FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SMC CREWS RESTORE 26-MILE TRAIL NETWORK THROUGH THE KALMIOPSIS WILDERNESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SMC CREWS RESTORE 26-MILE TRAIL NETWORK THROUGH THE KALMIOPSIS WILDERNESS

Contact: Gabe Howe
Tel: 541-708-2056
Email: howegabe(a)gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SMC CREWS RESTORE LAST SECTIONS OF 26-MILE TRAIL NETWORK IN KALMIOPSIS WILDERNESS AREA

3 SEPTEMBER 2014

Crew

SMC crews have after five years restored the last impassable sections of the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route.

In 2010 a small group of volunteers set out to clear a 26-mile network of eight trails in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness that were disappearing from 2002 Biscuit Fire damage. They coined the 26-mile “thru” route the “Trans-Kalmiopsis Route.” For the first time since they set out on the project, the entire route is clear and passable for hikers.

Over five seasons SMC volunteer and paid crews have cut over 2,300 downed logs from the connection, and clipped out miles of thick brush that was filling trail sections into the point they were not visible or passable. Volunteers and paid crews have aggregated over 6,200 hours of labor in the 180,000-acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area.

“We had it punched through earlier this summer, but now we’re busy bringing it to standard. The crew is out out there cleaning up brush and cutting the last logs from the route, a couple of really big ones,” says executive director Gabe Howe. “And we have signs to hang where people are getting lost.”

Workers use vintage crosscut saws from before WWII. They camp out for multiple weeks, at least a day’s hike from the nearest trailhead. The crew receives stipend pay as well as a scholarship for college after completing the summer program. They are supplied by volunteers who pack supplies and food into them.

Support for the project has been provided by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon State Recreational Trails Program, Carpenter Foundation, Mazamas, Josephine Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association, Fourway Community Foundation, Plum Creek Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association, Herbert A. Templeton Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation Parks Fund, and many members of the community.

“They thought they were going to finish it in one year,” says Al Collinet, a longtime supporter of Brookings, OR.

“I knew we’d get ahead of the fire damage. I just didn’t know it would take this long,” says Howe. “It is a very, very tough hike. But you won’t run into walls of brush and windthrow.”

The Siskiyou Mountain Club will publish a blogpost on their website September 4 with detailed route instructions for hikers who want to hike the route.

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