New quilt showcases McKenzie River Watershed

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.

Double Your Gift!

Join or Renew: Donate Now!

Every gift in March will go twice as far thanks to our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs who are offering a $10,000 Match Gift Challenge.

Our Goal: 1,000 Members in 2017

In 2017 we’re aiming to grow our membership to over 1,000. Will you help us reach that goal by joining as a member today or renewing your membership?

Membership support is the lifeblood of the McKenzie River Trust. Your contributions give us the legs we need to get out and work with landowners. You help pull scot’s broom from the ground and replace it with big leaf maple, red osier dogwood, and ocean spray. Members both lead and join in our naturalist walks across fields, through forests, and over gravel bars. Perhaps most importantly, membership is a way to gather with others who share a love for the lands and rivers that stitch together the communities of western Oregon.

$10,000 Match Gift Challenge

Mountain Rose Herbs is challenging our members and those considering joining us by putting up $10,000 in matching funds for all membership gifts in March 2017. Give now, and your donation will be DOUBLED for land conservation in western Oregon!

For more information about the Match Gift Challenge, please contact Julia Sherwood, Membership Coordinator, at 541-345-2799 x107 or julia@mckenzieriver.org.

McKenzie River Trust member’s passion evolves into Oregon’s first published field guide for dragonflies

This post is part of a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight: Steve Gordon


Steve Gordon vividly remembers the day that would change the course of his life.

A fifth-generation Oregonian, Steve is an avid birder, dragonfly expert, and McKenzie River Trust member, among many other pursuits.

That day, as he sat in a business meeting, he noticed a dragonfly land on a flower outside the window.

“I sketched the dragonfly and the wing pattern,” Steve recalled. “[After the meeting] I went to find out what species the dragonfly was and noticed it was difficult to find a field guide.”

Steve began to hunt for dragonfly guides and groups in Oregon. He discovered a survey website that listed Oregonians who were interested in dragonflies. Steve noticed an acquaintance, Cary Kerst, on the list. He got in touch, and over coffee, they decided to take a field trip. Soon after, they ventured into the west Eugene wetlands to learn about and identify new dragonfly species.

Eventually, their combined passion inspired them to publish the first dragonfly field guide for Oregon.

“We probably spent three years working on it. I think Cary discovered six or seven new species of insects, and together, we added a new dragonfly to the Oregon list.”

Now, Steve supports McKenzie River Trust by leading dragonfly field trips, participating on the lands committee, and advising the board on acquisitions. He’s also a member.

“McKenzie River Trust is good for my heart and soul,” Steve said. “It’s the accumulation of preserved sites that really starts to make a difference on the landscape. In 10 years, you’ll be able to see a ribbon of connective pieces starting to form. I think at that point you really do have an impact on the landscape.”

Steve believes that his support of McKenzie River Trust will help ensure that Oregon continues to be a wonderful place to live ages from now. With Steve’s help, his great-grandchildren — future eighth-generation Oregonians! — will still have plenty of natural areas to enjoy.

Get involved!

Do you want to join Steve on his next Dragonfly tour? Sign up for the McKenzie River Trust email list to hear about new tours and other ways to explore our protected landscapes. Enter your email address in the upper right corner of our website to sign up for e-news.

Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Annual Two-Fly Tournament Supports McKenzie River Trust

This post is the first in a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight:

Chris Daughters, Caddis Fly Angling Shop


One of Chris Daughter’s earliest memories of life is fishing. Chris caught the family tradition the first time he cast a rod into McKenzie River’s crisp, clear water with his father and grandfather. Fishing quickly became his passion.

When Chris was only ten years old, he began working at the Caddis Fly Angling Shop. The owners became his second family. By his twenties, he bought it.

It’s all about enhancement

Today, as owner of a respected fly-fishing shop, Chris values McKenzie River Trust and its positive impact on Oregon Rivers and fish. Chris sees a strong connection between the shop’s customers and the Trust.

“[MRT] supports healthy habitat enhancement for rivers which enhance fish and clean water,” Chris says. “My philosophy is so much like theirs … [and] it benefits the customers as well. We’re all looking for enhancement.”

Chris believes that small steps can positively affect rivers and fish, and recognizes the importance of preserving the McKenzie River and its natural beauty.

“It has quite a bit of diversity, excellent gradient and beautiful forests,” Chris says about the McKenzie River. “When you get down into the lower flood plains, it has a totally different character. It’s a really diverse body of water, so its fishing techniques can be as well.”

Two-Fly Tournament makes an impact

One of the ways that Chris supports McKenzie River Trust is through an annual fly-fishing tournament, where all proceeds benefit MRT. In five years, The Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Two-Fly Tournament has raised over $25,000, and Chris is one of several fishing guides who donate their time to the cause. This year’s tournament on September 26 and 27 filled up within weeks of registration opening.

Now, Chris continues to pass on his family tradition to his two young children, who accompanied him and his wife on fishing trips when they were just a couple of months old. They have fished in some of the world’s most exotic locations including, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile, but they always return to where it all began, on the McKenzie River.

Get involved!

Are you an angler who would like to help protect the McKenzie and our other local rivers? Then shop at the Caddis Fly Shop on Friday, September 26, when Chris and his crew will donate 10% of sales to the McKenzie River Trust.

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.