As 2011 draws to a close we thought it appropriate to take a moment and bring you all up-to-date on what’s happening at the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association. This has been a momentous year for SUTA – with many huge steps forward in getting a community trail system. So for starters thank you to all of you who have given of your time, enthusiasm, money, energy and hard work to make all of this happen. We now have about 20 miles of trail to be extremely proud of and more importantly – to enjoy. You made this happen so thank you.
We have many ambitious plans for 2012. To give you a short taste – we will be re-opening the Wolf Gap access trail over the winter thanks to our Title II grant. The local crew from Black Oak Forest Restoration will be helping SUTA clearing this trail. Considering this will be the first trail maintenance in several decades, their chainsaw and tread work skills will be greatly appreciated. Once they have done the heavy lifting, SUTA volunteers will come in and finish up. If you have never hiked this trail – you are in for a treat. Fabulous views, highly varied landscapes and it will create a wonderful loop for hikers and equestrians. Due to the switchbacks and nature of this trail, this will be our only access trail NOT open to bicycles. Sorry bicyclists but not only will you not want to ride it due to rocks and sharp turns, it will be too dangerous if you meet anyone else while flying downhill out of control. But we have other great plans in store for the bicycle community and everyone else.
Sometime over the winter we will be starting to post guides to the possible hikes, horseback rides, bicycle rides, runs on both the Sterling Mine Ditch and the future Jack-Ash trail. Our vision is for each user group we will offer a selection of possibilities. So under each user group “tab” we will have one pagers you can print out and take into the field on a 1 mile, 2 mile, 5 mile, 10 mile or 25 mile loop, with a map, directions, key features of the hike and maybe even a photo or two. We will build up a whole set of these over time using all of the many loops already possible on BLM roads and existing trails. So keep you eyes open for that. Anyone who would like to help creating these, please get in touch with me. We would love help and it promises to be great fun.
Speaking of help, you will be hearing from Jim Reiland (Our SUTA Work-Party Champion) about 5 opportunities starting in late January to get out and take a wonderful hike on a section of the Sterling Mine Ditch, get fabulous exercise, contribute to keeping the trail in great shape, meet wonderful people and have great fun and food at the same time. Who could ask for more? I hope we see all of you for these work events as our volunteer efforts on our trails will be critical to keeping trails open.
Another fun 2012 event will be our history night for the Sterling Mine Ditch where you can hear and share stories about the long history of the Sterling Mine Ditch trail. Our hope is to record this and use the information for writing up interpretative signs for the ditch and maybe a history brochure. Stay tuned for details of the event in either late January or early February 2012.
And as for that great holiday present idea – instead of tearing your hair out about what to buy for a friend or loved one, give a gift in their name to SUTA! (PO Box 901, Jacksonville, OR 97530 – we’re tax deductible!) We’ll send them and you a big thank you from all of us at SUTA. Your donations will help pay for some of SUTA’s wish list such as much needed user signs, motorcycle barriers, future environmental studies for the Jack-Ash trail, expert chainsaw work when the huge trees fall across the trail and other additions to improve your trail system.
Although there is much more to tell, this year end letter is already too long! With that, thank you all again for helping make this trail system happen for the entire community. I hope to see you all out having fun on the trails in 2012!