What's New

Map of Homestead CampgroundBLUE RIVER: Efforts to reintroduce Chinook salmon in about 24 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat at Cougar Reservoir have included the construction of a truck fish and haul facility. The structure is part of an ongoing program to capture adult fish below the dam and transport them by truck to various locations above it, where they are released.

The trap and haul operation extends from late May to mid-October. The current method for “unloading” the fish from the transport trucks can be limited by terrain and poor access to desirable pools. Officials say this results in excessive and rough handling of the fish during the release process and increases the physiological stress on them. As a result, mortality rates are elevated and spawning success is reduced.

Face of Blue River DamPhoto Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Discussed for decades, the addition of a generator to the Blue River Dam could become a reality.

BLUE RIVER: The off-again, on-again plans to add a hydroelectric generator to the Blue River Dam have been revived by Qualified Hydro 15, LLC of Boston, Massachusetts. The Eugene Water & Electric Board analyzed the economics of the project several times since construction was halted in 1994 but was not able to come up with an economic justification for moving forward.

YCC crew moving a logPhoto Courtesy USFS
Trail crew members roll a segment of a log cut by Stacey Snyder to clear the Hell’s Half Acre trail.

The McKenzie River and Middle Fork ranger districts are looking for young people to apply for summer jobs with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). Summer jobs are available for people born between August 9th, 1995 and June 17th, 1998.  Applications are now being accepted through February 15th.

Shadow Lake firePhoto Courtesy USFS
Motorists were warned to be cautious and expect smoke on the highways when the Shadow Lake wildfire was burning across 6,700 hundreds of the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in September of 2011.

The Willamette and Deschutes National Forests are looking for comments from the public on a proposal to use prescribed fire in portions of the Mt. Washington and Three Sisters Wildernesses. Officials say the prescribed burns would restore more natural vegetation patterns, reduce the need for fire suppression actions that negatively affect the wilderness, reduce risk to firefighters, and restore a more natural role for fire in the Wilderness.

Scuba diver's boat in Leaburg LakeScuba divers from Northwest Underwater Contractors did an underwater survey of the Leaburg Dam’s fish ladder last April that revealed erosion has undermined the structure’s concrete foundation.

LEABURG: Scuba divers inspecting Leaburg Dam’s left bank fish ladder had bad news after an underwater inspection of the structure last summer. They reported that some seventy feet of the concrete foundation had been undermined.

The fish ladder, constructed in the 1960’s, was poured directly on the river bottom, which is comprised of cobbles, sand, and gravel. Riprap was placed adjacent to the fish ladder in an effort to prevent erosion. Divers found the undermining ranged from four feet to more than fifteen horizontal feet, measured from the riverside foundation to the face of the fish ladder.

Powerline tree trimming

 

 

Crews from Jensen’s Tree Service have been busy in recent weeks trimming trees and vegetation along power line corridors in the eastern portion of the McKenzie River Valley. The work, under contract to the Lane Electric Cooperative, is expected to be completed within three to four months.

 

 

 

 

Cougar dam colling tower constructionThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is performing a "deep drawdown" of Cougar Reservoir to test a possible method of improving downstream fish passage past Cougar Dam.
The Corps is lowering the reservoir’s surface to 1,500 feet above sea level, about 32 feet below the usual minimum flood control elevation and 16 feet below the minimum water level required to operate the dam’s powerhouse.

 

Cement pumping at Camp White BranchMCKENZIE BRIDGE: A Depression era development brought some 400 young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps to Camp Belknap in the spring of 1934. Many of the transplants - mainly from the Chicago and St. Louis areas - had never seen mountains before. But on January 1st of the following year the work they did resulted in an opening day celebration of the White Branch Lodge that drew a crowd of 1,200 celebrants.
Over the years the site has been operated as an organizational camp serving church groups, Boy Scouts, and other family organizations. The camp - which currently has a capacity of approximately 156 campers, counselors, and staff - was purchased by the Association of the Churches of God in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 1957. The association oversees 17.4 acres under a 20-year US Forest Service lease and special use permit.

 

Snow on backcountry roadOfficials are reminding visitors to the Willamette National Forest that they will encounter a wide range of driving conditions from now through spring. Many roads, especially those in higher elevations, have already become impassable due to snow.

Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter travel. This includes popular and scenic double-lane, paved roads such as Forest Highway 19 (North Fork Road/Aufderheide Drive), Forest Highway 46 (Breitenbush Road), and Forest Highway 21 (Middle Fork Road).

Skiers at Hoodoo BowlSANTIAM PASS: If the early plans of investors had panned out skiers could be making runs down Three Fingered Jack. When funding for a new road didn’t materialize, Bend businessman Ed Thurston constructed the Hoodoo Ski Bowl near the summit of the Santiam Pass in 1938. Before that he’d pioneered winter outings by operating a rope tow at White Branch in McKenzie Bridge.

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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.