With your support, we’re connecting people to place, and people to people at Finn Rock Reach
For the McKenzie River community, Finn Rock Reach provides more than a critical habitat; it is a place to grow connections. Among the 278-acre riparian floodplain forest, you find a diversity of wildlife, plants, and opportunities to connect with the spirit and history of the site.
Finn Rock Reach brings people together. From the logging camp that the land was home to from the 1940s-80s to the old McKenzie High School cross country course that encircled river right to the hundreds of people who have gathered to share their stories and inspirations since MRT bought the land in 2016, this place elicits unique connections. Thanks to members like you, we are able to help grow those ties to the land.
While listening to those who have lived, played, and worked at Finn Rock Reach, at times we were surprised by what we heard. In 2017, more than 100 people weighed in on a public survey about how the site might be managed, and multiple community listening sessions brought in the voices of nearly 50 participants. Hundreds more visited the property for educational tours of the boat landing, logging camp site, ponds, and salmon spawning grounds. In a reflection of the spirit of community, we heard an overwhelming desire for opportunities to care directly for this special area through stewardship workdays.
Since that time, thanks to the strong support of members and volunteers, more than 100 people have gotten their hands dirty through education programs, group projects, and the Friends of Finn Rock Reach group. The Friends group alone has contributed more than 500 hours this year, meeting regularly on the first Friday of each month to connect with the land and connect with each other.
“I like the work and being involved in the stewardship, but one aspect I had not anticipated valuing (or even having) is the creation of community around Finn Rock Reach, notes Sarah Hunter, a Blue River resident who lives just upstream of the property. “I always get to meet someone from my community that I would not otherwise have met, and these connections are good for me, the community, and [the land].”
This community extends beyond the members of the Friends group. With a rich history of partnership between the McKenzie School District and the former owners at Rosboro Lumber Company, McKenzie River Trust was called to support educational opportunities for local students, a role we have had little experience with as an organization. With encouragement from our members and by collaborating with the McKenzie Watershed Council and local Science Teacher Nate Day, Finn Rock Reach has become a site for the exploration of earth and life sciences right in the community’s’ backyard. Providing this space for students to learn, experiment, and grow has elevated the impact of protecting this land; the habitat and animals are protected in perpetuity, and now we are helping grow those who will care for it long after we are gone.