Dear Trail Enthusiasts,
The Jack-Ash Trail – Phase I is now OPEN
for you to enjoy by foot, bicycle or horse!
In late June, the last piece of the brand new Jack-Ash trail was cut in, creating a wonderful new and tremendously scenic trail for the community to take advantage of. The total length of the Jack-Ash Trail Phase I is 15 miles, with the distance split between existing dirt roads and new trail. The completion of this part of the Jack-Ash Trail creates a giant loop with the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail – about 36 miles long. We are thrilled with the trail and hope you will be, too. The pictures below give a sense of the diversity and beauty of the trail.
The involvement and support SUTA received from the entire community made this new trail possible. We want to thank everyone at the Medford BLM who worked hard to move this trail from a dream to reality. In particular, Zach Million of BLM helped SUTA every step of the way with sage advice, technical support, arranging for a series of great crews from BLM, Grayback Forestry, and the Northwest Youth Corp to do chainsaw work, build tread, create parking areas, put in signs, and much more. Zach spent days working on key components of this trail. The trail would not have happened without his help. Thank you, Zach!
Another key person who helped make the Jack-Ash Trail a reality on the ground is volunteer Duane Mallums. Duane has been involved with every inch of the trail from early trail route explorations, to layout, to putting in red flags for the trail crews to follow, and overseeing and participating in all of the amazing and highly technical trail and rock work, switchbacks, and more. For the past several years, Duane has spent countless hours wandering along the slopes of Anderson Butte through dense thickets, on steep sideslopes and more – in the rain, snow or hot sun – figuring out how to route and build this trail. At the same time he was helping SUTA, Duane also volunteered his amazing talents for ATA’s East Art Trail. We don’t know how he did it but we sure are glad we were lucky enough to have him work on the Jack-Ash Trail.
The bulk of the trail was built by a fabulous group of local men and women whom SUTA hired. We were fortunate to have funding to hire this crew from a Title II grant, from an extremely timely REI Grant, and from generous donations from the community. In total, we spent about $45,000 to build this trail. New trails on steep rocky terrain are not cheap. The crew worked under every adverse weather condition possible, digging through acres of tough Oregon grape, removing stumps, chipping out rocks, and making long hikes to get into the job site from February through early June. SUTA could not have found a more delightful and talented group of people to work with. Our crew leader, Christie Lawson, not only provided great trail building skills but also kept everyone laughing while they chopped out endless stumps in cold, wet weather – that is a talent. Emily Coleman, Sean Smithey, Angie Panter, Pat Uhtoff, Ben Gustafson, Steve Ives, John Galego, Joel Bridges, Haley Lara, Willie Love, Rob Weston, Mike Snyder, and Mark Savage all worked hard to create this wonderful community trail. We have no idea how many tons of dirt and rocks they moved but when you hike this trail remember it was all done by hand.
We also were very fortunate to have the help of Rogue WorkSource. Abby Nichols and her wonderful youth crews cleared brush, dug tread, moved rocks and more from the beginning to the end of the project. In addition the Rogue WorkSource Administration handled our crew’s payroll and paperwork. They were a huge asset to the Jack-Ash Trail project.
SUTA volunteers also played a pivotal role throughout the project, starting with building the first segment of the trail near Griffin Lane and working to clear brush, dig tread with the crew, and much more.
The last set of thanks goes to the wonderful SUTA Board and their generous spouses who have worked hard since 2009 to move this trail project along. It would not have happened without their endless hours of work.
SUTA invites you all to come out and explore the newly opened Jack-Ash Trail. One of the greatest aspects of this trail is the tremendous diversity of experiences you can have while hiking on it. An astonishing array of wildflowers, great birding, wildlife, beautiful stands of conifers, gorgeous madrones and huge manzanitas, the most amazing rock outcroppings to hike through – and then there are the views, which will knock your socks off!
We will be providing directions and maps on our website so you can go out and explore the trail; our first map is attached. BLM has also developed a geo-referenced map. If you have the Avenza map feature on your phone or tablet, it will show your GPS location in real time, w/o data service. Download the map before going out to the trail. Here is the link:
>>Click on the pictures to see their details. Hit “Esc” to exit the slideshow.
Thank you ! again to the entire community for helping us make the Jack-Ash Trail possible.
~ Hope Robertson