Local bird experts, Dan and Barbara Gleason, have always been interested in inclusivity, as both grew up with family members who experienced limited mobility. But in 2019 their interest became more personal when Dan was diagnosed with leukemia. Although he is now in full remission, the battle left him visually impaired and with poor balance. These new challenges presented Dan and Barbara with an opportunity to explore new ways to connect with the birds they love and take advantage of the “healing nature of nature.”
Inspired by Dan’s own adaptations to his passion for birds and his eagerness to get people outside and connected to the natural world, McKenzie River Trust has partnered with the Gleasons and local volunteer John Helmer to deepen our investments in programs that connect people of all abilities to the lands we protect. Through programs like “Nature Your Way,” limited mobility bus tours held in partnership with Willamalane and the City of Eugene, and adaptive recreation trainings for volunteers and tour guides, we’re expanding the reach of our outreach programs so that everybody, no matter their ability can connect with the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon.
From the Field
Exciting changes are underway for the McKenzie River recreation community! Beginning in November 2023, McKenzie River Trust broke ground on a large-scale improvement project for the Finn Rock Boat Landing. Generously funded through the Oregon State Parks Recreational Trails and Permits grant program, investments from the Lane County Parks Levy, and the generous support of private donors, large and small; this project will have wide-reaching benefits for recreational river users and commercial outfitters alike.
Celebrate your connection to place through our annual winter writers series. On This Land is an annual event showcasing local poets and authors. 2024 submissions are due by Sunday, February 11th for consideration for our public reading on Sunday, March 3rd.
In 2023, McKenzie River Trust celebrated the 20th anniversary of the purchase of Green Island. This celebration gave us time to pause and reflect on the many hands who have helped us to put love into the land and the incredible story of how people came together to restore nearly a thousand acres of land where the McKenzie and Willamette rivers meet.