So Just What is a Land Trust Anyway?

Green Island is a place protected by us, your local land trust! Photo by Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon.
As we gear up for Get Outdoors Day alongside 12 other land trusts across Oregon, we are starting to hear a question repeated over and over. What’s a land trust?

When you join us on Green Island or at one of our other many events on the land, you will be standing on land protected by McKenzie River Trust. We are one of more than 1,700 non-profit land trusts around the country. Collectively, land trusts have protected over 47 million acres of wildlife habitat, working farms, forests, wetlands, trails, scenic vistas, parks, and community gardens!

What’s a Land Trust?

A land trust is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect, preserve, and steward special lands by working with willing landowners and various community partners.

The two most widely used tools to accomplish this mission are conservation easements and fee-title purchase. In the case of Green Island, the Green family wished to see this land remain undeveloped, so they sold the property to MRT in 2003. Whatever tool is used to conserve land, most importantly, a landowner gets the assurance of knowing that the place she loves will be cared for by the land trust and its partners forever.

Oregon’s Land Trusts

Nootka rose is one of many native plants found on lands protected by the McKenzie River Trust. Photo by Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon.
From the coastal estuaries in Nehalem to the magnificent Wallowas, Oregon land trusts work to protect the unique character and beauty of our home. Together, Oregon land trusts have protected 402,523 acres of land. That is nearly four times the amount of land in the Oregon State Parks system!

In every city and town across Oregon, there is a local land trust working to protect and care for that place. Land trusts are accountable to their communities, with local people serving on their boards and volunteering to care for the land. Land trusts are non-regulatory, providing incentives for private landowners to conserve their land for the good of all Oregonians.

How the Land Trust Serves Green Island

Since we acquired Green Island, we’ve been working with many partners to restore what we call a Living River. To us that means river banks and floodplains thick with native trees, grasses, and wildflowers; a river that can meander and move and change over time. It also means clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and great opportunities for people to connect, as you are today. Thanks for being a part of such an effort, something that will long outlive us all.

Land trusts rely on community support, and McKenzie River Trust is no different. Please consider joining us as a member or volunteer today!

New quilt showcases McKenzie River Watershed


“My family and I have been boating on the McKenzie River since 1981 and we love this place,” says Mary Nyquist Koons, a member of the McKenzie River Trust with her husband, James, since 2009. “As members of the Trust we discovered we could help protect this beautiful, sacred river and land with a financial gift. We hope others will join us.”

After touring MRT’s Finn Rock Reach property last fall and watching salmon spawning in their homewaters, Mary began thinking about this special place in a different way. “The stretch of river at Finn Rock is one of my favorite places in all of Oregon – and I wanted to understand how it related to the rest of the watershed.”

“I love maps, I love the McKenzie River and I love quilts. So I thought, why not put them all together?”

First Mary studied a BLM map that MRT executive director Joe Moll lent her; the river was so small that it was hard to find in places. “It’s easy to see the relationship of the rivers on this quilt map. The process of translating the map into textiles was a visual and tactile experience for me. This project gave me the chance to understand how these places fit within the bigger picture of the watershed. Now when I’m in the field, I know where I am.”

“This quilt is my gift of hope for the preservation and celebration of the McKenzie River. I hope it’s something that MRT can use to share with others to help them visually understand the river through art.” Quilt maps are a bit unusual in the quilt world. “This quilt is a great combination of what I know and love. I sew. I boat. I drink the water.”

The McKenzie River Watershed quilt hangs in the MRT office. Feel free to stop by and take in the many intricate details of place that are sewn into this beautiful art piece.

Become a Member

Membership Campaign: April 1 – 30, 2014

For nearly 25 years, people like you have helped the McKenzie River Trust conserve over 4,000 acres of lands and waters that cradle us in western Oregon. Now we’re coming to you with a special request:

Will you join us as a member to build the next 25 years of conservation success?

Your membership gift today will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. This offer is only available from April 1 – 30, so we’re asking you to GIVE NOW.

Membership FAQ

How do I become a member?

To become a member, simply make a donation through our secure online server at mckenzieriver.org. Or mail a check to: McKenzie River Trust, 1245 Pearl St, Eugene OR 97401. A gift of any size qualifies you as a member. Please give generously!

But I thought I was already a member….?

In fact, a membership program is a new thing for us. We have always valued our many supporters. You are the reason we can protect and care for land! But during our Living River Celebration last June, we realized how many people wanted a closer connection, a shared identity as members of MRT. So we are kicking off that program now.

Why should I become a member?

With your membership gift today, you will be part of a local organization that looks at conservation projects with the long term in mind. Without the support of people like you, we would not be here today.

Every week, we receive calls from landowners wanting to know how they can protect the land they cherish. Our mission is to help them achieve their vision for the future of these lands and to share the fruits of good land stewardship – clean water, nourishing foods, abundant fish and wildlife, memorable experiences in nature – with everyone.

By joining as a member of the McKenzie River Trust, you will help sustain those very values and our ability to protect them for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Why are you doing this now?

Over the years, many people have asked us how they can become members. And we’ve heard you loud and clear: you want a closer connection with the McKenzie River Trust and a way to identify other people who care about our clean water, fish, wildlife, and natural areas.

Today, we’re responding to your call. Our members, committed friends in our community who help protect and care for the special places that surround us, will be the core of what we do. Members will provide a stable base of support for us to get our boots on the ground, pursuing the next big land conservation opportunity. Within a few years, we hope to have 1,000 members.

What is the matching gift challenge?

Our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs are offering a matching gift challenge for all donations during the month of April. When you make a membership gift to the McKenzie River Trust from April 1st to 30th, your donation will be matched by Mountain Rose Herbs dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. And if you give $100 or more you’ll receive our new MRT ceramic mug.

What are the benefits of a McKenzie River Trust membership?

You might be wondering: What do I get for my membership gift?

  • You will receive news about conservation on a regular basis by the means you choose: print newsletter, email, social media. You just let us know.
  • You’ll also get invitations to regular tours and events, including our annual Living River Celebration.
  • And you’ll be contributing to all of our projects, current and future.
  • As a member, you’ll also be able to spend time with other members, people like you who love western Oregon and its natural splendors.

What kinds of people are members?

Anglers, birders, bakers, painters, runners, walkers, bee-keepers, boaters, brewers – all are a part of our growing circle of friends who care for the lands and rivers of western Oregon.

So please join them today with your membership donation to the McKenzie River Trust. And invite your friends to do the same. And celebrate with us on Saturday, June 28, when the Living River Celebration returns to Green Island.

Thanks for your consideration.

Thankful for… you!

Giving Thanks

A few reasons why we are thankful this season…

Joe Moll, Executive Director
I’m thankful for waterfowl at sunrise, fresh blueberries for a mid-morning snack, an afternoon nap beneath gold quaking aspen, an evening hatch on the river, and an owl’s call at lights-out, each and every day.

Charlie Ward, Board President
I am most thankful this year and throughout my long association with MRT for the collaborative approach this organization takes to accomplish its work. People from varied backgrounds, income levels, and political views working together to move us to a more sustainable landscape. How refreshing on the heals of this election season!

Jodi Lemmer, Land Steward
My job involves land restoration, care, respect for, and continued maintenance, of our conserved lands. I’m thankful that every day I get to interact with these special lands and the very special people who share this stewardship ethic and help us carry out our mission.

Ryan Ruggiero, Land Protection Manager
Landowners who are dedicated to their land and its future compel me to bring my best effort to my work each day. I am continually inspired that they can look both backward and forward and consider the legacy they want to leave for both past and future generations. It is truly humbling to be a part of something with such endurance.

Chris Vogel, Green Island Project Manager
The Willamette Valley floodplain is always active. I am thankful to work in a setting where I regularly witness gravel bar formations, seasonal flooding, and migrations of fish and wildlife. Green Island looks different to me every time I set foot on the ground, and MRT continues to grow our support and partnerships. Together, we have great opportunities to strengthen the Green Island project.

Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager
From volunteers to local businesses, from fly fisherman to birders, colleagues and partners to our very committed supporters – when I come to work each day I am surrounded by a community of individuals who inspire me. People that are passionate about the same things I am, helping to preserve the remarkable landscapes and waterways that surround us. I was born here. I used to take living here for granted, but I have come to realize how fortunate I truly am.

Liz Lawrence, Director of Resources
As I bike to work each day beside the rushing waters of our valley’s namesake river, I’m often reminded that we live in one of the most amazing places on the planet. I’m grateful to all of you who join us on the ground to see firsthand how your donations help protect the lands and waters that nourish our communities.

Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager
I am continually moved by the dedication and land ethic of the private landowners we get to work with at the McKenzie River Trust. I am so thankful for the trust and relationships we have formed with these unique people.

Dane Moeggenberg, Stewardship Technician
I am thankful that there is an organization devoted to the protection of lands and rivers in Western Oregon. I am thankful that I am physically able to perform my stewardship duties. I am thankful for the people that I work with, the knowledge I am gaining, and the network of support in the area.

Most of all, we are thankful for you!

Your support is critical to protect and care for special lands in our region.

If you are on our mailing list, you will soon receive a letter asking for your donation. Inside the envelope, you will also find a small token of our appreciation. To provide a head-start to our year-end fundraising campaign, you can GIVE NOW through our secure online server.

We are thankful to have supporters who are so committed to our local land conservation work. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!

2011 Annual Report Available Now

Annual report highlights:

  • Ferguson Creek Conservation Easement established in the Long Tom Watershed – 62 acres of meandering streamside habitat protected.
  • $1.01 million in grants and contracts secured for land conservation projects by MRT staff.
  • Continued restoration on Green Island, including planting more than 5,300 native trees to restore the floodplain forest.
  • A 21% increase in the number of people who made a donation to MRT from 2010 to 2011.

Read the full report on our Annual Report page, or download a pdf (2 MB).

The health of our local communities is reflected in the health of the natural areas that surround us. Thank you for your donations to support land conservation in western Oregon!

If you have any questions about our Annual Report, please contact our office at 541-345-2799.

Two new faces

Staff Update

With the buzz of bees and dragonflies, birds fledging, and the native plants (and weeds, too) growing like mad, we know that spring is just about behind us! Just days away from summer solstice, we’re very excited to welcome two new faces around the office and our protected lands.

Robin Meacher – Legal Intern

Robin joins us this summer to research legal issues and tools the McKenzie River Trust uses to achieve our conservation goals. She will begin her second year as a law student at the University of Oregon in the fall. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Between her undergraduate work and law school, Robin studied resource management and anthropology in the Solomon Islands, and worked with a community organization focused on citizen engagement in the land use process in Santa Barbara. Having grown up in Northeastern California and spending the last six years in Southern California, Robin uses whatever spare time she gets exploring Oregon.

Dane Moeggenberg – Summer Field Technician

Dane will spend the summer working on Green Island, assisting with stewardship of the more than 1,000 acres of floodplain restoration there. Dane has a bachelor’s degree in Freshwater Resource Management from Indiana University. He has been working in land management for about two years: first as a Conservation Technician in Traverse City, Michigan, then as a Crew Supervisor with Lane-Metro Youth Corps here in Eugene. He enjoys cooking, hiking, and exploring Oregon on his motorcycle. He has a passion for the protection and enhancement of freshwater ecosystems and is very excited to be with the Trust this summer.

Rockclimber Stanhope’s talk at Backcountry Gear benefits McKenzie River Trust

Backcountry Gear Presents: Will Stanhope

Friday, May 4th at Backcountry Gear

Doors: 6:30 pm Show: 8:00 pm
1855 W. 2nd Ave. Eugene
$10 general admission / $5 students

We’re excited – stoked, even – to announce that Backcountry Gear will be presenting a talk by renowned rockclimber Will Stanhope. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the McKenzie River Trust’s work to protect and care for the special landscapes that surround us right here in western Oregon. Please join us!

 

Welcome to Our New Website!

Dear Visitor,

Thanks for your interest in the McKenzie River Trust! We recently updated the look and feel of our website, as well as the organization of information to make it more accessible to you. We’ve been hard at work to make the site more user-friendly and accessible. New content is being added every day.

Please let us know what you think of the new site!

Here are some elements to explore:

— New property pages highlighting the most important and exciting elements of our 3,300 acres of conservation lands. Expect more information to be added to these sections in the coming days and weeks.

— Information about how you can protect your land with a conservation easement, land donation, or voluntary sale to the McKenzie River Trust.

— Four ways you can support the McKenzie River Trust.

— An expanded events section with a page detailing our Living River Annual Event.

— A written and visual history of the McKenzie River Trust.

As we enter our 23rd year of protecting special lands in western Oregon, we thank you for your support and interest in our work.

Sincerely,

All of us at the McKenzie River Trust
Contact Us

 

Protecting Special Lands Video

Take 3 minutes to watch a video about our work protecting special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon.

Please consider making a donation to help us continue our work!

As our region grows, so must our conservation efforts. We hope you will join us as a supporter of the McKenzie River Trust.