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Oregon Caves’ Mount Elijah offers Spectacular Views

Mount Elijah, a peak formerly known as Sand Mountain, overlooks the Oregon Caves in the mountainous terrain of the Illinois Valley in Oregon’s southwest corner.

The caves and 480 surrounding acres became a National Monument in 1909.  Discovery of the caves came much earlier when Elijah Davidson came upon them in late November 1874 while on a bear hunt.  Mount Elijah was named in his honor.

Although the Takelma Indians had lived in the region for thousands of years, no evidence has been found of indigenous use of the marbled cave.

During the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps developed the caves and immediate surroundings.  In 2014 Congress added 4,000 acres to the monument as a preserve.

The trail that starts at the visitor center is one of the best ways to see the mountain.  It passes through a thick, mixed forest of Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, incense cedar, Pacific dogwoods and sugar pines on the way to the 6,390-foot summit.  The climate on top is mild even in summer and the spectacular views include Mount Shasta in California.

"Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve: Elijah Davidson." Find Your Park. National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016. Web. 27 June 2016. https://www.nps.gov/orca/learn/historyculture/elijah-davidson.htm; "Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve." Wikipedia. 4 June 2016. Web. 27 June 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Caves_National_Monument_and_Preserve;  "Mt. Elijah." Trip Advisor. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 June 2016. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Caves_National_Monument_and_Preserve

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Emily Blakely has published poetry and prose, and frequently displayed framed works at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center as well as restaurants and libraries in the area. Her interest in writing for JPR’s "As It Was" program came from hearing Kernan Turner speak at her writer’s group meeting, and she has found it to be beneficial in developing her writing skill. Researching local history has become one of her favorite pastimes.