Greensprings Inn

Snow, water, frogs, beavers, life

You may have noticed that the December Surprise storm that tied Ashland in knots brought hardly any moisture to southern Oregon, just enough to leave a dangerous, icy crust on hillside streets. What’s remarkable about this weather event is the persistent cold and overcast that followed.  As I write, the sidewalks along Siskiyou Boulevard are still frozen over like Mt. Ashland half pipes.

What we are currently experiencing is a very cold drought. Maybe this is one of the new weather extremes that climatologists have been predicting.
What does this mean for us? Snow play deferred, for one thing. As of today (December 19), we don’t have enough snow pack for winter recreation on the BLM sliding hill at Table Mountain or the Nordic ski trails above Hyatt Lake.

Of course there are much bigger stakes: The future of agriculture in the Rogue Valley, for one. Not to mention water for drinking, bathing, making beer, rinsing wine glasses and other civilized pursuits.  Actually, this is not a joke.

Which takes us to spotted frogs.

One of our heroes, Dr. Michael S. Parker of SOU and his colleagues have been studying a population of Oregon Spotted Frogs at our local Parsnip Lakes for over a decade. Currently, due in part to Michael’s work, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to protect 68,192 acres and 23 miles of waterways as critical habitat for this iconic amphibian, whose survival is increasingly threatened. (For some beautiful Parsnip Lake photos, virtual amphibian porn, see

Michael told us recently that our Parsnip Lakes frog population is in fact declining. The problem is insufficient water.  Our frogs need more beavers. The work of beavers holds water in the mountains.  Since the days of Jacob Astor, these furry hydraulic engineers have been removed by trappers and converted into top hats, luxurious overcoats and such. Even today, beavers are 100% unprotected.  The Army Corps of Engineers can’t begin to build enough dams to replace the missing beavers.  Parsnip Lakes and, in fact, entire mountain ranges are drying up due to, in significant part, a beaver deficit.

Would you consider joining a movement to restore the natural hydrology of the Cascades, combat climate change and possibly save civilization as we know it? Call or email another one of our local heroes, Joe Vaile at Cascade-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, (541) 488-5789 or  Tell him you want to sign up for a Save the Beaver campaign, throw some money in the pot, chain yourself to a Congressman, whatever it takes.  KS Wild doesn’t currently have a Save the Beaver campaign, but maybe they will.

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Diarmuid McGuire

Less than an 30 minute drive from Ashland, the Green Springs is a world apart from the hustle, bustle and endless asphalt of modern life. Here, near the crest of the Southern Cascades, Green Springs Inn is creating a sustainable getaway opportunity by protecting and nurturing a long-abused forest, using dead and dying trees to build cabins, harvesting solar energy and more. The lodge at Green Springs Inn offers comfortable high country accommodations at affordable prices. Six of our eight rooms include Jacuzzi tubs and two have private decks. The Inn also offers nine deluxe vacation cabins on an adjoining 150 acre parcel. Each cabin offers privacy, a unique view, a single bedroom with a king size bed, a loft and a sofa bed for additional guests, a deep jetted tub, a wood burning stove, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with tiled shower. Dogs are welcome at Green Springs Inn. We use organic, fragrance-free cleaning products and restrict pets from designated accommodations for visitors who are highly sensitive to allergens. Our Forest Room group facility provides a perfect setting for a retreat, a meeting, a family gathering or a small event.

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