The Applegate Trails Association (ATA) was created to manifest a vision: the Applegate Ridge Trail (ART). The ART is a roughly 40-mile long trail connecting Grants Pass, Oregon to Jacksonville, Oregon.
In the hills above Jacksonville the ART is proposed to join the Jack-Ash Trail, a roughly 40-mile route envisioned by the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association. The Jack-Ash Trail would connect Jacksonville, Oregon to Ashland, Oregon.
Both trails are still in their infancy, but a dedicated group of residents, hiking trail advocates, equestrians and volunteers are steadily working to make both trails a reality. Currently, the route is a line, delineated on a map, but does not exist as an established trail system.
The route follows a series of footpaths, old roads, trail-less ridgelines and steep mountain slopes across the rugged spine of what early settlers called the "Front Range." The ridgeline — a mosaic of forest, prairie, woodland and brush — divides the Rogue and Bear Creek Valleys from the Applegate Valley in southwestern Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains. Together the trails will bridge that divide, connecting the communities of the Applegate and Rogue Valley with a beautiful, non-motorized trail system that defines our region and who we are as a community.
Although portions of each trail are already well known and heavily visited, other portions are little used and relatively undefined. The entire 80-mile trail corridor has not been hiked from Ashland to Grants Pass — yet!
This spring a couple of friends and board members of the Applegate Trails Association, Josh Weber and Luke Ruediger, are setting out on an adventure to document, explore, and enjoy the proposed trail corridor. The idea is to hike the route from downtown Ashland, Oregon over the summit of Wagner Butte, across the arid slopes of Anderson Butte, though the Dakubetede roadless area, to the rugged foothills of the Wellington Butte Wildlands outside Ruch, Oregon, and finally to the Cathedral Hills east of Grants Pass, Oregon.
Our goal is to turn this thru-hike adventure into a film promoting the trails, their creation and their preservation. The film will be used to raise awareness, build support and inspire volunteers to get involved. We hope to highlight the beauty and diversity of the trails, as well as the many benefits to the surrounding communities that the trails will bring. By making the film, we can bring people into the mountains so that they more clearly understand those benefits.
ATA intends to show the film at various public events, for local trail groups, municipalities, wineries, businesses, outdoor stores, on the web, at film festivals and anywhere that our message is welcome. We are asking for financial support to hire a professional film crew, who will film the adventure and create a short documentary film about the thru-hike, the Applegate Trails Association and the proposed trails.
Risks and challenges
The challenges of this project include hiking nearly 80 miles on the proposed Jack-Ash and Applegate Ridge Trail system from Ashland to Grants Pass, Oregon. Much of the route will consist of hiking and navigating currently trail-less public land, bushwhacking through dense forest, brush, and steep rugged terrain. Although Josh and Luke have extensive experience navigating trail-less and difficult terrain in the backcountry of the Siskiyou Mountains, this will still be a huge undertaking. We plan to complete the 80-mile route in five days, and if we run into any problems along the way we may not meet that goal.
Our film crew will work hard to get high quality imagery in remote and inaccessible locations. They will be packing all their heavy film equipment into the wildlands to document the hike and the beautiful mountain scenery. Countless hours will go into hiking, filming, editing, and putting together a high quality film. The challenge will be capturing not only the rugged beauty of the trails but also the enthusiasm of those who advocate for them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)