FINN ROCK — What does a nonprofit group do for an encore after buying 156 acres of choice riverfront land along the McKenzie River in December?
For the McKenzie River Trust, the answer is to purchase another 122 acres of land on the opposite side of the river.
The trust this week finalized the purchase of the additional acreage, which includes the Finn Rock Boat Landing — which will remain open to the public — and the former Finn Rock Logging Camp, where Rosboro Lumber workers lived from the 1940s through 1980s.
Both properties were purchased from Springfield-based Rosboro, each for $775,000, or a combined cost of $1,550,000, in a closed-bid auction.
Liz Lawrence, the trust’s associate director, said the trust used private donations and a low-interest loan to buy both properties, now jointly referred to as Finn Rock Reach. The Eugene Water & Electric Board, which is keen to see its McKenzie River water supply protected, kicked in a $250,000 grant for conservation and restoration efforts.
While specific plans have not been finalized, Lawrence said the trust wants to conserve and enhance Finn Rock Reach in
different ways, such as managing weeds, pulling invasive species and planting native plants. The trust also may restore areas affected by timber harvest, or make gravel ponds on the property less hospitable to non-native fish species, such as bass.
There are some old crosscountry trails on the initial property purchased in December that the trust might restore as well, Lawrence said Wednesday during a visit to the site.
Joe Moll, the trust’s executive director, said protecting areas such as Finn Rock Reach allow the McKenzie to be “a living river,” one that can continue to move and shift over time uninhibited by built structures.
“Places where we can let the river be alive, they’re gems,” Moll said.
On Friday, some people who grew up in the former Finn Rock Logging Camp will speak about their experiences at the trust’s annual “McKenzie Memories” fundraiser event, which will be held in Eugene and already is sold out.
Lawrence said that now that the purchase of the land has been finalized, the trust is receptive to community feedback on how to maintain and enhance the property.
“Now that we own it, we’re a neighbor, too,” she said.
Since 1989, the McKenzie River Trust has acquired or won voluntary conservation easements to protect more than 4,500 acres of rivers, farms and forests. Moll said the acquisition of Finn Rock Reach is a great opportunity for the trust to continue to protect the wildlife habitat and natural resources along the McKenzie River.
“It’s our bread and butter,” Moll said. “It’s what we love to do.”