The Trust for Public Land, Community Partners Working to Conserve Spence Mountain

July 6, 2021
Klamath Falls, Ore.

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the Klamath Trails Alliance and local partners, is working to purchase and conserve Spence Mountain and transfer ownership of the property to the Klamath County. 

 “The protection of Spence Mountain and its network of hiking and biking trails has truly been a community effort and would not have been possible without the support of many local groups like the Klamath County Commissioners and Klamath Trails Alliance,” said Kristin Kovalik, Oregon Director of Land Conservation for The Trust for Public Land. “Expanded public access here will strengthen the local recreation economy, allowing businesses and residents to benefit from this shared community asset.” 

Located 20-minutes north of Klamath Falls, on the shores of Upper Klamath Lake, the 7,500-acre forest will protect important habitat for endangered species within the Klamath Basin, and State Wildlife Areas, and prevent encroachment on nearby landscapes.  

Sustainable timberland management will be incorporated into the overall plan for the property to generate revenue and strengthen forest resilience to prevent and mitigate catastrophic wildfires. 

“Spence Mountain has become a focal point of Klamath County’s tourism destination points,” said Commissioner Derrick DeGroot. “This community treasure will continue to be developed and preserved for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike.”   

“This project is in line with our goals of improving the livability and attractiveness of our community,” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris. “The concept of place making is big in the economic development landscape, and this is one of those assets that improves where we live.” 

Klamath Trails Alliance, which has already built over 40 miles of trails on the property will continue to manage the trail network, creating a regional biking and recreation destination. Expanded public access will strengthen the local recreation economy, allowing local businesses and residents to benefit from this shared community asset. 

“The Trust for Public Land has been a wonderful partner and the goal line is finally in sight,” said Drew Honzel with the Klamath Trails Alliance. “Acquisition and transfer of ownership to Klamath County will ensure the trail system is locally managed and remains open to the public for all to enjoy.” 

While funding for the project is ongoing, we’re only $200,000 away from our fundraising goal for the project. 

Thanks to the historic permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund enacted in the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020, Spence Mountain is in line to receive a total of $4.6 million in conservation funding from the Forest Legacy Program of the U.S. Forest Service. Blue Zones Klamath and the Udall Foundation have identified the benefits to health and wellbeing provided by local access to Spence Mountain, and are investing in community programs that promote health, environmental stewardship, and cultural awareness via time spent outside.  

The Trust for Public Land and community partners are also honored to have the unanimous support of the Klamath County Commissioners and the support of from U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for the project’s appropriations from the Forest Legacy Program. 

### 

About The Trust for Public Land  

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.