WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Willamette River Water Trail Partnership as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The award to the Willamette River Water Trail Partnership recognizes the group’s outstanding contributions to improving and expanding recreation opportunities in the Northwest, including developing a trail plan and guide, improving parks and sites along the river and fostering significant community-based economic development and conservation projects along the trail, especially the Keizer Rapids Park. The partnership has also completed the final leg of the Willamette River Water Trail, more than 200 miles in length; and connected the Willamette River Water Trail to the Columbia Water Trails, creating a system of paddle trails stretching from the Canadian border and the mountains of Montana to the Oregon coast.
“Through its many works, the partnership protects and restores the river, creates economic opportunities for riverfront communities, and celebrates the rich history and culture of the Willamette Valley,” the award noted. “The group has realized a shared vision of creating an opportunity for healthy recreation, appreciation of nature, and economic development.”
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the
Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone
were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural
resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are
the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Willamette River Water Trail Partnership (Oregon) Members:
Darlene Hooley, U.S. House of Representatives
Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Governor
American Heritage Rivers Initiative: Bess Gillelan
Bureau of Land Management: Mark Brown, Ginnie Grilley
Corvallis Parks and Recreation Dept.: Julee M. Conway
Mid-Willamette River Connections: Richard Walsh
Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments
National Park Service: Michael Linde, Dan Miller
Oregon Governor’s Natural Resources Office: Jane Bacchieri
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: Jan Houck, Tim Wood
Willamette Riverkeeper: Travis Williams