Eighteen years ago, on June 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation that designated 52,947 acres of federal land as the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. Known for its incredible biodiversity, Cascade-Siskiyou is home to blacktail deer, Roosevelt elk, cougars, and a remarkable variety of other species.
In 2017, President Barack Obama expanded the Monument and included habitat for populations of the endemic Jenny Creek sucker and redband trout, as well as habitat for the endangered shortnose sucker, Klamath largescale sucker, and the endangered Lost River sucker.
Jack Williams, who recently retired as Trout Unlimited’s Senior Scientist after a distinguished career that also included service as Forest Supervisor for the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest, is an integral part of the history of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and an avid defender of the Monument’s expansion.
“My wife and I took our two boys as they grew up and fished in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. It was a place that we could connect with nature and reconnect as a family,” Williams says.
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of ten national monuments that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended be downsized or otherwise modified in a report to President Trump in 2017. Last December, the president acted on Zinke’s recommendations and stripped national monument designation from some two million acres of public lands in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments in Utah.
While Secretary Zinke recently met with conservation and sportsmen’s groups and stated he is not planning to reduce the size of other monuments, TU and other sportsmen’s groups remain concerned that the administration’s emphasis on regulatory rollbacks could lead to a weakening of protections for habitat and fishing and hunting access in monuments such as Cascade-Siskiyou, through administrative orders or other powers that limit or exclude public comment.
As we reflect on eighteen years of national monument status for a complex of public lands in southern Oregon that is unique in the world for its biodiversity and a unique form of native redband trout, we encourage sportsmen and women to go to standup.tu.org and help us remind Secretary Zinke and Congress that national monuments such as Cascade-Siskiyou are vitally important for their habitat and sporting values, and deserve to keep their monument designation.