We hope you all enjoyed many hours hiking or riding on trails this summer. It certainly was a fabulous summer here for getting outdoors! We have several pieces of news to share with all of you.
New Trails on the Horizon:
The next set of new SUTA-proposed trails is being studied by the Medford BLM. We are anticipating that an environmental assessment (EA) will be released this fall – with construction beginning as soon after the approval is granted this winter or early next spring. Duane Mallams (the mastermind behind the Jack-Ash and East Art Trails) and members of the SUTA board have cooked up a great set of new trails that we hope to build over the next several years. Here are some of the board checking out a future route and hoping our ankles survive the hike!
The EA will include more of the northern part of the Jack-Ash Trail (heading towards Jacksonville) and some fabulous new loop trails between the Jack-Ash and Sterling Mine Ditch trails.
You will all be notified when the EA is released for public comment as we would love for BLM to hear support from the local community about these new trails. To give you a flavor or where these new trails would be, if approved – one would take off from the Wolf Gap access trail and cross into a spectacular meadow with absolutely stunning views of the Applegate Valley and Siskiyous, ultimately dropping down and connecting with the Sterling Mine Ditch trail. This will create about a five mile loop and will probably be the first trail we would construct once BLM gives us a green light. Here is a shot of one of the views from an exploratory hike last December!
Another of the multiple proposals we submitted is to extend the Jack-Ash Trail north from Griffin Lane, creating a connection with the East Art Trail and heading north from there. The final leg of the connection to Jacksonville awaits some kind souls to grant us several more easements across private property. But between a private easement and BLM lands, we are getting close to Poorman Creek Road at this point – but not quite there.
Once the EA is complete and we have a green light from BLM, we will no doubt have a work party to kick off the construction of one of these new trails. We’re very excited. Also, we will be hiring a trail crew again whenever the BLM approval process is complete so if you are interested in working on a SUTA trail crew, look for announcements when we are ready to hire.
SUTA’s PUMPKIN CHUCKIN October 12-13th Fundraiser: Help us raise money to build and maintain trails:
We all enjoy hiking or riding on well built and maintained trails – but trail maintenance and construction is costly – over $10,000/mile to build a new trail. While BLM provides critical support and help for the trails we are involved with, their budget and staff restrictions mean much of the maintenance and trail construction falls to SUTA. Thanks to the tireless energy of Maggie and Steve Ives, we are holding our second Pumpkin Chuckin event at Longsword Winery on Oct 12-13th – this year with TWO trebuchets launching pumpkins.
We are extremely grateful for LongSword Vineyard’s generous offer to share their fall wine release celebration and have the proceeds from the event go to the trails. SUTA provides the pumpkins and trebuchets. Come join us on October 12-13th Noon to Five PM and launch pumpkins for a worthy cause – the trails you use. All ages encouraged.
New SUTA Leadership:
After ten years as President of the SUTA Board, I will be handing the reins of SUTA to Joy Rogalla at the end of October. It has been a total delight and extremely rewarding to lead SUTA, but it is also important for the longevity of any group to have fresh leadership. Joy has been active in SUTA since it began in 2009. She not only knows every inch of our trails but is also one of the most capable people I know. I’m confident that Joy’s leadership will keep SUTA going well into the future.
Trail Work Party Schedule
SUTA will be holding its annual trail work party season complete with home baked snacks, a great lunch and lots of laughter and exercise helping maintain our trails. We hope to see you all.
Here’s the schedule:
- Nov 16
- Dec 14
- Jan 25, 2020 – 4th Sat. of the month and every 4 weeks after that
- Feb 22
- March 21
- April 18
We hope to see all of you out on the trail over the fall and winter.
Hope Robertson and Joy Rogalla