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Old-Growth Stand Takes Visitors back in Time

Every traveler discovers that history isn’t found only in books, movies or online; it can be experienced in person. The Frances Shrader Old Growth Trail east of Gold Beach, Ore., offers that opportunity.

Hiking the easy, one-mile trail, visitors enter a microcosmic old-growth forest like those that covered much of Oregon when the first explorers opened the West to U.S. expansion and timber exploitation.

Gabriel Howe, executive director of the Siskiyou Mountain Club, writing in the Medford Mail-Tribune, describes 6-foot-thick Douglas fir trunks that “shoot skyward hundreds of feet.” The 200-year-old trees provide a broken canopy above an undergrowth of shrubs such as rhododendron and azaleas, which give way to ferns, moss, lichen and fibrous shrubs on the forest floor. “This forest is what Southern Oregon's Coast Range used to look like,” Howe says.

Millennia-old Tanoaks, some 3-feet thick, take hikers even further back in time.

The trail is dedicated to Frances Shrader, a longtime Forest Service employee involved in its development.  The trailhead is about 10 miles east of Gold Beach, Ore.  Brochures are available at the Gold Beach Ranger Station or online.


Howe, Gabriel. "Frances Shrader Old Growth Trail provides glimpse into the past." Mail Tribune 19 Feb. 2016 [Medford, Ore.], e-edition ed. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20160219/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/160219668;

For brochure: "Francis Shrader Old-Growth Trail Complete Trail Guide." Trails.com. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. . Bottom of Form

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.