Vesper Meadow site
a Restoration Preserve
Our Primary Outpost
A Restoration and demonstration site for the Vesper Meadow Education program
Vesper Meadow is an upland wet meadow surrounded by mixed conifer forest in the southern Cascades. Situated on the high divide of Dead Indian Plateau, it serves as headwaters for two major Pacific Northwest Coast watersheds: the Rogue River and Klamath River basins.
Recently protected by a private conservation buyer in June 2018, Vesper Meadow is now a rare upland meadow site that prioritizes native food plant cultivation and ecological values. We are managing for imperiled species, the native plant community, biodiversity, and wild foods.
With collaboration from a wide-array of local partners, public involvement in restoration activities, scientific monitoring and observation programs, education and nature-inspired art classes, we are developing a culture of environmental stewardship, nature-connection, and a model for community-based restoration.
Get to know Vesper Meadow
Vesper Meadow has long been a rich food place for people. Archeological evidence suggests that it has long been utilized by people as far back as 3,000 years ago.
Vesper Meadow is situated close to the headwaters of Dead Indian Creek and a large camas lily filled meadow, which likely refers to the Upper Latgawa camas gathering placed called Ti’nth, described by Latgawa elder Molly Orton in a 1933 interview with ethnographer John Peabody Harrington. It is also likely that this upland site was inhabited seasonally during warmer months by other native people of the Shasta, and possibly Klamath, Mollala, and Takelma groups.
Other culturally significant species that can still be found at Vesper Meadow include serviceberry, brodiaea, oceanspray, yamhap, Klamath plum, yarrow, nettle leaf horse mint, service berry, camas, various grasses, incense cedar, willow, pine, aspen, etc. Hunting of big game animals, largescale camas, acorn, and pine seed processing, in addition to the collection of seeds through broadcast burning may have occurred nearby.
Changing beauty through the seasons
In addition to native food plants, the seasonal attractions of Vesper Meadow currently include golden groves of aspen trees in the autumn, the snowy meadow expanse in winter, and colorful fields of spring blooms and butterflies. Breathtaking views of Mt. McLaughlin and starry nights can be enjoyed throughout the year.
A refuge for wildlife
Both the forest and meadow habitat are home to charismatic bird species like Great Gray Owls, Sandhill Cranes, Wilson’s Snipe, and our namesake species, the Vesper Sparrow. The creek in the meadow is a haven for bird species, small mammals, river otter, snakes, and herds of elk. Though it has been a few years since beaver have been seen in the meadow, we hope that our restoration efforts will once again make it a hospitable place for these ecological keystone creatures.
Visit Vesper Meadow
In southwest Oregon, just 30 minutes east of the City of Ashland, and 45 minutes west of Klamath Falls, Vesper Meadow is accessed via Dead Indian Memorial Road. This is a perfect place for a day-long field trip or afternoon workshop. If you choose to stay longer in the warm season, multiple campgrounds are available at the nearby Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake Reservoirs.
Access to this private preserve is by participation in public events, volunteer work parties, and educational workshops. Come get involved!