Darling of the Siskiyous: Kalmiopsis leachiana

Photos and text by Nicole Smedegaard aka “Nature Nicole” Lilla Leach recounted at a garden club meeting: “Suddenly, we came upon a breathtaking sight. Before us, beside the trail, lay a patch of low evergreen bushlets, simply covered with deep rose flowers, vividly pink in the sunshine. Thrilled? We were! I felt sure I had […]

Unknown Rough and Ready Creek Flower blooming in November

Protect Rough and Ready Creek

In November, I took advantage of a break in the Southwest Oregon rain to explore the edges of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. After the first good Fall soak I visited Rough and Ready Creek, a tributary that feeds the Wild & Scenic Illinois River. While only about 30 miles from […]

Fresno Creek to the Chetco

Being lucky enough to work as a river guide for one of the three companies that have a permit to commercially raft the Illinois River through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, I have had the fortune to spend considerably more time in its wild spaces than most.  The Illinois River is one of the two largest waterways […]

What is the South Kalmiopsis?

The South Kalmiopsis is an unprotected roadless area south of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in Oregon. It contains three beautiful streams the  U.S. Forest Service has found eligible to be added to the Wild and Scenic River System—Baldface Creek, Rough and Ready Creek and Josephine/Canyon Creeks. In 2004, the Secretary of Agriculture recommended that the watersheds […]

Meeting Our Congressmen on Behalf of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness

In March 2019 I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet our representatives for the Kalmiopsis Guides Association. With the goal to discuss the recent public lands package and future protections for the South Kalmiopsis, we arranged constituent meetings with the Oregon and New Mexico delegation, as well as nonprofit organizations. I met Congresspeople from both […]

This Holiday Season Help Give the Gift of River Conservation

2018 was a year of celebration in the river community for the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Congress passed this bill in 1968 to protect free flowing rivers with outstandingly remarkable values for future generations, and as a member of those “future generations” I am forever grateful. The time I have […]

Group Photo on the Carter Creek Trail

Hiking into Carter Creek

This past June, I hiked into Carter Creek for Northwest Rafting Company to ready gear for an Upper Chetco river trip in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Along with three other guides, we transported inflatable kayaks and camping gear nine miles down to Carter Creek, a beautiful stream that merges into the Chetco river. I have a […]

Welcome to the Kalmiopsis

The rivers of the Kalmiopsis run through remote wilderness. I feel isolated in these places, more isolated than in the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return or at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Through my work guiding I have been lucky enough to spend time in the Kalmiopsis, and for this I am exceptionally […]