Fish Lake Historic Site Collage

Fish Lake Historic Site Collage



Welcome to 2021! Whew! 2020 was a unique year. The virus pandemic and the catastrophic fires affected our lives and the business of the Friends of Fish Lake. While we had to conduct our business differently, we did manage to accomplish many of our original objectives.  



Pandemic restrictions and common sense led us to cancel our annual Work Week, and for the same reasons Jim Denney chose to not travel from his home in New York for his usual summer job managing on-site projects and hosting visitors.


Led by Ron Skrip, we were able to continue our work converting the left-hand side of the Bunkhouse to accommodate the needs of our planned Educators Workshop and other group activities. We worked in small groups of three or four people at a time, following the virus safety protocols. Doug Macdonald took the leadership for on-site activities, including procurement of materials, recruitment of help and coordinating with the McKenzie River Ranger District.


In the Bunkhouse we were able to contract with an electrician to improve the existing system and contract with a plumber for modifications to accommodate American Disability Act/ABA standards, sharing costs with the Forest Service for this work. We installed sheet rock on the bathroom walls and ceiling, did additional work on the walls and ceiling of the large room and sleeping rooms, procured and installed the bathroom door and the door into the small sleeping area,, and began to plane rough cut cedar planks into finish material for molding and trim.  Dave Leach constructed two Murphy Beds for the large room sleeping area.


Our plans are to finish work on the left-hand side of the Bunkhouse in 2021.


We were able to have the Hughes Network installed before snowfall, providing internet service and cell phone service through WiFi, including linking to on-site security cameras.  Further work and evaluation will continue next year.


As usual, operations support from Engineering Technician Kenny Gabriel and advice and counsel from District Archaeologist Lowell Evans was most helpful.


Despite canceling Work Week and the severe restrictions to large group activities, we benefited from over a dozen volunteers accumulating 523 total hours of work. That is a little over 60% of our hours for last year, and given the circumstances a great accomplishment.


THANKS to those of you were able to work on site and THANKS to all of you who continue to support the Friends in many other ways!




We share the concerns for the people and resources affected by the catastrophic wildfires on the Willamette National Forest – the Holiday Farm Fire in the McKenzie River watershed and the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires in the North Santiam River Watershed. Fortunately, the fires remained a distance from Fish Lake.


We established a FFL Fire Relief Fund to contribute in a small way to Forest Service employees and retirees displaced by these fires. Donations to the Fund included a $2500 grant from United Way Lane County and $2,200 in donations from seven individuals. We sent $1,500 to three individuals affected by the Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire and $3,200 to eight individuals affected by the Holiday Farm Fire. Doug Macdonald worked closely with the Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association (Old Smokeys) who also allocated funding from their Elmer Moyer Emergency Fund to these folks.



Our volunteer Passport in Time (PIT) host program was canceled this summer, suffering the same fate as our other people-oriented on-site activities.



Due to the need for an early-in-the-year commitment and the continued uncertainty of pandemic restrictions we jointly agreed with Oregon State University/Oregon Natural Resource Education Program (ONREP) to postpone our Education Workshop to 2022.



We are terribly saddened by the loss of Anita Leach, Board Member and Board Secretary, to cancer in September. Anita was an avid volunteer and a leader in everything she took on. She received many awards and accolades, including induction into the Santiam Canyon Hall of Fame, Mill City First Citizen, and numerous Forest Service Superior Achievement Awards. Her FFL Board Meeting notes were a work of art. We will miss her positive approach not only as a Board Member but also in on-site projects.


As described in our Summer Newsletter, we were fortunate to take advantage of an opportunity in June for our Board to meet and interact with the new Willamette National Forest Supervisor, Dave Warnack.


Membership Chair Dick Grace conducted a vote by our Members, mostly by e-mail (a first) to approve changes to our By-Laws and to elect/re-elect Ron Skrip, Steve Mealey, Stacey Forson, Jim Denney and Rolf Anderson to the Board of Directors. The response was good for an e-mail vote; almost 50% of our Members participated.


In another first, our Board, joined by McKenzie River District Ranger Darren Cross, met via ZOOM in December. Among other business we elected Dawn Pozzani to our Board and elected officers for 2021 – Rolf Anderson, President; Stacey Forson, President-Elect, Dawn Pozzani, Secretary; Randy Dunbar, Treasurer.




Our Board of Directors will most likely have to hold our Spring Board Meeting via ZOOM. We will have to wait and see, but hopefully the virus vaccine will have been effective enough that we will be able to host an on-site get-together this summer. We plan to finish work on the left-hand side of the bunkhouse and we know Jim Denney already has some renovation/restoration plans in mind.



We counted 75 paid members in 2020. Dues and donations totaled $5540. Mike Skrip donated $300, in turn generating a double match of $600 from his employer Lone Rock Resources.


Our most consistent, most reliable source of funding support comes from our Membership dues and donations. We have been fortunate to secure grants in some years to help with major projects but you members are what gives us the confidence and means to initiate site enhancing programs.




Some of you have already renewed your membership for 2021 – another Thank You! If you haven't yet renewed, Now is the Time! If you aren't a member yet, please jump in and join us! And tell your friends about us, too! 


                                                                                       -Rolf Anderson, President FFL



FRIENDS OF FISH LAKE - Membership Application or Renewal


Make your check out to Friends of Fish Lake.   60295 CREE CIRCLE, BEND, OR, 97702




Street address__________________________________


City, State, Zip code____________________________


e-mail address__________________________________


Annual Dues – 


Student:   $15____        Individual:    $35____        Family:       $50 ____


Pstron:   $150_____              Life:   $2500____      Business:    $75_____


Please indicate if you can help in any of the following categories:


Volunteer for the annual work week_______


I have specific skills:

Carpentry___ __ Restoration____ Computer support____


Fund raising_____   “Site host” late June___   July____   August___   Sept___


Best Wishes for a New Year and a New Decade!  The Friends of Fish Lake are entering our   second decade since we were granted non-profit status by the IRS, focused on protecting and sustaining the Fish Lake Historic Site. We began as a small group coming together to spruce up the site, growing in numbers and projects every year, to our current status hosting an Annual Work Week and boasting over 100 members. In the past decade we’ve worked with three McKenzie River Ranger District (MRRD) Rangers, three Willamette National Forest Supervisors and two MRRD Archaeologists. We’ve benefited from the physical support of Forest and District employees – full-time, part time and temporaries, and from monetary support from the Old Smokeys, the Kinsman Foundation and a handful of major donors. Together we’ve accomplished major work maintaining, restoring and interpreting this very special site. Thank you to each and every one!   

We enjoyed another Annual Work Week the last week of June, completing routine maintenance, initiating work projects and visiting old and new friends. In all, forty-six volunteers accumulated 834 total hours of work, just in that short time. Jim Denney was on site managing projects and hosting visitors in June, July and into August.

A full list of work accomplished is at the end of this Report but a few highlights include: Recreating the historic use of the site by refurbishing and making functional the 1920s phones and switchboard in the Dispatch Cabin, creating the ability to actually talk between them. Security boxes and video players were installed in the Blacksmith Shop and at the entry Kiosk to enable visitors to view the informational videos. A major renovation of the north (left) side of the Bunkhouse was begun to create a larger meeting space for group activities and convert the bathroom facilities to ADA/ABA standards. The loading platform at the rear of the Blacksmith Shop was rebuilt. Construction of an ABA access ramp/walkway to the north side of the Bunkhouse was begun and then terminated pending a design deemed more compatible with the site.

THANKS to the many of you who pitched in this year!

We had a nice gathering at our Annual Membership Meeting during Work Week. Dick
Grace, Kathy Harbick, Mike Kerrick, Anita Leach and Doug Macdonald were re-elected/elected to the Board of Directors. Regional Office Assistant Director of Recreation Michelle Mitchell, WNF Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck, and MRRD District Ranger Darren Cross shared current Forest Service activities with us. And again, MRRD folks teamed with the Friends to host the noon lunch.

Security at the site remains an issue. We experienced several break-ins this past year.

EARLY ALERT – Work Week 2020 will start SUNDAY, JUNE 21st

An Old Smokey’s grant of $2,000 helped us purchase hardware and install the two security boxes and video players. After a period of tweaking they were operational by the end of the summer. Our volunteer Passport in Time (PIT) hosts, on site in July and August, said visitors had favorable comments about the videos. In that time span hosts recorded 1,056 visitors from 24 states and 9 countries.

Check the videos out at:  YouTube – click on “videos” - search for “friends of fish lake” -or-

Full bore planning is in progress for a pilot two-day Workshop for Educators (grades 3 to 8) focusing on the unique geology of the upper McKenzie and Santiam Rivers ecosystem. FFL is partnering with Oregon State University Specialist LeeAnn Mikkelson and the Oregon Natural Resources Educational Program. The Workshop will be held on site in August.

Board Member Anita Leach took on the Secretary role this year, relieving Phil Raab who created the role when we incorporated and did a super job managing our records for the past decade. Job well done Phil!

We counted 124 paid members in 2019. Dues and donations totaled $13,300. Jodi and Mike Hughes donated $2500. Steve Mealey and the Mealey Trust (Bob Mealey) each donated $2,500.  Lone Rock Resources (Roseburg area) donated $750.

We rely on donations, large and small, to purchase materials and supplies and to fund contract work. Grants help to fill special needs but you members and donations are the lifeblood of our organization. The combination makes us go, providing the means to accomplish our work to sustain this historic site.                    THANK YOU!

If you have already renewed your membership for 2020, you're an early-bird – Thank You! If you haven't yet renewed, Now is the Time! If you aren't a member yet, please jump in and join us! And tell your friends about us, too!                    

                                                                                       -Rolf Anderson, President FFL

FRIENDS OF FISH LAKE - Membership Application or Renewal
Make your check out to Friends of Fish Lake.   60295 CREE CIRCLE, BEND, OR, 97702
Street address__________________________________
City, State, Zip code____________________________
e-mail address__________________________________

Annual Dues -    Student: $15_______   Individual: $35_______  Family: $50 _______  

Patron : $150_______   Life: $2500_______    Business: $75 _______

Please indicate if you can help in any of the following categories:
      Volunteer for the annual work week_______
       I have specific skills:  Carpentry_____  Restoration____ Computer support____   
            Fund raising_____   “Site host” late June___July____August___Sept___

We had a good turnout of volunteers during Work Week, working on a long list of projects. Jim Denney, Kenny Gabriel, McKenzie River Ranger District crews and FFL members and friends also worked on projects before and after Work Week. For the year, 55 volunteers contributed 1170 hours, including 46 volunteers and 834 hours during Work Week.

BUNKHOUSE  Removed non-historic aluminum windows from north side kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, installed original wood window in bathroom, installed newly constructed exact replica of original window in kitchen. Framed and closed in opening where non-historic window was removed from bedroom, outside wall covered with cedar board and battens that match original siding, painted to match existing. 
North side - Removed interior walls to existing bathroom and bedrooms. Removed all carpeting and vinyl floor covering. Removed bathroom sink, toilet and shower.
Framed new walls for new bathroom and small sleeping area on north side. Installed plywood over entire north side ceiling. Installed bead board and plywood over north side interior walls.
Constructed two sliding doors for north side. Constructed and installed tracks and hardware for sliding doors. Installed framing for sliding pocket door for north side small bedroom.
Constructed and removed concrete forms for ABA access ramp/walkway into north side.
Rebuilt the two historic benches in front of Bunkhouse.
CLOSED STORAGE (Blacksmith and Tack Room) Cleaned tack rooms and blacksmith shop. Cleaned and oiled all tack and saddles.  
Finished cedar plank decking on Tack Room loading dock. Built cedar plank loading dock behind the Blacksmith Shop.
Touched up exterior paint.
Installed a security box and video player unit inside the Blacksmith Shop.
BARN Cleaned up grain rooms, removed unneeded materials. Constructed a new Dutch Door.

OPEN STORAGE Mounted newly donated historic sign. Touched up exterior paint.
OIL HOUSE Cleaned out storage room.
COMMISSARY Cleaned stove, all windows, installed hardware as needed for curtains. Repaired screen door. Removed and reinstalled snow porch siding.
DISPATCHERS CABIN Refurbished all historic phones. Refurbished switchboard and connected all of the former to the latter. Built plywood cover for cabinet housing switchboard and phones for winter storage.
Sanded ceiling and caulked as needed to repair rodent damage.
HALL HOUSE Started work on exterior vertical log ends, glued and screwed wood pieces to be filled with epoxy. Repaired front steps. Painted propane tanks. Sprayed borate preservative solution on exterior siding. Replaced broken window. Cleaned stove, fridge and all windows.
ENTRY KIOSK   Installed a security box and video player unit.
GROUNDS AND OTHER LOCATIONS Removed broken cross log on entry gate posts. Cut off gate posts to match other posts. Treated with preservative. Cleaned up and moved all logs from hazard tree felling. Stacked and covered all slash.
Repaired corral rails as needed. Repaired split rail fences as needed. Built new split rail fence from parking area to Pavilion.
Obtained down cedar logs from MRRD wildfire areas and milled them with a portable saw to provide a source of rough lumber to use on site for a variety of projects.