Sunday, February 23, 2014

McKenzie Farms donates christmas trees to the Christmas for Coho project

Text and Photos by Michael Ellis

On Saturday, February 22nd, volunteer members and friends of Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited met at Mckenzie Farms outside of Carver Oregon to load and haul more christmas trees to our project sites near Seaside, Oregon.

Jacob Cooper (l) and Phil Hager set the ramp
Mckenzie Farms, one of the largest growers of christmas trees in Oregon, has been supporting Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited’s Christmas for Coho program since we started the project in 2011. McKenzie Farms has generously provided us with leftover trees each year and have allowed us access to as many trees as we can transport to the sites. This year we finally made a visible dent in the pile of trees that were available.

Jeff Price loading trees at McKenzie Farms
My friend, Jacob Cooper, volunteered to help out and met me at my home. Jacob and I met up with Phil Hager, a member of The Northwest Fly Fishers, at the Penske site in Clackamas at 8 AM where we rented a 28 foot box truck. Phil had consented to drive the beast and after the paperwork was completed we set out for McKenzie Farms.  It was a beautiful clear sunny morning and we arrived at Mckenzie Farms about 8:40 AM to find TVTU member Jeff Price already hard at work filling his truck and trailer with trees.

Phil positioned the truck near a pile of trees and we began to load the truck. Soon, TVTU members Mike Gentry and Tom Wolf arrived with another trailer followed by TVTU member Craig Westlin and Deborah Westlin who were also pulling a trailer. With the arrival of TVTU member Travis Walters we had many helping hands and quickly loaded the truck and trailers. There were some very large trees which we couldn’t load and many in the 5 to 8 foot range. Many of them were pretty heavy due to holding a lot of water. It was kind of wet and dirty work.

Jacob Cooper (l) Tom Wolf (m) and Mike Gentry (r) load the truck at McKenzie Farms

Mike Gentry (l) Phil Hager (m) and Tom Wolf load trees into the truck at McKenzie Farms

Jacob Cooper (l)  Phil Hager (m) and Mike Gentry (r) haul trees to the truck at McKenzie Farms
We piled the trees in the truck as high as we could and then Travis crawled up on top of the stack and continued to stack the trees up to the roof! We left Mckenzie Farms with over 400 trees loaded into the box truck and 3 trailers and headed to Seaside.

Mike Gentry (l) and Travis Walters stack trees in the truck
Craig Westlin (l) and Jeff Price load a trailer at McKenzie Farms

from left: Jeff Price,  Craig Westlin, Deborah Westlin, Phil Hager, Jacob Coopper, Mike Gentry and Tom Wolf load the vehicles

Loading the truck at McKenzie Farms

The loading crew, from left: Mike Gentry, Tom Wolf, Deborah Westlin, Phil Hager, Craig Westlin, Jeff Price, Travis Walters, Jacob Cooper and Michael Ellis

It was a pretty slow drive due to the load of trees but we arrived at Coho Sanctuary about 11:45 AM. We were ahead of schedule so took the opportunity to have a brief tour of the site with Doug Ray showing the site to those of us who had not been there before. We were joined by Max Broderick and Austin Tomlinson, members of the newly formed Wild North Coast chapter of Trout Unlimited as well as TU staff member Dwayne Meadows.

Jeff took his load of trees to the North Coast Land Conservancy’s Thompson Creek site to provide building materials for the local beavers to rebuild their dam which had washed out over the winter. The rest of us began unloading the truck and other trailers. The unloading went pretty quickly since we weren’t removing the bundling twine at this time. We’ll take care of that prior to placing the trees into the slack water area of the Necanicum early this summer.

Unloading trees at Coho Sanctuary, from left: Mike Gentry, Jacob Cooper, Tom Wolf and Doug Ray

Unloading trees at Coho Sanctuary, from left: Mike Gentry, Austin Tomlinson, Jacob Cooper, Tom Wolf and Max Broderick

from left: Mike Gentry, Doug Ray, Austin Tomlinson, Max Broderick and Craig Westlin unload trees at Coho Sanctuary

Doug Ray (l) Max Broderick (m) and Craig Westlin (r) unload trees at Coho Sanctuary

The crew at Coho Sanctuary, from left: Michael Ellis, Mike Gentry, Tom Wolf, Phil Hager, Doug Ray, Craig Westlin, Deborah Westlin, Jacob Cooper, Max Broderick, Austin Tomlinson, and Dwayne Meadows
I think everyone had a great time working on this beautiful Saturday. I know I did. I especially enjoyed meeting and talking to our dedicated volunteers who gave up their day to help improve habitat for the coho salmon. Special thanks go out to McKenzie Farms for their generous support and donation of trees. A big thank you also to Jacob Cooper, Phil Hager and Deborah Westlin who are not TU members but volunteered because they thought the project was so beneficial. Thank you to TVTU member Travis Walters who made time to help us load trees despite having a million other things going on that day. And finally thank you to TVTU members Tom Wolf, Mike Gentry, Jeff Price, Craig Westlin and Wild North Coast TU members Doug Ray, Max Broderick and Austin Tomlinson. Without all the help this could not have happened.