Meyer Trust funding Interpretive Center study
July 18, 2015
LEABURG: Plans to develop a showcase for McKenzie River riverboats and their guides got a big boost last week when the Meyer Memorial Trust announced it had granted $13,000 to the Friends of Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery. The money is earmarked for a feasibility study for a proposed McKenzie River Interpretive Center next to Leaburg Lake.
Over the past several years, the Friends group has spearheaded a concerted effort by stakeholders – guides, scientists, community members, local, state and national agencies – to develop an interpretive plan, exhibit concepts, a capital improvements budget, and an architectural program for the proposed facilities, which are tentatively called the McKenzie River Interpretive Center.
“Stories of McKenzie riverboats and their guides are central to the thematic development of the center’s exhibit concepts,” according to Friends president Ken Engelman. “We’ve worked closely with the McKenzie River Guides Association to find a way to preserve both local history and educate people about the important role the guiding industry has played in the culture of the Pacific Northwest.
“In the process of refining the concept, the vision expanded to include the river, its volcanic formation between two adjacent Cascade Ranges, its fish, and its ecology,” said Steve Mealey, president of the McKenzie River Guides Association. “The history of life on the river is also central, giving a context for contemporary river communities.”
Mealey said the Interpretive Center will focus on presenting three stories; “The Boats & Guides, the River & Watershed, and the Fish & Ecology.”
Under the grant, the non-profit Friends of Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery will contract with the University of Oregon’s Community Planning Workshop to conduct the feasibility study, including a formal work program, schedule, and budget.
Image above: The interior of the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery was a busy place for decades until it was decommissioned in the 1950’s. Now a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust (a private foundation not connected to Fred Meyer, Inc.) will explore its transformation into a regional Interpretive Center.
McKenzie River Reflections