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KS Wild photoGroup efforts add up, like this trash collection effort. There are several opportunities coming up to be good stewards of public lands.

Wild Side: Time to get your boots dirty

We find amazing natural beauty on public lands, but too often we also find them vandalized by trash dumps, noxious weeds, and off-road vehicle damage. Public lands, now more than ever, need a little extra care. They need you!

Public land managers need community help to accomplish stewardship projects. Fortunately, public land stewards are stepping up in the Rogue Valley and hundreds of community members have muddied their boots and got their hands dirty taking an active role in public lands stewardship.

There are many groups that are getting folks out on the ground to clear trails, reduce fire hazards near communities and restore streams back to health. Volunteers are also stepping up to steward public lands through trash clean ups in the Applegate and Illinois valleys, meadow restoration in far Northern California on the Siskiyou Crest, and noxious weed pulls in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Now it is your chance! Please come out to an upcoming stewardship project on public lands. You can find a complete list of KS Wild hikes and events at www.kswild.org, but if you want to get your boots dirty on a stewardship project, here is where you can go:

• Fourth annual star thistle pull at Mariposa Preserve in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, June 9: Join KS Wild, the Native Plant Society, Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou and monument staff for an invasive weed pull in the Mariposa Preserve just outside of Ashland. We will continue to clear yellow star thistle in the habitat of the rare Green’s Mariposa Lily and observe wildflowers blooming along the way.

• Stewardship Weekend on the Upper Rogue River with Rogue Riverkeeper, June 23-24: Come camp for the weekend or join us for a day to do a little trail work and enjoy the wild and scenic Upper Rogue River. KS Wild’s Rogue Riverkeeper program will also be there for a Saturday night barbecue for those who would like to camp and celebrate the beloved wild and scenic Rogue River! Sign up for this rewarding experience today (max number of participants: 25).

• Eight Dollar Mountain restoration project, June 29-30. Spend the weekend in this special botanical area in the Illinois Valley. You can participate in a land stewardship project to take action to protect sensitive meadows from vehicle traffic with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest staff, Native Plant Society and KS Wild. This important project will protect the botanical diversity in this landscape filled with rare plants, including the carnivorous Darlingtonia pitcher plant. Expect low/moderate intensity hiking, sign installation, photo assessment and GPS documentation.

• Alex Hole Meadow fence repair stewardship project, July 15: Spend a scenic day in the remote backcountry on the beautiful Siskiyou Crest and participate in a fence-building project with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and KS Wild. This fence helps protect sensitive wildflower meadows of Alex Hole from cattle grazing. Sign up for more details!

Joseph Vaile is executive director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild, 541-488-5789, www.kswild.org). His Wild Side column appears every three weeks.

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