Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area
Trilliums (Trillium ovatum) flower soon after snow melt. Photo by Sarah Malaby.
The "petals" of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) are actually white bracts, which surround a cluster of inconspicuous flowers. Fruits are bright red berries. Photo by Sarah Malaby.
Spirea (Spiraea douglasii) is a showy shrub commonly found in moist areas around seeps and springs. Photo by Sarah Malaby.
Sevenmile Guard Station
Forest: Fremont-Winema National Forest
District: Klamath Ranger District
Description: Sevenmile Guard Station is located four miles west of Fort Klamath, Oregon, on a stream terrace above Sevenmile Creek. Sevenmile was originally used as a ranger station in the early 1900s to manage part of the "Cascade Range Forest Reserve." It later became a guard station for summer crews. Currently, the Klamath Bird Observatory, under special use permit to conduct monitoring during the breeding and fall migration seasons, uses it.
There are many places to explore north and south of the guard station on the stream terraces along Sevenmile Creek and Forest Road 3300. This area has relatively undisturbed low elevation (4,200 feet) riparian forest, which was once more abundant around Upper Klamath Lake. Engelmann spruce (Picea englemnanii) and white fir (Abies concolor) now dominate these dense stands, however, occasional large black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) provide a reminder that more open conditions occurred historically. Quaking aspen is found in the openings around the guard station and along the roadsides. The combination of cottonwood and aspen create vibrant yellow colors in the fall. Common hardwood shrubs in the area include willow (Salix geyeriana and others), serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), Douglas spirea (Spiraea douglasii), and common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus).
Viewing Information: Snow generally leaves the area by early to mid June. Some of early spring wildflowers include trillium (Trillium ovatum), anemones (Anemone deltoidea and lyallii) and yellow wood violet (Viola glabella). At that time, serviceberry is also in full bloom. Later in the summer, look for starry solomon’s seal (Smilacina stellata), queencup beed lily (Clintonia uniflora) with its long paired, strap-like leaves, wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) with its heart-shaped leaves, and the delicate foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata). Douglas spirea produces showy upright clusters of rose-colored flowers that last into late summer. Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), prince’s pine (Chimaphila umbellata), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) form trailing ground covers. Although common in western Oregon, this is one of the few places in Klamath County where wild ginger and bunchberry can be found. Prickly currant (Ribes lacustre) and big huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum) grow along some of the springs and provide a tasty treat in mid summer. Around some of the sunny seeps, look for leopard lily (Lilium pardalinum), bigleaf lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), and swamp onion (Allium validum). In addition to having a large diversity of plants, this area is also a great place for bird watching, and is included as one of the stops on the Klamath Basin Birding Trail.
Safety First: Be prepared for mosquitoes throughout most of the spring and summer. A mix of ownerships occurs along Forest Road 3300, please pay attention to boundary signs and respect private ownerships. Forest Road 3300 is a windy, narrow gravel road with small pullouts, so watch for other vehicles. If you visit the area during the fall deer and elk seasons, wear safety orange and be aware of hunting activities.
Directions: From Klamath Falls go north approximately 21 miles on US 97 and turn west onto OR 62. Take OR 62 to the small town of Fort Klamath. At Fort Klamath, turn west on to Nicholson Road (paved); this takes you to the National Forest Boundary. At this point, the paved road ends and becomes Forest Road 3300. The Guard Station can be seen just ahead at the junction with Forest Road 3200. Forest Road 3300 continues west and turns south, connecting with the Westside Road. This whole area provides an interesting mix of riparian forest, springs, and seeps.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Fremont-Winema National Forest, Klamath Ranger District.
Closest Town: Fort Klamath, Oregon.