site title


masthead graphic

kiosk sign graphic

Typical Forest Service kiosk. Our mileage may vary.

Kiosk progress

Things sure move slowly. But with persistence,  they do move.

Ever since the Forest Service announced their Reimagine  Recreation initiative, we have been all in. Submitting unsolicited suggestions. Attending FS webinars. Developing pilot projects to figure out and demonstrate how to Reimagine recreation.

And it is working. Following our submission, high level FS staff responded, requesting more information. Six of the ~50 nationwide grassroots webinar participants were from the little ole.’ Sweet Home district.

Best of all, irreversible progress is being made on our first pilot project - an informational kiosk explaining the biology, geology, ecology of the forest and how the Forest Service manages our (your) public land. We all want to save the world. How does a kiosk save the world?

  • It educates eager but under-informed people about how the natural forest works and how the government manages their portion.
  • The more the public understands the forest, the more they care about it
  • The more they know how management works, the more effective they are in advocating for what they care about.
  • A pilot project
    • Demonstrates how Reimagine recreation can work.
    • It sets the precedent for more ambitious projects.
    • Inspires and guides others to develop similar projects where they live
    • Bonus: the FS is developing two more of their own kiosks!
  • It keeps me out of (into?) trouble while I spend my retirement.

Of course, these things don’t succeed on their own. I will keep you informed on our progress and occasionally ask you to write letters of support to the Forest Service.

Forward together!

Douglas-first National Monument, Naturally

Bumble Bees

Bee! Yikes! 

Calm down. That bee isn’t out to hurt you. Bumble bees are relatively docile, just going about their business. Of course, if you threaten it, it may sting you, as a last resort. 

Like most critters in the forest, bumble bees play an important role in the ecosystem. Their role is to pollinate many of the wildflowers therein. Specifically, they are the primary pollinator in the late summer and fall in subalpine meadows. That’s where our bears get the berries that help them make it through their winter hibernation. And all the other mysterious functions that go on, unseen, in the forest.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, bumble bee surveys have found 25 different species

western bumblebee graphic

Western bumble bee
Photo credit: Rich Hatfield and The Xerces Society

Unfortunately, the Western bumble bee nearly went extinct and it is now difficult to find them in bumble bee surveys. Why? The usual suspects: the decline in diversity of native plants. Bumble bees need the rotating  presence of pollen and nectar plants over the entire blooming season to do their magic. 

Also, climate change. The relatively large bumble bee body is adapted to colder weather. Can it move north as the temperature warms here in the Oregon mountains? Will it even know to head north in time? Will the wildflowers go along fast enough?  What else will need to happen to support the bumble? While our science has uncovered a lot about how the natural world works, much more is still unknown.

Bumble bees and climate change | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

“Save the trees” is a common cry of nature lovers. Indeed. And save all the plants, lichen, mushrooms, wildflowers, birds, bees, butterflies, mammals and all the other critters that have evolved over the eons to work together to make the functioning forest. Of course, that is what our proposed Monument is intended to do.

For more information about bumblebees, go here:

About Bumble Bees

Prez sez:

by David Stone, President, FDFNM

Dave graphic

I know you receive many emails pleading with you to take action on various urgent causes. Lord knows many threats to our interests abound - environmental degradation, racism, war, limits to women’s choices. And so much more.

Why respond to our pleas?  We are trying to save our small part of the world where biodiversity can thrive, carbon can be stored in our old growth trees fighting climate change, spiritual renewal can happen in our Wilderness areas. And so much more. We make it easy and meaningful for you to take action. We provide a succinct discussion of the problem and effective means to express the points. We don’t give you a one-click “sign our petition” button that the recipients inevitably dismiss  We trust you to make the worthwhile effort to write your own message that the recipient takes seriously. Besides, we don’t buy mailing lists. We know that you personally signed up to be our list. Our campaigns are as natural as our Monument proposal.


Get Out!

Time to start planning a summer outing to the newest addition to our Douglas-fir National Monument - to the many sites along the McKenzie Pass Scenic Highway, just east of McKenzie Bridge.

The highway is closed by snow in the winter. The earliest opening date recently has been late June. For more information, go here:

Oregon Department of Transportation : McKenzie Highway : Regions : State of Oregon

This road provides access to a number of high quality sites. Try Proxy Falls early in the season when the water is running highest. Obsidian Falls is a good all-day loop hike. It is so popular, that a permit is required even for a day hike. Contact the McKenzie Ranger District here:  541-822-3381, for information about obtaining a permit.

4 in 1 cone is also a nice long day hike, much less popular than other sites, if you like solitude.

Belknap Crater trail leads to a great overview of the high Cascades. It crosses an open lava flow with little shade, so wear a hat and sunscreen and bring plenty of water.

For easier access to a great view, stop at the Dee Wright Observatory.

A favorite day hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail from Lava Lake campground to South Mathews Lake where you can gaze at Yapoah Crater that looks like it erupted last week.

With all the attractions on this road, plan a weekend or more by staying at one of these campgrounds: Limber Lost, Alder Springs, Scott Lake or Lava Lake. Or plan a backpack trek into the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Let me know about your visit.
mckensie rd map graphic

"Those who dwell among the beauty and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life."
-Rachael Carson

Click here for an archive of previous Dispatches

Contact us:


by email

facebook icon graphic facebook

Mail: Friends of Douglas-fir National Monument
P.O. Box 7174
Springfield, OR  97475