Twenty-five years ago, when Mike Hendricks and Leanne Hogie lived in Portland for two years, they discovered the Gorge. They'd occasionally drive into the Gorge to hike or road cycle, and loved it because of how it differed from their former home of Washington, DC. When they had the chance to leave DC to retire, it became pretty clear that they were moving back to Oregon. They happily found a place in Hood River where they can view both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
Leanne got to know Friends through the hiking program and then came to know our advocacy work as well: "I really came to appreciate the quality of Friends' work." She feels strongly about how important it is to retain the Gorge as a place of stunning beauty in spite of the fact that it is on the edge of a major metropolitan area. Mike says the main reason they stay involved is because they trust Friends' commitment to keeping the Gorge the treasure it is: "I applaud Friends' work at the institutional level - with various governments, with private and nonprofit partners, and even in the courts. That's the kind of work we individuals can't do - we need an effective organization like Friends to deal at that level."
When Mike and Leanne talk about the future of the Gorge, they both worry about overuse issues, saying, "The trick is to balance access and protection, but that's a lot easier said than done." Fortunately, Friends works in that area and with Leanne as the recent chair of the board of the Columbia Area Transportation District, she sees a lot of potential solutions. She is a big fan of buses which she sees as a way of managing all the visitors who come to the Gorge and contribute to traffic congestion.
Another hope they share for the Gorge's future is that more diverse people will come to love and enjoy the Gorge as they have. "As we look around this beautiful Gorge, we want the coming generations to enjoy it as much as we do, and we think Friends is a vital part of making that happen." When reflecting on their motivation for making Friends a part of their legacy plans, Mike and Leanne agree that protecting it so others of diverse backgrounds and abilities can enjoy it now and in the future is a big factor. "It's actually very comforting to be making a legacy gift to Friends." Thank you Mike and Leanne for your commitment!