2020 is nearly over, and I think we are all looking forward to 2021 and for life to return to something like normal soon. I know we’re all looking forward to a time when we can have social gatherings and be able to go about our lives without face masks and hand sanitizer at the ready wherever we go. One of the silver linings about this year has been that more people have been discovering the trails close to home and have been spending more time outdoors enjoying them.

I have some trail news to share as the year draws to a close. The Jack-Ash Phase II Environmental Assessment and final decision document are still pending completion. We expect a few changes from the trail segments presented in the EA, but the final project will still have around 20 miles of new trails on Anderson Butte with new loops and connections between existing sections of the Jack-Ash and Sterling Mine Ditch Trails. We’re coordinating with BLM to try to push this to completion and get out to start building new trails by spring.  We will be looking for crew members at that point and will be looking for qualified candidates.

SUTA also applied for and will be awarded a Title II grant for weed-whacking and additional brush clearing for the entire Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and Jack-Ash Trail system. We’ll receive nearly $20,000 for one year of maintenance. The weed-whacking will be done in late spring/early summer of 2021. We were able to complete weed-whacking on 20 miles of the trails this year and those miles of trails are in great shape heading into the winter. We’ve received lots of positive comments about the sections that were ‘whacked’ and are hoping to be able to continue to raise funds to perform this work annually. The Title II grant is especially welcome since we’ve been unable to hold our regular work parties so far this season due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

We will also have an easement filed in the next few weeks that will allow the future Jack-Ash Trail to connect to Sterling Creek Road. Duane Mallams, our trail design master, has worked diligently with the property owners to complete details for this trail segment and he is anticipating getting out to move some dirt and start building the trail. This easement will get us much closer to connecting to the East Applegate Ridge Trail.

Its been great to see so many people using the trails, and I hope you all continue to get out and enjoy spending time hiking, riding, and running in all seasons. We also welcome your continued support for SUTA’s efforts to maintain and expand the trails.

The below request is still relevant, please comment if you have experience concerns for public safety around the Anderson Butte area.
Thank you.

We are passing on the information below about an Environmental Assessment that BLM released on Friday announcing the release and request for public comments on an EA for closing target shooting areas on Anderson Butte. SUTA has identified the target shooting areas that affect the Jack-Ash trail in particular as serious public safety concerns. We have also heard from many trail users about instances where the shooting has caused them to end their hikes and avoid sections of the trail because of it. This is the chance for the public to weigh in on this issue and let BLM know that we would like to have the shooting areas closed and patrolled more frequently to prevent continuing use and stop these unsafe activities.

The process for providing comments is described in the Ashland Field Office email.  SEE the information and LINK below.   Comments are due by 4:30 PM January 11th,  2021.  
> > > USE THIS QUICK LINK:  https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/123432/595 to place your comments under “Participate Now”

We urge you to review the EA and provide your comments to address this very serious issue.

Thank you,

Joy Rogalla

SUTA

The Ashland Field Office, Medford District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is requesting public comments on the Anderson Butte Safety Project Environmental Assessment (EA). The Anderson Butte Safety Project is located on BLM-administered lands southeast of Medford, Oregon, east of Sterling Creek Road and northwest of Little Applegate Road, in Jackson County, Oregon.

Attached is the public notification letter for the open comment period. The EA is available to review and can be accessed electronically on the BLM’s National ePlanning register at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/123432/510 or by searching ePlanning by the project number: DOI-BLM-ORWA-M060-2019-0005-EA. Paper copies are also available upon request.

Please direct EA requests, comments, or questions to Tye Morgan, Ashland Planning and Environmental Specialist by mailing the BLM, Attn: Tye Morgan, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford, Oregon 97504; by calling (541) 618-2229; or through email at: BLM_OR_AFO_anderson_butte_sp@blm.gov (Subject: Anderson Butte Safety Project).  You may also submit comments via BLM’s ePlanning register on the project’s website using the “Participate Now” tab, or in the Documents section of the webpage.
> > > USE THIS QUICK LINK:  https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/123432/595

For comments to be considered before the final decision on the proposal, please submit them by 4:30 p.m. on January 11th, 2020. 

Please note: Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. AUTHORITY: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2, 43 CFR 1610.5

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