My View – April 2015

I’m at my desk typing this column—on a perfect spring day—thinking I should be taking a long walk on one of the Jacksonville Woodlands trails instead! It’s one of those days when it’s a shame to be indoors when there’s so much to see and do outside.

As I strolled into work a few hours ago, there were reminders all around that winter is well-behind us and that warm, sunny days are ahead. Throughout town, trees are leafing-out and wildflowers are everywhere, especially in the woodlands. On patches of the Woodland and Forest Park trails, in the cemetery and in other spots, the lucky amongst us have already spotted Jacksonville’s famous Gentner’s Fritillary – an exceptionally rare and endangered species of lily that only blooms for a few weeks every year in certain parts of Southern Oregon.

This time of year, there’s much to look forward to and much to be thankful for, as well. All in all, I’d say the “state of the town” is likely better than most—we live in an exceptional corner of the world, surrounded by exceptional citizens from near and far…lots of whom are connected, caring, concerned, and contributing.

One group of concerned citizens was a visionary band of volunteers led by Phil Gahr and Larry Smith—a group that succeeded in pulling-off a masterful plan that was hatched 25 years ago this month! That group, of course, is the Jacksonville Woodlands Association—a consortium responsible for saving and protecting hundreds of acres of open space and developing what is now considered a world-class system of hiking trails surrounding our village.

Today, Jacksonville is a well-preserved living museum-of-a-town that’s become best known for its food, music, art, shopping and wine scenes. And, thanks to that visionary band of daring volunteers, and a group of present-day volunteers, the Jacksonville Woodlands and Forest Park trail systems have made Jacksonville the “Hiking Capital of Southern Oregon.”

Please come out and show your support for this marvelous achievement by joining the Jacksonville Woodlands Association at its 25th-annual Hike-a-Thon starting at 9:30am on April 19 at Doc Griffin Park. For more on this very special event, please read, “A Celebration of 25 Years in Support of the Jacksonville Woodlands,” by JWA President Charley Wilson on page 34 of this issue.

I look forward to seeing you out and about on a hiking trail in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!