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Wild and Scenic Film Festival Comes to Eugene

On November 14, one of the largest environmental films festivals travels to inspire your love of the outdoors. Check out our film line up and don’t forget to get your tickets!

Wild & Scenic Eugene 2019 Program

A New View of the Moon

A short film to kick things off that reminds us of our common humanity and reminds us to look up every once in a while. Watch as Wylie Overstreet takes a telescope around the streets of Los Angeles to give passersby an up-close look at a new view of the moon.

Tenkara Kid

The simple pleasure of a centuries old Japanese fishing technique and how it can bring us together with rivers and their inhabitants. This film hearkens back to the time in our youth when fishing gear was easily carried in one hand.

Carving Landscapes

Atypical for her time, Mary Vaux defies all gender roles, mountain weather, and traditions to spark the first glaciology study in North America. Her perseverance brings her back to the same glacier for five decades.

Our National Parks Belong to Everyone. So Why are They So White?

Only 20 percent of visitors to National Parks are people of color. Learn about the troubling history of public lands and to meet the conservationists of color who are trying to change the parks’ future.

Blue Carbon

Blue carbon is captured and stored by coastal wetlands, helping to mitigate climate change. This film is about mud and the multiple benefits that estuaries provide for us. Shot in the Pacific Northwest.

Chandalar

Portland-based organization called Soul River, our partner through the Willamette River Initiative, who is working to bring veterans and inner city youth together around fly fishing to heal past traumas and build a community of support.

Bring Them Home

Provides important and often neglected indigenous perspective on how to manage our wildlife and natural resources. Tribal voices tell the story of how one tribe is working to bring back the buffalo.

March of the Newts

From right here in the Great Pacific Northwest, follow one of the forest’s funkiest creatures into a gangly gathering of amphibious affection… and learn how you can help protect these sensitive animals from an emerging disease.

Carpe Diem

In a city full of people trying to catch a break, one lucky man hooks into an unexpected dream that becomes the role of a lifetime, reminding him to seize each new day as a chance to do what he loves.

Tracking Snow

Discover a novel way of studying elusive carnivores – with snow! Join scientists Jessie and Tommy as they re-purpose an old technique in a way that not only revolutionizes how we study threatened species and manage our landscapes, but also highlights the importance of collaboration in conservation.

Protected: A Wild & Scenic River Portrait

Follow river paddler, author, and conservationist Tim Palmer through the enchanting waters of Oregon’s Wild Rivers
Coast, which has the highest concentration of National Wild & Scenic Rivers in the US

Keepers of the Future

In a fertile floodplain, where the great river meets the sea, a peasant movement puts down roots – growing resilience
in the scorched earth of exile and war. But soon these farmers and fishers discover new, global challenges.

Lost in Light

Lost in Light is a short film on how light pollution affects the view of the night skies. Shot mostly in California, this piece
shows how the night sky view gets progressively better as you move away from the lights.

Wren Marsh a Key to Conservation on the Coast

Habitat Protected 10 Years Ago Expands with a Strategic Purchase

A view of Wren Marsh, a property MRT recently acquired.

In 2010, we acquired a 210-acre property between Florence and Mapleton known as Waite Ranch. This land is adjacent to Highway 126 and just upstream of Cushman Landing. It’s identified as a conservation priority because of the variety of habitat types that could be restored there. Tidal estuary and marshland are home to an abundance of fish and wildlife.

There are few of these types of habitats left on the Central Oregon Coast.
Nearly 1,000 acres of protected conservation lands surrounds Waite Ranch, which makes it an excellent candidate for restoration work. McKenzie River Trust felt the opportunity was too great to pass up, and we used our success and resources to buy the land and work alongside a variety of partners working to protect and restore coastal habitat.

On September 25th, the Trust acquired Wren Marsh, an 8-acre parcel of land across the Siuslaw River from Waite Ranch that fills one of the last remaining gaps in this conservation complex and significantly benefits restoration efforts. The Waite Ranch Restoration Project will benefit from critical cost savings thanks to this purchase. Because of the acquisition, we can remove powerlines serving Wren Marsh that cross Waite Ranch instead of re-routing them.

A Good Neighbor

MRT Stewardship Manager Jodi Lemmer and Land Owner Dick Fithian

Wren Marsh had been owned by Dick Fithian for nearly 30 years. Dick was deeply knowledgeable about the land and history of Wren Marsh and Waite Ranch, having spent much of his time as a kid visiting the land with members of the Waite family. When MRT bought Waite, Dick was there to lend a hand and an ear as MRT got to know the unique characteristics of land on the Siuslaw River. When Dick decided to sell Wren Marsh, we were grateful he chose us to continue the legacy of stewardship.

Restoring Tidal Swamp Land

The fields of Wren Marsh

The Siuslaw estuary is an idyllic marshy region; filled with the sound of frequent and varied birdsong.
Over the years, development caused estuaries like this to be diked, drained, and converted, eliminating habitat needed for young fish and shellfish to thrive. Studies from the 70’s and early 80’s first showed the important roles that estuaries play for fish. More recent local studies have shown the import role restoration can play in the recovery of our fisheries.
While there has been great success in preserving land in the Siuslaw estuary, areas like Waite Ranch and Wren Marsh remain degraded by blocked fish passage, loss of tidal channels, lack of habitat diversity, and poor water quality during summer months.

The dock at Waite Ranch, the property across the river from Wren Marsh

Approximately 200 acres of tidal estuary habitat are expected to result from planned restoration efforts, along with about 10 miles of tidal channel. This habitat could offer a home and refuge for many sensitive fish and wildlife species, including American bald eagles, shorebirds like the short billed dowitcher, and native fish such as coastal coho, steelhead, and Chinook salmon.

McKenzie River Trust on the Oregon Coast

A puprle martin rests at Waite Ranch on the Siuslaw. Photo: Jim Regali

The success of our conservation work in the McKenzie River watershed brought McKenzie River Trust to lend a hand to other vital watersheds. Our first project on the central coast was in 2007 and we continue to protect more land in the region.

The Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, the Siuslaw Watershed Council, and a network of government agencies are our partners in conservation in this region. Together, our knowledge, technical expertise, and flexibility expands the capability to preserve coastal lands and waters.

A no-interest loan to the Trust from local donors made this purchase possible. We are very grateful for the support of our members. We can expand our mission to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in Western Oregon.

How You Can Help

We are looking for more strategic partners in connecting coastal community members to our lands and our work. Please encourage anyone you know to join. Next year, we will see more volunteer and tour opportunities to help connect our members to this vital estuary.

McKenzie River Trust 30th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrate with us as we commemorate 30 years of conservation work in Western Oregon. Connect with other supporters, staff, and volunteers. Enjoy appetizers, and of course, birthday cake!

Space is limited for this event, so it is very important that you send in your RSVP by November 8! Please RSVP now by clicking here.

This event is a casual celebration. Feel free to drop in any time and say hello. We will have photo booths and a couple of ways to connect with others and share your memories.

Freshwater Mussels in our Rivers

Emilie Blevins from the Xerces Society talking to McKenzier River Trust volunteers about freshwater mussel traits and habitats.

On Friday, August 2nd, MRT staff and volunteers met at our Finn Rock Reach property to learn about freshwater mussels. We were lucky to host Emilie Blevins of the Xerces Society. She gave a talk about the importance of mussels to watershed environments and showed volunteers what to look for during a survey.

Emilie provided the group with a guide to freshwater mussels and brought some examples of mussel shells found in Oregon. The western pearlshell is the species we were most likely to find in our Finn Rock Reach survey. The Xerces society focuses on conserving invertebrate habitats.

Emilie showing the volunteers what to look for while surveying for mussels.

The Importance of Freshwater Mussels

Freshwater mussels provide food for a variety of wildlife. In addition, they are beneficial to water quality, processing nutrients, and supporting habitats. They filter tiny suspended materials such as algae, bacteria, and zooplankton that bottom dwelling animals can feed on. 

One mussel can filter up to 15 gallons of water a day. They can also live to be over 100 years old! Due to their age, they also retain essential minerals. Mussels may improve habitat quality and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates (Known as “benthos”) like caddisflies, dragon & damsel flies, and crayfish. Mussel movements stir oxygen and nutrients into the sediment and water, similar to how earthworms in your garden help your soil. Further, mussel shells provide a surface for algae and animals (such as sponges and insect larvae) to attach.

Mussels played an important role for humans historically. Native populations ate mussels in seasons when food was scarce and used shells for tool parts. Mussels were also exploited commercial for the button industry in the 19th century and later to cultivate freshwater pearls. 

Conservation of Mussels

There are nearly 300 species of mussels documented in the United States. Thirty five species have gone extinct over the last century. The Endangered Species Act lists 25% of mussel species. States across the country list 75% of mussel species as threatened or endanged. 

Support has grown for mussel conservation in recent years, as scientists and conservationists are learning the strong correlation between healthy mussel beds and healthy salmon runs.

In Oregon, the Umatilla and Warm Springs Native American tribes are conducting research and working to conserve mussel populations. Other organizations like the Willamette Riverkeeper and the Xerces Society also conduct mussel research. McKenzie River Trust hopes to find or restore mussel beds in our properties along the McKenzie River at Finn Rock Reach and beyond. 

Mussel Surveying

People are welcome to search for mussels and report any findings with photos to the McKenzie River Trust. Be sure not to remove the mussels from their habitat or harm them in the process of your discovery. 

Volunteers all geared up to search McKenzie River shores for mussels

Emilie taught the Friends of Finn Rock group to look for mussels in shallow, slow moving waters. A glass bucket or aqua viewing tube helps to see under the water. For advanced swimmers, snorkeling is also an option for surveying mussels. While our group didn’t find any mussels in this survey, the life we found was exciting. They noted seeing Chinook salmon hatchlings, caddisflies, a lamprey, and crayfish.

Would you like to participate in future community science surveys and projects? Sign up for our volunteer team today!

Native Oaks Ridge Protected!

326 acres protected for conservation in the Row River Drainage

Photos by Matt McRae

The tangled branches of a gnarled Oregon white oak glisten as the sun makes its way out from behind a cloud. Landowners Linda and Doug Carnine look out at this 326-acre expanse of oak savanna, oak woodland, upland prairie and conifer forest above the Row River. They watch spring unfold on the land they have stewarded for nearly two decades with a sense of contentment and excitement.

This spring has a slightly different feel to it, however. This year the Carnines are watching the wildflowers bloom and the trees come to life on a landscape that has been protected forever through a conservation easement with the McKenzie River Trust.

The Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provided funding for the protection of this property through a competitive process within the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program.  The Willamette Wildlife Habitat Agreement, which created the funding program that funded the acquisition, was signed in October of 2010 between BPA and the state of Oregon.  This 15-year agreement provides stable funding for wildlife habitat acquisitions for more than 26,000 acres in the Willamette Valley to offset the impacts of federal dams on the Willamette River and its tributaries, as required by the Northwest Power Act. The landowners, Doug and Linda Carnine, also donated a portion of the easement value.

The Legacy of Stewardship Continues

The significance of this land is rich with a history of stewardship. Linda and Doug point out that the conservation on this land didn’t start with them.

This land is in the area of the Village of Chief Halo Tish of the Yoncalla Kalapuya Tribe. The oak savannas were used by Native Americans for harvest of important foods such as acorns and camas. The name Native Oaks Ridge honors that history.

The Carnines will continue to work with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon on managing the property.

Holistic Land Management

For years, the Carnines have enhanced this land for native plants and wildlife, encouraging a variety of habitats on land once primarily managed for timber.

Starting with the forest, they began restoring the diversity of trees. “A lot of slashpiles from timber harvests were left behind leading to a blackberry jungle,” says Linda of what the property looked like when they first bought it.

“We eradicated most of these with heavy machinery. Then we were able to replant western red cedar, valley pine and incense cedar.”

Grant funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service helped with forest management like pruning and thinning. “We wanted to include a special forest management area that offers an alternative to monoculture Douglas fir forests,” says Doug. “Species and age diversity of the trees contributes to overall forest health and provides high quality habitat for wildlife.”

The wildlife has taken notice. Between the bird activity and the bear, deer, elk, cougar, bobcat, coyote and fox signs, Native Oaks Ridge provides a home to a host of animals.

Forest management in the conservation easement ensures that the property will continue to be managed holistically. It encourages restoration of oak and prairie habitats, while allowing the landowner to thin for timber.

Restoring oak and prairie habitat

“Today, less than 2 percent of prairie and oak habitats in the Willamette Valley remain. As a result, many plants and animals dependent on these shrinking habitats are threatened or in decline,” says Amanda Gilbert, Executive Director of the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council who is a partner in restoration of this property.

One of the Carnines’ major goals for expanding wildlife habitat on the property sparked a 10-year partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Partners Program: to bring the endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly to the prairie.

The Carnines worked with the Partners Program to do a controlled burn on a part of the prairie and seed the area with golden paintbrush, a host plant for the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly.

Last summer there were 170 golden paintbrush plants counted in the prairie, making this one of the healthiest populations in south-central Oregon.

“Restoring this oak habitat will add complexity back to the landscape, which in turn will support a greater number of plant and animal species and increase landscape resiliency in the face of climate change,” says Gilbert.

“This property is an importance piece of the whole landscape. The watershed is more than just the rivers in it. What goes on in the uplands affects the rivers below,” says Joe Moll, Executive Director of McKenzie River Trust. The Row River, which feeds into the Coast Fork Willamette River, is currently the drinking water source for the City of Cottage Grove.

Improving Access to popular McKenzie River put-in

More changes coming to Finn Rock Boat Landing

Your support for conservation of 278-acre Finn Rock Reach has many payoffs, in clean water, flood resilience, and enhanced salmon spawning habitat. But the most visible public benefit is improvement of the boat landing used by hundreds of McKenzie River enthusiasts every summer day.

In 2018 MRT installed vault toilets at the site. In the works are better parking, safer and more efficient traffic flow, and new signage. Thank you to our McKenzie Homewaters Campaign donors and to our supporters at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Bonneville Power Administration, EWEB and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for making it possible.

Lessons from the River

By Barry Lopez

This essay to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act first appeared in the Patagonia November 2018 Journal. Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Only with our patient attention will a river open itself up to us. The McKenzie rushes past Finn Rock Reach near Blue River, Oregon. Photo by Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon.

Within 24 hours of noon on September 17, in any given year, spring chinook salmon arrive on gravel bars in front of my home to spawn. The females dig their redds, the males fertilize the eggs, and then both breathe their last. I’ve watched this event for 48 consecutive years on the middle reach of the McKenzie River in western Oregon. Each year I wait for the reassurance they bring, that even though things abstract and concrete are looking bad everywhere in the world, these fish are carrying on. If the salmon don’t arrive by the evening of the 17th, I walk down through the woods to stand in the dark and listen for them. I know most all the sounds this river makes, and there is no other sound like their caudal fins breaking the surface of the water as they mill. If I hear them, then I know things are good for this particular strain of salmon for at least another three years. If I don’t hear them, I toss and turn through a sleepless night and go down to look first thing in the morning.

They always arrive. I’ve never had to wait more than a few hours.

Much of what I know about integrity, constancy, power and nobility I’ve learned from this river, just as I’ve learned the opposite of these things—impotency, fecklessness, imprisonment—by walking across the dam on Blue River, a tributary of the McKenzie, and by standing on Cougar Dam on the river’s South Fork, another tributary. I stare at the reservoirs from the tops of these dams and see the stillness of the impoundments. The absence of freedom there.

I couldn’t say that I knew the McKenzie after my first year here. I had to nearly drown in it once, trying to swim across from bank to bank one day and dangerously misjudging the strength of the river’s flow. I had to watch a black bear wade through a patch of redds, biting through the spines of the adults. I had to come into the habit of walking its stony bed upstream and downstream, in daylight and at midnight, bracing myself with a hiker’s pole and calculating each slippery step, the water vibrating the pole in my hand like a bowstring and breaking hard over my thighs. I had to see how the surface of the river changed during a rainstorm, with the peening rain filling in the troughs and hammering down the crests. I had to become more than just acquainted with the phenomenon. I had to study beaver felling alders in its back eddies, great blue herons stab-fishing its shallows and lunging otters snatching its cutthroat trout. I had to understand the violet-green swallow swooping through rising hatches, and the ouzel flying blind through a water-fall. I had to watch elk swimming in the river at dusk. But still, I can’t say I know it.

As I showed continuing interest in the McKenzie over the years, the river opened up for me. I began to feel toward it as I would a person. I learned that it had emotions and moods as subtle as any animal’s. And I learned that, in some strange way, the river had become a part of me. When I was away traveling I missed it, the way you miss a close friend.

Chinook salmon at Finn Rock Reach - photo by Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon
As integral to the river as water itself, the spring chinook salmon — threatened and dwindling in number — are a harbinger of the health of the McKenzie, and in turn, our own. Photo by Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon.

The first river I developed any strong feeling for was a stretch of the Snake that winds through Jackson Hole. In 1965 I was working a summer there in Wyoming, wrangling horses and packing people into the Teton Wilderness. Some afternoons when I was free I volunteered as a swamper on float trips, eager to get a feeling for the undulation of that water. Since then I’ve been able to float the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, the upper Yukon in Alaska and the Green in Utah, gaining from them experience with more formidable water. I’ve since seen rivers far from home, like the Urubamba in Peru, perhaps the wildest river, in terms of its miles of continuous commotion, that I’ve ever stood before. And I visited some way-far-off rivers like the Onyx, a name that brings a wrinkled brow to every river rat I’ve ever mentioned it to.

The Onyx, Antarctica’s largest river, flows for only a few months in the austral summer, from the base of the Wright Lower Glacier in the Wright Valley to perennially frozen Lake Vanda. During a week I spent there once, at New Zealand’s Vanda Station on the shore of the lake, I decided to hike a few miles of the river’s north bank, wishing keenly all the while that I had a kayak. The Onyx is about 30 feet across and a foot deep, and it runs flat. A little bit of experience with the Onyx, though, helps you grasp the breadth of meaning behind the term “wild river.” The designation includes everything from the virtually unrunnable, like the Urubamba, to pristine but tame rivers, like the Onyx. I’ve also spent time in the thrall of another, singular type of wild river—ones that are perfectly runnable but that have gone, in my lifetime, from being virtually unknown to being popular destinations.

In the boreal summer of 1979, I was camped on the upper Utukok River, on the north slope of the Brooks Range in western Alaska. A wolf pack denning in a cutbank there interested my friend Bob Stephenson, a wolf biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and me. We’d set up our tent on a rise on the opposite side of the river, about 500 yards away. During the week we spent there, we not only saw no person except the bush pilot who brought us in, but also no evidence of anything from the man-made world. A tundra grizzly had torn up a ground squirrel’s burrow 20 yards from the tent just before we arrived. We watched wolves hunting every day. We saw gyrfalcons, snow buntings, horned larks and jaegers on their nests. One night, 30 or so caribou crossed the river in front of us at a run, throwing up great sheets of water—diamonds backlit by a late-night sun.

When Bob died last year, we held a memorial service for him in Fairbanks, and I caught up with a retired biologist I’d known at the department who told me that commercial float trips now take people regularly down the Utukok. It’s certainly a wild river, providing an unforgettable experience for adventurers, some of whom have become river activists as a result. To my way of thinking, however, the Utukok is not so wild now as it was when we were camped there 40 years ago, when the country, for as far as you could see, belonged to the animals.

Home from some trip and back here on the banks of the McKenzie, I always feel that I’ve come back together again as a person. In spring, when I notice the first few flowers blooming in the riparian zone—trillium, yellow violet, purple grouse flower, deer’s head orchid—I’m aware of similar changes in myself. I’ve lived here long enough now—intimate with the McKenzie’s low- and high- water stages, its winter colors, its harlequin ducks, its log jams, and aerial plankton (tens of thousands of spiders “balloon drifting” in summer on breezes above the river)—to know that without this river I’m less. Listening to osprey strike the river, watching common mergansers shooting past me at 60 miles an hour, a foot off the water, hearing the surging wind roiling the leaves of black cottonwoods close around me, I become whole again.

Many people, I have to think, have wilder and more inspiring stories to tell than I do about illuminating and staggering moments spent with a wild river. I have to believe, though, that we all share equally a love for the great range of expression this particular kind of being offers us, whether we’re with it in the moment or must call up remembered feelings from former encounters. And, of course, today we all share a fate with them, during these days of the Sixth Extinction; and we know how late it is in human history to finally be thinking about protecting rivers.

We’re only just now getting started with it. Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, 50 years ago this year. The bill was designed to protect eight different rivers from development—among them, the Middle Fork of the Clearwater in Idaho, the Eleven Point in Missouri and the Middle Fork of the Feather in California. In 1988, after another 27 rivers had slowly been incorporated into the system, Oregon passed an omnibus river bill that added another 40 rivers, including the McKenzie, each one with designated stretches of “wild,” “scenic” and “recreational” water, and each one of these sections subject to increasingly stricter levels of management. Today, there are 208 wild and scenic rivers across 40 states—12,743 miles of protected river water. It’s a paltry sum, actually, less than a quarter of 1 percent of the nation’s river miles. But each year our understanding of the nature of this kind of planetary lifeblood grows deeper. As more land trusts come into being, like the McKenzie River Trust here, the number of champions and custodians grows larger.

Fishing the McKenzie River at Finn Rock Reach, Photo by Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon
Anglers in a drift boat float through the Finn Rock Reach on the McKenzie River in western Oregon. Photo by Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon.

Over the years, I’ve learned much about the McKenzie that is obvious and much that is subtle. On this waterway that supplies the city of Eugene with virtually all of its drinking water, for example, state and federal agencies have cooperated to protect bull trout and to restore the spring chinook salmon run on the upper South Fork of the river. And for subtlety, I would offer you obsidian tools buried in the river’s riparian zone, evidence I’ve found of the very early presence of people here, some of it from before the days of the historic occupants, the Kalapuya and Molalla, tribes who traveled to the upper McKenzie in the summer to gather a great profusion of berries—blackberries, salmonberries, huckleberries, elderberries, osoberries and thimbleberries (all of which remain a priority today for local residents and others to gather).

The goal for most of us on the McKenzie today is not simply to protect the physical river from miscreants by implementing various layers of necessary regulation from ridgeline to ridgeline, but to revitalize and protect the entire community associated with the river. To help all who are interested understand that this river began its life long before human beings arrived, and that the wildness it offers us all can still be accessed, engaged and offered to our children. We’re living today, of course, in a time of true political, social and environmental upheaval and growing threat. You can select living creatures like rivers, if you choose, and take your stand with them to ensure your own future and the future of other beings. It’s a good place to be with your friends and your family, as the growing shadows blanket our skies.

On September 17, 2018, I will go down to the river and wait. I will watch for sun-light gleaming on the salmon’s caudal fins, standing proud of the surface of the water in the river’s shallows. I will smell them on the evening air and watch the males converge on the females, shouldering each other out of the way. And I will concentrate on this thought: If I do not help them to keep doing this, my days too are numbered.

About Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez, photo by David Liitschwager
Photo by David Liitschwager

Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, which won the National Book Award, and over a dozen other works of fiction and nonfiction. He writes regularly for Harper’s, Outside and numerous other journals. His next book, Horizon, will be released by Penguin Random House in March, 2019. Lopez has lived near Finn Rock since 1969. He served as the honorary chair of the McKenzie Homewaters Campaign.

Member Spotlight: XS Media

The Shire for the River campaign continues through October 26! Your gift goes twice as far with over $12,000 available in matching funds from local tech businesses. Every day, we will share the story of one campaign supporter.

Stephen Parac, COO of XS Media, shares why he supports McKenzie River Trust.

Stephen Parac shares why he supports McKenzie River Trust

Stephen is COO of XS Media, one of nine Silicon Shire technology companies offering matching dollars for this year’s Shire for the River campaign.

Why do you support McKenzie River Trust?

We all live in Oregon for a reason. We have many roots and we have family here. But ultimately, it’s a choice to live in this community, and we’re really blessed to be at the convergence of the McKenzie and Willamette.

What about McKenzie River Trust’s mission appeals to you?

I fell in love with what McKenzie River Trust does for our community. It felt like a calling, and it was something that I couldn’t ignore. It’s the water that we drink. Keeping it clean and preserved is really important. And McKenzie River Trust does so much more. They also take care of the areas around the water streams, do restoration work, build access with boat landings and more. I’ve taken advantage of hiking and watched salmon spawning, and those are the things that McKenzie River Trust protects.

How does McKenzie River Trust’s work impact you as a business owner?

As a business owner, you think about ways to have an impact, and of course, also about how to best serve your employees. We have people who like to fish on the McKenzie and hike on the McKenzie and just drive down the McKenzie. It’s so beautiful. Our employees are very passionate about doing restoration work. It’s a community-building experience for our own organization and it helps us bond with one another.

What do you wish people knew about McKenzie River Trust?

McKenzie River Trust does a lot of large real estate transactions. The goal is to preserve as much of that riverfront property as possible and return it to healthy conditions to help our water source and the wildlife. I would encourage anybody who’s interested in the outdoors to go visit Finn Rock, walk the trails, and look at the McKenzie. I think that they will fall in love with it like I have—and like so many of our employees have.

Join us!

Give now to the Shire for the River campaign by visiting the campaign website on Crowdrise, or by mailing a check to McKenzie River Trust, 120 Shelton McMurphey Blvd, Suite 270, Eugene, OR 97401. You can also donate over the phone by calling the McKenzie River Trust offices at (541) 345-2799.

Learn more on social media with the hashtag #ShireForTheRiver at:

Member Spotlight: Palo Alto Software

The Shire for the River campaign continues through October 26! Your gift goes twice as far with over $12,000 available in matching funds from local tech businesses. Every day, we will share the story of one campaign supporter.

Sabrina Parsons Palo Alto Software
Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software, shares why she supports McKenzie River Trust.

Sabrina Parsons shares why she feels businesses should support McKenzie River Trust

Sabrina is CEO of Palo Alto Software, one of nine Silicon Shire technology companies offering matching dollars for this year’s Shire for the River campaign.

Why do you support McKenzie River Trust?

It’s important for businesses to support organizations that are effective in our community. There’s so much going on in our world right now, and I think people can feel a little helpless about what they can do. Supporting McKenzie River Trust is a way to affect something immediately in a very positive way.

What about McKenzie River Trust’s mission appeals to you?

McKenzie River Trust is working on projects that make a direct impact, whether it’s river cleanup or buying land to preserve or protecting our drinking water source. It’s an organization that’s really thinking long term—but at the same time, their work affects the short term and allows people to participate in change that feels immediate.

How does McKenzie River Trust’s work impact you as a business owner?

Our employees want to work for a company they feel has the values and a mission they can relate to. It’s important to so many of our employees that we participate in a positive way in our community. It’s part of who we want to be as a company, and it’s something we can do by working with organizations like McKenzie River Trust.

What do you wish people knew about McKenzie River Trust?

The McKenzie River Trust is protecting the water we actually drink. I don’t know that a lot of people realize when they’re on the McKenzie River that it’s that same water that comes through their pipes. I think everyone should know that, and hopefully it will inspire everybody to be a little more involved in any way they can—whether helping with river cleanup, educating yourself, or giving money so McKenzie River Trust can do more of the work that they’re doing.

Why do you think people should contribute to the Shire for the River campaign?

Because more businesses are on board this year, the match is going to be bigger. When you contribute one dollar, it’s actually two dollars. That’s a compelling reason to give today. Your donation will go farther.

Join us!

Give now to the Shire for the River campaign by visiting the campaign website on Crowdrise, or by mailing a check to McKenzie River Trust, 120 Shelton McMurphey Blvd, Suite 270, Eugene, OR 97401. You can also donate over the phone by calling the McKenzie River Trust offices at (541) 345-2799.

Learn more on social media with the hashtag #ShireForTheRiver at:

Member Spotlight: Twenty Ideas

The Shire for the River campaign continues through October 26! Your gift goes twice as far with over $12,000 available in matching funds from local tech businesses. Every day, we will share the story of one campaign supporter.

Mike Biglan Twenty Ideas
Mike Biglan, CEO of Twenty Ideas, shares why he supports McKenzie River Trust.

Twenty IdeasMike Biglan shares why he supports McKenzie River Trust

Mike is CEO of Twenty Ideas, one of nine Silicon Shire technology companies offering matching dollars for this year’s Shire for the River campaign.

Why do you support McKenzie River Trust?

It’s really concerning to our family to see what’s happening to the planet. McKenzie River Trust has a unique perspective on creating a barrier around the rivers—which are really the arteries and veins of the planet—to protect those rivers. The McKenzie River affects us in so many ways. It’s something that really is integrated into everything we do.

What about McKenzie River Trust’s mission appeals to you?

It’s not just about the clean water and the fish and preventing run off. It’s not just one single benefit, but a reminder of all the things that the river is able to provide. Growing up here, so many amazing things that I take for granted tie in with the McKenzie. I got married in Vida. I went river rafting as a kid. And now my children do that too.

What are the long-term benefits of supporting McKenzie River Trust’s work?

I have an eight-year-old and a ten-year-old. With the fires becoming the new normal and all the different weather events that are very likely related to the climate, we need to put money into supporting anything that makes a healthier planet. It’s something that I want for my kids and for all the other kids of their generation. At the very least, they really deserve to have what we have—if not much more.

What do you wish people knew about the Shire for the River campaign?

The Shire for the River campaign shows other businesses, employees and clients that you’re a business that cares about the planet, the world and the people. With this money, it’s very specific and targeted. This money will protect square feet and acres that will be a buffer, one that you can walk on with your kids. And it’s going to be there for a long, long time.

Join us!

Give now to the Shire for the River campaign by visiting the campaign website on Crowdrise, or by mailing a check to McKenzie River Trust, 120 Shelton McMurphey Blvd, Suite 270, Eugene, OR 97401. You can also donate over the phone by calling the McKenzie River Trust offices at (541) 345-2799.

Learn more on social media with the hashtag #ShireForTheRiver at: