Who is ANN?
We are the Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN), a group of Applegate residents who live in and care about the Applegate Valley and its surrounding public land. We are from neighborhoods throughout the Applegate Watershed: Griffin Creek, Sterling Creek, Little Applegate River, Yale Creek, Upper Applegate, Elliott Creek, Forest Creek, China Gulch, Ruch, Humbug Creek, Thompson Creek, Applegate, North Applegate, Slagle Creek, Williams, Murphy and Wilderville. The neighborhoods we live in are geographically distinct, though ecologically and economically connected and interdependent. Some of us are also members of non-profit conservation, community, and recreation-based organizations active throughout the Applegate Valley. ANN provides a broad network of support for individuals and groups working on public land issues.
Public land borders every community in the Applegate Valley. This intersection of community neighborhoods and public land presents a unique set of assets and challenges that make collaboration with and/or constructive criticism of public land management agencies important. Our neighborhoods rely on the health and use of adjacent public land for clean water, scenic beauty, intact wildlands, sustainable forest products (e.g. mushrooms, firewood, wildcrafted medicinal herbs, building materials, etc), and recreation such as hiking, biking, equestrian use, swimming holes, paragliding, botanizing, birding, or a romantic evening watching the sunset from the Siskiyou Crest while sipping on Applegate Valley wine. Sustaining this high quality of life in the Applegate is a community-wide effort.
Where is the Applegate River Watershed?
There are dozens of distinct neighborhoods in the Applegate River Watershed, which includes the tributary streams that flow into the Applegate River before it’s confluence with the Rogue River near Wilderville. The watershed is bounded on the south by the Siskiyou Crest; on the east by a line drawn roughly from Wagner Butte through Anderson Butte and Woodrat Mountain; on the north by the ridge running from Jacksonville Hill nearly to Grants Pass, and on the west by Roundtop Mountain, Grayback Mountain and its surrounding ridgeline.
Who manages the federal land in the Applegate Valley?
In general, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the Applegate Valley’s lower elevation federal public lands, and the Forest Service manages higher elevation federal public lands, except for the Upper Applegate, where the Forest Service manages everything upstream from Mckee Bridge, regardless of elevation.
What types of projects does ANN work on?
The Applegate Neighborhood Network engages in issues that affect the environment and community in the Applegate River watershed. Examples of projects that we work on include, but are not limited to, the following: timber sale monitoring, collaboration with the BLM and Forest Service through the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA), habitat restoration, pollinator conservation, public land grazing monitoring, OHV issues, public land trash dumping, unsafe target shooting, water quality, fisheries, building trails for hikers, runners, equestrians and bicycle riders, and other projects that motivated individuals or groups are interested in taking on.
Project example: Nedsbar Timber Sale
The Nedsbar Timber Sale is located in the Upper and Little Applegate Valleys on public lands administered by the Medford District BLM. The BLM has proposed a large, landscape scale timber sale focused on producing timber for private industry. The proposed timber sale includes over 70 units spread across thousands of acres of public land in the Applegate , including special roadless and wild lands. Unfortunately, the design, unit selection and development of the proposed action for the Nedsbar Timber Sale is heavily influenced by the now invalid Swanson-Superior court ruling. The now overturned court decision was interpreted by BLM to require aggressive timber production in the driest, most fire-prone watershed west of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. The agency had originally included nearly all-available timber in the Little Applegate area, to satisfy the demands of the Swanson-Superior lawsuit.
The Nedbar Timber Sale proposal includes a "structural retention regeneration harvest" unit — which most forest scientists say is just another name for clear-cut logging. This technique has not been used in recent years on federal lands in the Applegate watershed because it significantly increases fire hazards, and because it is extremely difficult to adequately "regenerate" conifer stands in the harsh climate and terrain found here in the rain shadow of the Siskiyou Crest. The BLM also proposes logging in important Northern spotted owl habitat, in late-seral and old-growth stands, and in roadless wildlands.
In response to the Nedsbar Timber Sale local community members and members of ANN have both protested the sale and engaged in collaboration with the BLM to come up with a better project design. Many community led field trips have engaged the local community to respond. Extensive on-the-ground monitoring was done by the Siskiyou Crest Blog to field check timber sale units and find out what the project truly entails. This fieldwork provided vital information to area residents and activists who were creating an ecologically based alternative to the Nedsbar Timber Sale, called the Nedsbar Community Alternative. This community proposal would maintain all northern spotted owl habitat, reduce fuels, encourage forest health, eliminate all proposed new road construction, and institute a 20” diameter limit to protect large, old trees within the project area.
The BLM has agreed to analyze the Nedsbar Community Alternative in the upcoming Nedsbar Environmental Analysis (due out spring 2016), along with the BLM's proposed action, Alternative 4, that includes many miles of new road construction and a large number of roadless, late-seral, or old-growth logging units.
Stay tuned for more information and updates about the Nedsbar Timber sale, community field trips and meetings.
Why does the Applegate community need to engage in federal land management projects?
When federal agencies worked on thinning forests in the Ashland Watershed they worked closely with Ashland City officials to collaboratively implement the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project (AFR) By contrast, none of the Applegate Valley neighborhoods are designated political entities; we don’t hold elections for mayors or city councilors, and our only elected officials at the county level represent all of Jackson and Josephine Counties. Because federal land management agency activities have local impacts, and the agencies seek community participation and involvement, ANN provides a vital local voice in decisions that impact Applegate Valley residents. As with many policy decisions, the loudest voices get heard. Well-funded timber and mining industry interests from outside the Applegate Valley have very loud voices—and might be the only voices heard unless the community speaks up, too.
What does ANN do?
We work to sustain the integrity of the environment and human communities in the Applegate Valley through engaging federal land managers in planning and implementing sustainable management practices. We promote wildland conservation, ecological restoration, a sustainable rural economy that includes fostering recreational opportunities as well as science-based habitat restoration and forest management practices. We engage with federal agency land managers to help shape land management practices for the benefit of the Applegate community
Who can join ANN?
Anyone who lives in the Applegate! Members of the Applegate Neighborhood Network are people like you: an Applegate resident that cares about public land. ANN recognizes the need for a balance between economic and ecological values that impact valley residents, and we want to make sure that federal agencies hear the voices of local community members — including yours!
What is the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA)?
The Applegate AMA was created in 1994 through the Northwest Forest Plan. The objective of the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA) is to develop and test new forest management approaches to integrate and achieve ecological and economic health and other social objectives. The AMAs are intended to be opportunities for innovation, experimentation and learning. Through innovative approaches and community collaboration with public land managers we can develop localized, idiosyncratic methods that will best reflect the needs of the land and the local community. The approach to the AMA should rely on local knowledge of the land, site-specific standards, experience and ingenuity, rather than the typical top-down and industrial approach generally applied by the agencies in land management.
Of the nearly 500,000 acres in the Applegate Watershed, about 31% is privately owned and 69% is in federal and state management. The Applegate AMA includes lands managed by Medford District BLM (150,752 acres) and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (127,409 acres). Specific emphasis for the Applegate AMA includes the "development and testing of forest management practices including partial cutting, prescribed burning, and low impact approaches to forest harvest (e.g., aerial systems) that provide for a broad range of forest values, including late-successional forest and high quality riparian habitat (Applegate AMA Guide)."
To date, the Forest Service and BLM have only utilized the innovative approach that the AMA provides for very few projects in the Applegate. This has been a lost opportunity for the twenty-one years since the AMA was designated. This might change soon with the Forest Service and BLM moving forward with a renewed push for AMA collaboration.
Do you want to have a role in shaping sustainable forest management in the Applegate Valley? Theoretically, through the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA), your voice can have an impact. The Forest Service and BLM are currently developing a project in the Upper Applegate Valley that will be created through community collaboration. The project will have fuel reduction and forest health thinning, but could accomplish many more goals with sustained community involvement. ANN will be engaged in the AMA process and we invite you to join us in shaping the future of public land in the Applegate Valley. Without community involvement the AMA could become yet another tool of the timber industry to get more logs out of the Applegate at the expense of fire resiliency, scenic viewsheds, clean water, and intact wildlands. This is a collaborative process that we should take advantage of or it may turn into just another timber sale.
How do I get involved with ANN?
Join our email list or check out our event calendar for information regarding upcoming meetings and events — we welcome your participation!