Twelve miles of Sky Lakes Wilderness Area trails are open for foot and hoof traffic this fall thanks to an annual volunteer work party that saws out or removes trees that fall on the trails each winter.
Armed with two-person crosscut saws, members of the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association spent July 27 clearing the Tom and Jerry and Mudjekeewis trails.
The Tom and Jerry Trail provides access to the northern end of the Sky Lakes Wilderness and leads to numerous meadows, small streams and rock formations in the McKie vicinity. The Mudjekeewis Trail provides views of the Middle Fork Canyon, which is more than 3,000 feet deep.
Chapter members have been clearing trails annually for more than 15 years.
The groups, aided by a pack horse, were able to cut or move 51 trees from the trails, chapter member Pete Johann says.
"That's more than we've ever had," Johann says. "Most were in the first mile and a half. When we were in there, we thought, 'What are we getting ourselves into?' "
Johann says many of the trailside trees likely were weakened after a wildfire burned in the area six years ago.
Chapter members typically clear those trails each July after snow levels recede. The trails were snow-free this year, Johann says.
The Rogue Valley Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will hold its fourth annual fundraising banquet and auction Saturday in Medford to raise money to build more hen-house nesting structures and fund other programs it undertakes in the region.
The doors to the Ramada Convention Center near Food 4 Less will open at 5 p.m., with the dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by an evening of live and silent auctions and raffles.
The banquet is the major fundraiser for the chapter, and 25 percent of the money raised there will remain local for projects here. The rest goes to the parent Delta Waterfowl, which has main offices in North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.
The main local Delta Waterfowl project is the ongoing construction and maintenance of wood duck "hen house" nesting structures at the Denman Wildlife Area.
The local chapter began six years ago and now sports 276 members within a 150-mile radius of Medford, says chapter President Steve DeBerry.
Single tickets cost $55, and couples can get in for $80. Youth tickets are available for $40. An eight-person table can be bought for $440.
All tickets come with a one-year membership to Delta Waterfowl.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.deltawaterfowl.org or by calling DeBerry at 541-973-9250. Tickets also will be available at the door.
An Outdoors Notebook item on Aug. 2 incorrectly listed the cost for a full hookup RV site at Oregon State Parks should a proposed fee increase go into effect in 2014.
The full hookups would cost $28 per night under the proposal.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or email@example.com.