U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and conservationists Frank and Jeanne Moore were honored Tuesday for their work protecting a 100,000 acre stretch of the North Umpqua River now known as the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Management Area.
Legislation protecting the area was introduced by Wyden into the Senate, passed with broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by the president in March.
The environmental group Pacific Rivers gave a Conservation Hero Award to Wyden Tuesday at Umpqua Community College. Pacific Rivers Executive Director Greg Haller thanked Wyden, who he said had worked tirelessly to push the steelhead legislation through.
Wyden gave the credit to the Moores, and presented them with a framed copy of the bill ensuring the steelhead sanctuary would be protected for all future generations.
Frank Moore is a World War II veteran and avid fly fisherman who has devoted decades to protecting the river he loves, and Jeanne Moore is a wildflower expert whose expertise was vital to helping secure protection of the Limpy Rock Natural Resource Area. She also served as chairwoman of the annual Glide Wildflower Show for many years. The Moores founded the Steamboat Inn.
“Everybody here knows that when you use the word hero in this part of Oregon, there is one name that comes to mind, and that is our very own Frank Moore,” Wyden said.
Wyden said it was a challenge to ensure the steelhead management area would be named for both of the Moores, because usually there’s just one name on a bill. One night he told Frank Moore he thought it would be a battle, and there was a really long pause on the other end.
“‘He just said, ‘We’ve always done everything together,’” he said. So Wyden said he went back into the den and pushed it through with both names.
Wyden said the bill was about the Oregon way, and it doesn’t get any more Oregon way than having former Gov. Tom McCall consider you a fishing buddy. Up in Salem, there’s a picture of McCall in a pair of fishing boots and it’s Frank Moore who gave McCall those boots, Wyden said.
Wyden said ensuring the area was protected took some time.
“But anybody who’s ever fished certainly knows patience pays dividends when you finally land a big one,” he said.
Wyden said recreation has the opportunity to be an increasingly powerful economic engine for Oregon.
“When we write the history of all that recreation contributed to Oregon both now and in the future, once again we’re going to be back at Frank and Jeanne, what they built with Steamboat and what they built all these years,” he said.
Wyden said according to fishing fans, most of the world is covered by water and a fisherman’s job is to pick out the best parts.
“Looking at the lives of Frank and Jeanne, it’s as clear as their beloved Umpqua that they have always dedicated to that fishing concept in their own lives,” he said.
He said for generations to come, Oregonians will be better off because they did.
Becky McRae, president of the North Umpqua Foundation, spoke about Jeanne Moore’s detailed knowledge of the many wildflowers in Douglas County, and said she was always delighted to share her knowledge about those plants with others.
“Frank, you know we love you dearly. But I must say, knowing that amazing pretty lady sitting next to you is one of the best things that happened to me and a whole lot of people,” McRae said.
“And me too,” Frank Moore said.
Fishing guide Dean Finnerty said the Moores were role models to many.
“You have changed so many lives with the way that you have conducted yourselves and the way that you love all of us,” he said.