Cathedral Hills is to Grants Pass as Central Park is to New York—or close to it. Only no one would think of constructing a 60 foot wide road through Central Park or managing it for timber production. That’s what’s facing our Cathedral Hills Park.
The Cathedral Hills Espey Road Trailhead on a busy Sunday in January. Road development would turn the peaceful trailhead into a busy thoroughfare. Friends of Cathedral Hills photo.
Threat No. 1 – Road construction in Cathedral Hills Park
Your attendance and voice are urgently needed on:
Wednesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Grants Pass City Council Chambers – 101 N. E. “A” Street.
A property developer wants to put a road through a lovely segment of Cathedral Hills Park. The planning commission, in a 7-0 vote, said “no” to the needed variance. According to the Grants Pass Courier:
Major concerns were congestion on the narrow road into the trailhead, potential danger to children, pedestrians and horses using the road, and the likelihood that road construction and increased traffic will harm wildlife and the habitat. MacMillan said three of the required criteria for a variance to extend the road were not met: The proposed variance must be the best alternative; the proposal will not pose a safety hazard; and all adverse impacts shall be avoided where possible and mitigated wherever practical.
The private property has other access.
With the Espy Road Trailhead parking full, cars and horse trailer park along the roadway. The proposed development would create even more traffic. Friends of Cathedral Hills photo.
The developers have appealed the unanimous “no” vote. Please come to the hearing and speak for Cathedral Hills on Wednesday, August 20th at 6:00 p.m. For more information go to Friends of Cathedral Hills on Facebook. Be a friend to your park.
Land ownership map shows why the Central Park analogy fits Cathedral Hill. The BLM Cathedral Hills parklands are outlined in red.
Threat No. 2 – Timber production (logging) and O&C Land Grant Act of 2014
Cathedral Hills is a 500 plus acre parkland managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It’s surrounded by the Grants Pass urban growth boundary, the Grants Pass Golf Club, subdivisions and residential properties. The taxpayers recently funded a major fuels reduction project and trail and trailhead improvements.
So how could Senator Wyden’s O&C Land Grant Act of 2014 allocate this haven for hikers and mountain bikers for timber production as a Dry Forestry Emphasis Area?
Cathedral Hills is a recreation area with three developed trailheads and miles of trails. It’s used by thousands of people of all ages. Many of those will likely live longer healthier lives because Cathedral Hills exists. It would be insane to manage this much loved park for timber production.
The latest maps for the O&C Act of 2014 show Cathedral Hills as a “Dry Forestry Emphasis Area.” Click here to download the map from Senator Wyden’s website. Section 10 of the Act defines Dry Forestry Emphasis Areas as:
Implements principles of ecological forestry to incorporate sustainable forest management practices and increase the timber produced from these areas while also reducing the likelihood of catastrophic forest fire.
Map is excerpted from the O&C Land Grant Act of 2014 Moist and Dry Forestry Emphasis Area Map dated July 31, 2014. Brown = Dry Forestry Emphasis Area.
Really big trees
Cathedral Hills does have some really big trees, only they’re not likely to produce much timber volume when logged. Former Park Ranger, Paul Brown, discovered the Oregon State Champion knobcone pine and whiteleaf manzanita in Cathedral Hills. Read about the discovery of the Oregon State Champion trees in the Grants Pass Courier and watch the video.
Cathedral Hills is popular trail system, used by thousands of residents, but its also an important nature reserve. Pictured old growth manzanita, California ground cone and indian warriors. Friends of Cathedral Hills.
The State Champion knobcone turned out to be the National Champion knobcone. Cathedral Hills is a magical place.
Former Park Ranger, Paul Brown, walked past this old gnarly pine in Cathedral Hills many times without realizing it’s the largest knobcone pine in the nation. He’s not the only one. Watch the video.
Are we so desperate for a little revenue that we have to log our heritage lands? We’ve got a better idea. Permanent protection.
The Cathedral Hills Recreation and Natural Area
Right now Cathedral Hills has little or no protection. Senator Wyden’s O&C legislation would have it managed for timber production. Let’s look at this as an opportunity to achieve permanent protection for Cathedral Hills. Write or call Senator Wyden’ and ask that he establish the Cathedral Hills Recreation and Natural Area on lands now managed by BLM as the Cathedral Hills Trail System.
The Senator says he will listen:
Keith Chu, a spokesman for Wyden, dismissed suggestions this week that the senator won’t consider additional changes to his O&C timber bill when lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., in September. “We aren’t sticking the bill in a safe and not talking to anyone” about other possible changes, he said. “We will continue to work with people.”
The Cathedral Hills trail system winds through a diverse oak, pine woodlands. Friends of Cathedral Hills.
Don’t let Senator Wyden hear only silence. Make a noise. Ask him to: “Permanently protect Cathedral Hills Park through the establishment of the Cathedral Hills Recreation and Natural Area”. Click here for Senator Wyden’s contact information.
Birds and birders love Cathedral Hills Park to and its great habitat for native pollinators. © Barbara Ullian
Cathedral Hills—a tiny priceless gem
Cathedral Hills will only get more valuable in time as a recreation and natural area. It’s used by hikers, runners, bikers, birders, equestrians and wildflower enthusiasts. You will find no trespassing signs there and its free for all. Be a Friend of Cathedral Hills.
Learn about Cathedral Hills
- Friends of Cathedral Hills
- BLM’s Cathedral Hills Recreation Opportunity Guide
- Cathedral Hills State Champion Trees
- Cathedral Hills State Champion Trees video
- National Champion Trees found in Josephine Count