Explore More! Dig Deep into Nature at the Table Rocks
Spring is a great time to explore our public lands in Southern Oregon. Whether it’s learning about plants and animals, geology or cultural history, we’ve got a hike for you! “Explore More!” at the Table Rocks and discover something new.
Every weekend this spring, The Nature Conservancy and Medford District Bureau of Land Management are offering free, guided educational hikes. Hikes are led by specialists from around the region who will share their knowledge about the unique natural and cultural environments that make the Table Rocks such an integral part of our region’s landscape. Dig deep into nature and enjoy the magic of nature’s classroom at the Table Rocks!
Hikers will meet at the designated trailhead for a 2.5–4.5 mile round trip hike up 800 feet along a moderate grade trail. Participants should dress for the weather and terrain and bring water and snacks since hikes to the top may last 3 to 5 hours. Restrooms are available only at each trailhead; there is no drinking water. To help protect this special place, no dogs or vehicles are allowed on the trail.
Three guided hikes will be offered in February and March as a prelude to the Spring Hike series in April and May 2018. All hikes are free to the public but reservations are required as space is limited. Information about the hikes and online reservations will be available at https://TableRockHikes2018.eventbrite.com beginning Wednesday, February 7. For information, contact the Medford District BLM at 541.618.2200, M-F, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Rising dramatically 800 feet above the Rogue River, the iconic Upper and Lower Table Rocks—formed by a lava flow about 7 million years ago—are prominent features of the Rogue Valley. The wildlife and more than 200 wildflower species, including the extremely rare dwarf wooly meadowfoam that grows nowhere else in the world, are protected by the Table Rocks’ designation as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
Saturday, February 24, 9:00 a.m., Upper Table Rock
WOW! Wonders of Water. Learn about the role water plays on the Table Rocks with Dr. Michael Parker, SOU Biology Department Chair and Aquatic Ecologist, Robert Coffan, Hydrologist/Hydrogeologist, and Molly Morison, The Nature Conservancy’s SW OR Preserves Manager. This hike will look at how water has shaped the Table Rocks and how it supports the unique seasonal and quick-changing nature of the vernal pools found on top of the rocks. Hikers will observe small invertebrates and plants that thrive in the vernal pools at the top of the Table Rocks, as well as try to spot the tiny vernal pool fairy shrimp, Branchinecta lynchi, a federally threatened species.
Saturday, March 3, 10:00 a.m., Lower Table Rock
Lichen Hikin’ with a Fun-gi. Early spring is a prime time to observe lichens, bryophytes and terrestrial algae with John Villella, a botanist with the Siskiyou Biosurvey and member of the American Bryological & Lichenological Society, and members of the Native Plant Society of Oregon. Some lichen highlights include variant forms of Xanthoparmelia and Dermatocarpon, and local rarities such as Parmelina and Peltula. There’s also a chance to discover early blooming wildflowers.
Saturday, March 24, 9:00 a.m., Upper Table Rock
Catch a Rainbow! Celebrate spring break with Molly Allen, BLM Environmental Education Specialist, on a general information hike to the top of the Rock that’s suitable for the whole family. This hike is a wonderful introduction to wildflower identification, ethnobotany, geology, wildlife, ecology, and cultural history at the Upper Table Rock. Take a closer look at all the colors of nature on the Table Rocks.
Did you know? A few facts about the Table Rocks
The 4,864 acres of the Table Rocks are jointly owned, managed and protected by The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management.
The area around the Table Rocks was inhabited by Native Americans at least 15,000 years prior to any European-American settlement.
The Rocks are named for their location along the Rogue River – Upper Table Rock is upstream and Lower Table Rock is downstream.
There is an airstrip on Lower Table Rock that was built in 1948.
. More than 50,000 visitors annually hike the Table Rocks making it one of the most popular hiking locations in Southern Oregon.
The Rocks are home to more than 70 species of animals and 340 species of plants including 200 species of wildflowers.
The vernal pools at the top of the Rocks are one of the few places that are home to a federally threatened species of fairy shrimp, Branchinecta lynchi.
Molly Morison, The Nature Conservancy, SW OR Preserves Manager, 541.708.4990, firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Allen, Bureau of Land Management, Medford District, Environmental Education Specialist, 541.618.2468, email@example.com
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