Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Applegate Ranger District

Welcome to the Applegate Ranger District of the Rogue River National Forest. Our Ranger District Office is also known as the Star Ranger Station.

The Applegate Ranger District is located 14 miles south of Jacksonville in the Applegate Valley of the Siskiyou Mountains. It is bordered by the Klamath National Forest to the south and the Siskiyou National Forest to the west. It encompasses 219,000 acres of forest land, 53,800 acres of which are in California. The districts average rainfall is 25 1/2 inches per year, temperatures range from Winter 20/55 - Summer 45/100.

The Siskiyou Mountains, the home of the Applegate Ranger District, are unusual because they run east and west to form a bridge connecting the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains. This connection allows plant species from these different regions to meet and intermix. The plant communities range from low elevation (1600 ft above sea level) grassland white oak communities to high elevation (7418 ft above sea level) alpine meadow communities with mixtures of conifer hardwood communities in between. Four conifer species that are rather rare to this area are the Alaska yellow cedar, Baker's cypress, brewer's spruce and the Pacific silver fir. These four species are found among the thirteen different species of evergreen conifers on the district.

Most of the 20,234 acre Red Buttes Wilderness area is located on the Applegate Ranger District. This scenic terrain carved by ancient small glaciers, is composed of weathered peridotite and serpentine, supporting a number of unusual plant species. The elevations within the wilderness range from 3,000 to 6,894 feet. There are approximately 30 miles of trail of varying degrees of skill levels taking the hiker past lakes, meadows, and breathtaking views. In 1984 Congress designated the Red Buttes area a wilderness.

The Applegate River originates and flows through the Applegate Ranger District. Anadromous fish species such as silver and chinook salmon and steelhead, spawn and are reared in the Applegate River before making their way to the ocean via the Rogue River. Wildlife such as deer, turkey, occasional elk, and black bear, make their home along the river and within the forest lands and meadows of the district.

Ten miles up the Applegate River from the Ranger Station is the Applegate Dam and 988 acre reservoir, Applegate Lake. Construction was begun by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1976 and completed in 1980. It is the second of three multi-purpose water resource projects authorized for the Rogue Basin.The reservoir provides irrigation and flood protection for the lower Applegate Valley and enhances the fishery through maintaining higher and cooler water levels in the lower river. The lake extends to the California border and a hiking trail follows the 18 mile shoreline. The Forest Service is responsible for the maintenance of the 10 campgrounds, viewpoints, and trail system around the lake. Hart-Tish park, primarily a day use facility with limited camping, is one of the few Forest Service parks with several acres of beautifully groomed lawn sloping down to the water's edge. From Hart-Tish one can look south across the lake to the peaks of the majestic Red Butte Wilderness.

Seven miles up Squaw Creek Road, a predominantly gravel road across the Applegate Dam, lie Squaw Lakes. Squaw Lake, the larger of the two lakes, covers 48 acres and is 110 feet deep. Little Squaw Lake covers 20 acres and is 52 feet deep. The larger lake has a dam and outlet owned and operated by the Squaw Creek Improvement District, a small group of landowners. Both lakes are popular camping and fishing lakes. One might expect to catch crappie, catfish, bass and rainbow or cutthroat trout.

In 1972 the Forest Service acquired the lakes from Squaw Lakes, Inc. through a land exchange. Before the exchange the area was used heavily by cattle and as a pay-type campground by the owners, where vehicles and boats had easy access to the larger lake. The Forest Service withdrew from mineral entry, 540 acres surrounding the lake, fenced out the cattle, and restricted vehicle access to Forest Service vehicles only, to preserve the natural appearance of the land surrounding the lakes, minimize soil disturbance, and protect the quality of the water in the lakes and springs adjacent to them.

Ten permittees make up the Range program for the Applegate Ranger District, 1,052 head are grazed on six different allotments which total 197,105 acres.

Six miles north of Applegate Ranger District is Ruch, a small community with an elementary school, two churches, 2 grocery stores, a service station, three restaurants, and a small shopping center. Jacksonville, the nearest community of any real size, with a population of approximately 2000, is located 14 miles north of the district. Nineteen miles away in the Rogue Valley is Medford, a full service community of 46,000. Southern Oregon State College is located in nearby Ashland.

Applegate Ranger District
Erin Connelly, District Ranger
6941 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville
Oregon 97530-9314
Voice: (541) 899-3800
FAX: (541) 858-2401