McKenzie Memories

McKenzie River Guides have cooperated for 85 years

3 Guides

EUGENE: At the turn of the last century a handful of hearty oarsmen began offering a new service  - fishing from a boat. Anglers attracted to the McKenzie River soon discovered that was a good idea. Not only could they avoid getting their lines caught in stream bank brush but a boat could maneuver closer to pools and eddies previously out of reach.
Since those early days the boats, access points to the water and equipment all have changed, but not the attitude of the people manning the oars. Three of them gave some insights into how professional guiding developed when they spoke as part of the McKenzie Memories program.
Some changes came about when the roads themselves began to improve beyond a muddy path. That allowed guides to trailer their boats further upstream and fish longer stretches of the river, according to Dana Burwell. That in itself would still be quite a chore since the early board and batten board boats the guides built themselves weighed between 500 to 600 pounds. Moving them involved hitching up a horse and wagon with a trailer behind.

4th annual program will highlight tourist industry’s base

Log Cabin Guides
EUGENE: This year’s McKenzie Memories event will celebrate the history of the River with storytelling, rare historic photos, artifacts, and more. This year’s program ranges from a picture view of historic McKenzie River lodges like the Log Cabin Inn and the lodge at Foley Hot Springs to local storytellers Steve Schaefers, Don Wouda, and Dana Burwell from the McKenzie River Guides Association, founded in 1931.
People attending the event can expect to hear stories about what life was like as a guide in the early 1900s and the guides’ key role in conservation and stewardship of the McKenzie River.

Dave HelfrichEUGENE: Life was a little different over 100 years ago when settlers moved in to start a life on the McKenzie River. Making a move from Prineville, the Helfrich family put down roots and played a key role in developing tourism as a big part of the local economy.
Things were different back then. There was no running water, no electricity and no insulation in their house when the Helfrich family bought 160 acres on a mile and a half of river frontage in 1902. The land - stretching from the old Stockade up to Cook’s Ranch (near Mom’s Pies) - lead to the family’s role in the development of the Northwest’s tourism industry and the river guiding fraternity.

Early driftboatA night of Rare Images – Guest Speakers – Historic Films – Live Music – Silent Auction is set for April 5th.
What was life like along the majestic McKenzie River in the early 1900s?

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.