Kalmiopsis Tales: Rugged Mountains, Long fights & Wild Women

KS Wild’s history of protecting the Kalmiopsis region is as extensive as the jutting peaks of its rugged peridotite mountains. In 1983, our predecessor the Siskiyou Project, started some of its first direct action at Bald Mountain, and continued through the early 1990’s to bolster public engagement in the drafting of the Northwest Forest Plan to protect the previously-named Siskiyou National Forest.

The first proposal for nickel mining in the Kalmiopsis region, at Rough and Ready Creek, was submitted by Nicore in 1992. Today, we are still trying to stop the three proposed mines on the North Fork Smith/Baldface Creek, the Rough and Ready Creek, and Hunter Creek/North Fork Pistol River.

Typical of many conservation efforts, we have been working for a long time, to protect this beautiful and biologically unique place that is treasured by both inhabitants and visitors alike. We work so hard because this place is worth fighting for.

Long fights with no reward can feel tiresome and unrewarding after awhile. That’s why this May we held the first annual Return to the Wild, a rustic retreat along the Illinois River for female activists from around Southwest Oregon. Elders told stories of past trials and triumphs, we bonded and benefited from the therapy of nature, and were reinvigorated for our work ahead.

We sat together along the deep, emerald river, and reminisced about the history of protecting this place. These are some of the most pristine wild rivers in North America, necessary for salmon spawning, supporting the endemic plants that grow along its banks, and providing for the future generations’ water security and enjoyment

The bond of humans, forged by our common experience of this place, is what will ultimately create the strength to protect our backyard wildlands. Go to the Kalmiopsis, spend time by a river (and then come back and join our group, resolutely dedicated to protect this special place!)