Volunteer Profile – Austin Kasner

Volunteer Profile – Austin Kasner

Austin Kasner in Soda Mtn Wilderness Area

Name: Austin Kasner
Age: 22
Crew: Wrecking Crew, August 18 – 26 2012, Kalmiopsis Wilderness
Total hours on the trail: 100

Ashland, OR — Before this summer, SOU senior Austin Kasner had never stepped foot in a congressionally designated Wilderness Area.

But in May he got his feet wet with a day-long work trip in the Soda Mountain Wilderness Area with the SMC.

“That day was invigorating, and it sparked my interest,” Kasner said in an interview. A day in the Soda wasn’t enough, though. “I wanted the chance to break my routine and change lifestyles.”

So he signed up for an 8-night stewardship trip in the Kalmiopsis. He spent nine days working through brush and downed logs on Upper Chetco River Trail No 1102 between Slide Creek and Taggart’s Bar. By the end of day one, it dawned on Kasner how far away he was from civilization.

“But after the first day, I was really comfortable. The leaders knew exactly where they were, they were so familiar with the area,” he said, but he admits the work was tough.

Before the attack of Kasner and his crew

After a couple of days of heavy trail work, Kasner moved ahead of the group to inspect conditions. It didn’t take long until he encountered a 700 ft section of trail completely filled with brush and fire-killed knobcone pine. “I didn’t think there was any way we were getting through that.”

But the next day Kasner and his crew punched through the section, one log at a time, over 150 in total. “I was really impressed by our work,” Kasner said. The next day the crew had to relax, and Kasner had the chance to explore the Chetco River and Babyfoot Creek. 


“It was cleaner and clearer than any
river I’ve ever been to,” Kasner noted. Camping at Slide Creek was a highlight for him. “The Chetco brought us back to life at night.”

Over the next couple of days, Kasner focused on keeping morale up and getting work done. With his help, the Wrecking Crew was the first in at least a decade to work this section of trail.

“I learned how strong I was mentally. I found myself a little more involved, a little more part of the Siskiyou Mountain Club.”