we are also partnering with the Sourdough Chapter of the BCHA who are helping haul supplies. 


Crew members on the Illinois River Trail


Quick turnaround on funding could help restore 30-mile route

Recreation managers at the Rogue River-Siskiyou Nat'l Forest were successful in securing Burned Area Response (BAR, not BAER) funding for a section of the Illinois River National Recreation Trail left in disrepair by the 2023 Flat Fire. The quick turnaround on that funding was a coordination between Lance Sargent in recreation, Lana Cruz in agreements, and many more. Thanks to that effort, we plan to dispatch a 8-10 person crew there in June. Before the Flat Fire, the entire 30-mile route was passable, and we hope to have it that way again by July 3. 


Saw program takes flight

We have been successful in coordinating our first community saw trainings through the Forest Service partner saw program. With the program in place, we hope to secure funding so we can coordinate regular saw courses for the community as well as partners and SMC volunteers. If you are interested in opportunities to certify yourself or your crew, please contact our saw program coordinator at trevor@siskiyoumountainclub.org


Trainees attend the field portion of SMC's crosscut saw program


Quick links: 


Thank you for your support and long live the backwoods trails. 


Gabe Howe

Executive Director

Siskiyou Mountain Club

p: 541-708-2056 | c:503-545-4911

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