What the heck's out there?
If you ever wanted to learn more about the trees, lakes, plants, animals and mountains in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, now you can do it. In fact, you can do it this weekend, if you're not already booked up.
A new series of interpretive programs kicked off this month in the monument east of Ashland, giving people the opportunity to learn more about the area through guided hikes, evening talks and Junior Explorer programs.
The Bureau of Land Management hired three student interns through the Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to research, develop and conduct the programs, said Christine M. Beekman, interpretive specialist for the monument who works out of the Medford District BLM office. "They are also staffing the monument's information station, located in the parking lot of the Green Springs Inn, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day."
At 10 a.m. Friday, July 14, a ranger-guided walk, part of a “Meet the Trees of the Monument" series, was scheduled on the easy Greensprings Mountain Loop Trail for about a 1-mile hike to a viewpoint.
The Summer Interpretive Ranger Programs are free and open to public, and will continue at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day weekend, Beekman said.
The guided hikes cover different areas of the monument, while the Junior Explorer and evening programs take place at the beach at Hyatt Lake campground.
The schedule is updated every two weeks, Beekman said, and the best way to view upcoming programs is through the Friends website at www.cascadesiskiyou.org/calendar-of-events
Upcoming programs include:
Friday, July 14, 2 p.m.: “Habitats of Hobart Bluff,” a guided, 3-mile roundtrip hike to learn about how and why plant/animal communities change so drastically in such a short walk. Meet at Hobart Bluff trailhead.
Friday, July 14, 8 p.m.: Evening program, “When Mountains Meet, Biodiversity Blooms,” a close look at the unique geologic history of Oregon and what makes CSNM special. Meet at Hyatt Lake beach at the day-use area (bring your own chair).
Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m.: Junior Explorer program, “Plant Diversity Discovery,” 1.5-hour program where kids will play games, go on a scavenger hunt and more; suitable for 9- to 12-year-olds, but is open to all ages.
Saturday, July 15, 2 p.m.: "Trees of the Monument," ranger-guided tour of the trees found along the 2-mile trek up to Pilot Rock. During this moderate to difficult hike, see how the Great Basin encroaches on parts of this conifer forest.
Saturday, July 15, 8 p.m.: Evening program, “The Monument’s Mountains and Springs,” learn about the monument’s geologic and hydrologic history; meet at the beach at Hyatt Lake.
Sunday, July 16, 10 a.m.: Junior Explorer program, “Fire in the Forest,” youth and their parent/guardian can join a ranger at Hyatt Lake beach to learn about trees, animals and their special adaptations to cope with forest fires. Participants will become fire-ecology investigators and play a forest fire-themed game.
Sunday, July 16, 2 p.m.: “Habitats of Hobart Bluff,” ranger-guided, 3-mile roundtrip hike to learn about plant and animal communities. Meet at Hobart Bluff trailhead.
Friday, July 21, 10 a.m.: "Trees of the Monument," ranger-guided, 1-mile walk on the easy Greensprings Mountain Loop Trail.
Friday, July 21, 2 p.m.: “Putting the Puzzle Together,” a guided, natural history exploration of CSNM that showcases biodiversity. Meet at Hobart Bluff trailhead for a 1.5-hour moderate hike.
Friday, July 21, 8 p.m.: Evening program, “Creatures of the Night,” 45-minute program about the bats of CSNM; meet at the beach at Hyatt Lake.
Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m.: “Who calls Hyatt Lake home?” Junior Explorer program, meet at the Hyatt Lake beach anytime from 10 a.m. to noon to learn about the fish and cool critters that live in the lake. Includes a craft project.
Saturday, July 22, 8 p.m.: Evening program, “When Mountains Meet, Biodiversity Blooms,” a look at the geologic history of Oregon and what makes the monument special. Meet at Hyatt Lake beach and bring your own chair.
Sunday, July 23, 10 a.m.: Junior Explorer program, “Plant Diversity Discovery,” a 1.5-hour program with games, a scavenger hunt and more. The program is most suitable for 9- to 12-year-olds, but is open to all ages.
Sunday, July 23, 2 p.m.: “Hands-on Herpetology Hike,” a 1.5-mile walk at the Grizzly Peak trailhead to learn about the reptiles and amphibians of the CSNM.