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Mt. Ashland drops plans for summer activities

Plans to add disc golf, ziplines, a climbing wall, bungee trampoline jumping and other summer activities have been set aside at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

The nonprofit operation proposed the features last year but decided the expense of a Forest Service-required environmental analysis was too much to take on.

Meanwhile, ski area General Manager Hiram Towle has taken other steps to encourage visitors to the mountain during the off-season.

One of his first moves last summer was to remove the “closed” board across the Mt. Ashland Ski Area sign at the bottom of the access road.

“It confused people,” said Towle. He wants to let people know they can use the area, which is in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, even though skiing operations are shut down.

“There are wildflowers on the slopes,” said Towle. “It has some of the best views in Southern Oregon. Plus it can be 20 degrees cooler with a breeze.”

Towle ultimately would like to provide vandal-resistant restroom facilities. The area opens restrooms in the rental shop while crews are on the mountain Mondays through Thursdays.

An informal trail that follows the Falstaff run leads to the top of the mountain. It’s not marked, but Towle will work with the Forest Service on that possibility.

Those who can’t hike to the top can reach the summit via a dirt road on the west side of the mountain off Forest Road 20. It’s the highest point in the Siskiyou Mountains.

The lodge can be rented for weddings, reunions, parties and meetings. Rides on the Sonnet lift can be included in rentals. In addition, several race events end at the mountain in the parking lot or on the summit. Mountain bikers start their descents into town from the parking lot. To protect fragile soils, bikes are not allowed on the ski runs.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.