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Spring flowers bloom around vernal pools on the rim of Upper Table Rock. Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta

Explore the Rocks

A popular spring hike series on the Table Rocks is back with new and old favorites as the program marks its 30th season of shepherding hikers on learning and viewing trips to the Rogue Valley's most iconic feature.

The weekend hike series started early this year, with a hike in February and two in March. The hikes continue Saturday and run through May with a series of topical outings organized by the Bureau of Land Management and The Nature Conservancy, which own and manage Upper and Lower Table Rocks.

Back from last year is "Camp White: Alcatraz of Boot Camps," a trek April 24 to view the remnants of pill boxes and shooting ranges from the World War II-era Camp White, which dominated what is now White City.

The area is part of the Table Rocks holdings, and managers eye it for future trail development, says Molly Allen, BLM's educational instructor here.

"We want to develop trails to help tell the Camp White story," Allen says. "It's a story a lot of people don't know about here."

Because the area lacks trails and has limited parking, the Camp White hike is limited to 15 people, Allen says.

Returning after a several-year absence is urban forester Tal Blankenship, whose 9 a.m. hike Saturday will discuss the benefits of growing native plants.

"People are always interested in native plants, and now is the time to propagate them," Allen says.

This year's series will include three wildflower hikes, Allen says. "There's such a demand for it. We're having waiting lists of 15 people or more, so it's nice to have more of those," she says.

Everyone is welcome to sign up, but reservations are required. Space is limited for most hikes to 20 people, unless otherwise noted.

Register online at http://TableRockHikes2016.eventbrite.com. For telephone registration and more information, call the BLM at 541-618-2200, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The hikes traverse moderately graded trails and cover three to five miles round-trip, and they generally last three to five hours.

Hikers should dress for the weather and bring lunch or snacks and plenty of water because there is no drinking water on the trails. Dogs and bikes are not allowed.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the April 30 hike instead will be an environmental-education day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking will be available for the event at Sams Valley Elementary School, and a shuttle will be offered to and from the Lower Table Rock trail throughout the day.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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