Make the McKenzie Connection!

Ready to take on some rapids

Newly completed Colorado dory launched for a trial run on the McKenzie

LEABURG: A successful dory workshop concluded last Friday at the McKenzie River Discovery Center (MRDC). The ten-day class was led by Brad Dimick, Cricket, and Glade Zarn of Fretwater Boatworks in Flagstaff, Arizona. Ten men and two women went from lofting the boat, building the parts, assembling the hull, and sanding and painting - to launching the result in ten days.

According to Roger Fletcher, an MRDC board member and workshop coordinator, “the class re-created the first dory built for the Colorado River by the McKenzie Valley’s own Keith Steele in 1962.”

The project was focused on re-creating the boat Steele built for Martin Litton in 1962 and is the first dory that appeared on the Colorado River in that year. Keith’s son, Steve, was present for most days during this year’s project and was both pleased and excited to meet and work with the instructors.

“The McKenzie River is the spawning ground for this widely recognized boat type,” Fletcher notes, “and it is exciting that this historic boat was re-created at the very site where it was originally built by Steele.”

People participating in the boat-building workshop came from the surrounding Western and Intermountain states. “By luck of the draw, one student, Roahn McCallum from Salmon, Idaho went home with the dory for the price of the materials,” Fletcher said.

The Discovery Center is exploring educational opportunities around drift boats that could include a two-day class for crafting a drift boat model from scratch to a workshop focusing on drift boat management, safety, and navigation skills for people new to river boating. For more information go to:


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