Kathy moved from Iowa in August 2016 to be closer to her daughters in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to her move out here she had visited Multnomah Falls and Hood River, but she really fell in love with the Gorge when driving east through it from Iowa. She much prefers the eastern Gorge because it reminds her of Iowa with its expansive views, the colors of the landscape and the cold, windy weather. One of her favorite hikes is near The Dalles at Seven-Mile Hill where she was completely blown-away by the spring flowers when she first visited it on a hike with Friends. "The lake of camas at the Four Sisters and the ocean of lupine and balsam root in the area is like nothing I had ever seen."
Another fond memory and unique experience she really enjoyed as she fell for the Gorge and realized the necessity of protecting it was when she joined Friends on her first Sternwheeler cruise with her fellow Norman Yeon Legacy Circle members. "Having a different perspective of the Gorge from the River instead of looking down on it really made me appreciate its beauty, history and variability even more." But the tipping point that motivated her to become an active member of Friends was the Eagle Creek fire. "Seeing the forest burn and being so concerned that it might not recover made me want to help the organization that does so much to protect the Gorge."
"I believe so very much in Friends' purpose. It is critical to protect the Gorge from climate change, not just for people but for fish and wildlife--especially turtles! The wildfires are what made me most concerned about the impact of climate change. It was so tragic to see the fire and know it could happen again. We all need to do what we can."
When asked what her vision was for the future of the Gorge Kathy said, "I'd really like it to remain the way it is—protect it from climate change and stop inappropriate development so that it stays beautiful for future generations. In some ways I some ways I'd like to see it go back to the way it used to be when native people had control of the land." She finds the work at the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge particularly compelling and would like to see that sort of habitat improvement elsewhere. "It's not that I don't want to move forward, but I want there to be clean water and habitat for lamprey, salmon and other fish and wildlife, too."
Kathy decided she wanted to not only help with her current support of Friends work but she also wants the Gorge to be a part of her legacy. "Once I became involved I realized the scope of Friends work and wanted to do more to keep it going when I am gone. I also realized it would be easy to do with some very tax-inefficient investments and decided what better way to put them to work."
Kathy we so appreciate your support and vision for a safe and beautiful Gorge for the future!