Our community trail system currently includes the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail – a historic and state-scenic trail with seven trail heads totaling about 26 miles for equestrians, hikers, runners, and bicyclists.
SUTA needs your help to push the Jack-Ash Trail Over the Top – of Anderson Butte
How You Can Help:
Construction of the Jack-Ash Trail up and over Anderson Butte is underway. Of the total 15-mile length of the Jack-Ash Trail, we have a little over two miles of trail and some time-consuming switchbacks left to build. We estimate we will need an additional $15,000 to push the trail over the top. We already have a $3,000 pledge from a local business to start us towards our goal if the community steps up and donates, too. With your financial help, we hope the Jack-Ash Trail system will be ready for you to enjoy this summer. Your donations are Tax Deductible. You can find more information and maps of our progress by going to our website at: www.sutaoregon.org.
The Jack-Ash Story:
Since 2009, the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association (SUTA) has been working to create a hiking, equestrian, and bicycle trail system travelling along the ridges from Jacksonville to Ashland Oregon – dubbed the Jack-Ash Trail. Years ago this ridgeline on the west side of the Rogue Valley had a trail that connected the fire lookouts on Anderson and Wagner Butte. SUTA decided to model the Jack-Ash Trail after this historic trail and to use parts of the old route. The Jack-Ash Trail will offer dramatic views of both the Rogue and Applegate Valleys – see one example in the photo below.
With its easily accessible location from multiple spots in the Rogue and Applegate Valleys, the Jack-Ash will enhance the region’s recreational assets not only by creating a new trail through this beautiful landscape but also because it will ultimately connect the existing trail systems in Ashland and Jacksonville, as well as the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and the future Applegate Ridge Trail.
Because of the scope of the Jack-Ash Trail project, SUTA is tackling it in two phases. We are now in the process of building the first phase of this trail system – the section in the middle – which will connect both ends of the historic Sterling Mine Ditch trail. Phase I of the Jack-Ash Trail will create a giant 45-mile network of trails.
The Challenge of Building Trails on Steep Slopes:
Despite SUTA’s years of fund raising, grant writing, and more, the construction challenges our stellar trail crew has faced has meant the project is costing more than anticipated, and which is why we are turning to the community for help. A trail that wanders up a steep mountain requires moving a huge amount of dirt. We have to build time-consuming retaining walls (as the crew is puzzling over in this shot), switchback turns, remove large stumps and rocks and more in order to create a safe trail for all users that will stand up to use for decades.
In the terrain we are going through, we are finding trail construction costs about $16,000/mile. It’s a mind-boggling amount but that is the reality of building a new trail on a steep and rocky mountainside. And, we have had generous help from the Medford BLM and volunteers too. Because of the arduous nature of building a trail (see a sample of the trail challenges below), we knew we could not rely on volunteers alone so we hired a crew of local women and men skilled at building trails. We want to take advantage of the talented crew we have assembled and complete the construction this spring.
What the Community Gains:
For the past few years, hikers, runners, equestrians, and bicyclists have seen the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail turn into a fabulous recreational asset for residents and visitors to our area – thanks to the efforts of the Medford BLM, SUTA, and community volunteers. The SMDT is now southern Oregon’s only state scenic trail with almost 30 miles of trail available. With the addition of the Jack-Ash Trail, you will have a greatly expanded recreational gem in your backyards with more opportunities of loops, both long and short, to enjoy!
Here is a recent view from a recently built section of the trail to entice you:
The addition of trails is also a well-documented contribution to the local economy, whether it is raising property values in the area or providing direct and indirect economic benefits. That positive economic impact has already begun, as SUTA is now providing trail construction jobs for some terrific local men and women.
Please help us make this project a reality for the entire community by making a Tax Deductible gift to SUTA before April 30th , 2017.
Thank you for anything you can donate for this great new recreational asset right in your own backyard.
We hope all of you will come enjoy the Jack-Ash once it is open for use.
Thank you for your support!
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