Finn Rock Reach

Why It’s Important

The headwaters of the McKenzie River are renowned for their clarity and consistent flow. Emerging ice cold and blue from the volcanic filter of Cascades basalt, the river drops through thick forests, nurturing bull trout and Chinook salmon along the way. At its first major convergences with its South Fork and with the Blue River, the McKenzie takes on a new feel, meandering among side channels that offer new habitats and more approachable waters. This unique place, Finn Rock Reach, is now protected, forever.

Finn Rock Reach includes two miles of riverfront on both sides of the McKenzie, numerous side channels, ponds, wetlands, and floodplain forest with old-growth cottonwoods that measure 20 feet around. At the downstream end of the property, the popular Finn Rock Boat Landing is the launch point for thousands of raft and drift boat trips down the McKenzie River every year. The property was also home to the former Finn Rock Logging Camp, where Rosboro employees lived from the 1940s through 1980s. Rosboro sold both parcels to MRT following a closed-bid auction.

A haven for native fish

In the fall of 2015, McKenzie River Trust staff and friends observed Spring Chinook salmon spawning in the mainstem river and in the extensive side channels of the property. Bull trout have been tracked foraging in this reach of the river, and just downstream of the property, Elk Creek’s confluence with the McKenzie has historically been important as a nursery for Chinook fry. In addition to these keystone fish species, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages angling on this section of the river as a stronghold for native Redside rainbow trout.

Wildlife on the property

Two other notable Oregon species have either been observed on the property or are likely to be found. The numerous ponds and side channels of the property may provide a home for western pond turtles (Clemmys marmorata marmorata), while yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens), a songbird, may live in the dense thickets along the streams and the mainstem McKenzie River. Both are listed as sensitive in the Oregon Conservation Strategy, a document that provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Finn Rock Boat Landing

The Finn Rock Boat Landing, now owned by the McKenzie River Trust, is a popular launch point for day trips down the McKenzie River in a raft or a drift boat. We look forward to working with other friends of the river, including the McKenzie Guides and the McKenzie Masters, to keep the boat launch open for public access, and to maintain the surrounding natural habitat for spawning salmon, birds, and more.

Surrounded by conservation lands

While the site is within a matrix of privately held commercial timber lands, Willamette National Forest land is immediately upstream and beyond that, public lands dominate to the crest of the Cascade mountains. The National Wild and Scenic section of the McKenzie River starts 17 miles upstream of Finn Rock Reach. At its downstream end, the property abuts the Howard J Morton Memorial Park (currently managed by Lane County). Proceeding downstream, the river is further buffered by further Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management ownership and Lane County’s Eagle Rock Park.