Making the Case

WHY? Rare in the world, the McKenzie River is the result of complex geology, volcanism and the collection of snow and rainfall in Oregon’s unique lava capped Cascades which store and release the McKenzie’s crystal clear water. There has been no central place for preserving and celebrating the natural and human history of this Oregon treasure. The McKenzie River Discovery Center is designed to educate and engage generations of knowledgeable stewards of the river. Built on 46 acres of Lane County park land only 27 miles from downtown Eugene, Oregon, the McKenzie River Discovery Center will feature immersive exhibits, iconic boats, trails and space for hand-on workshops that together provide a dynamic, thorough understanding of the river and why it is so important to help it thrive, and how it impacts the lives of everyone within its influence.

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What We Can Do

The clear community mandate for a place like the Center sparked a comprehensive feasibility study that pointed to the need for a McKenzie River environmental center and provided a market analysis forecasting visitor participation, operation costs, and income streams. The study results established the viability of the Center as a educational experience to promote the understanding of the importance of the McKenzie River and its Cascade Watershed through three educational themes : hydrology and ecology, cultural history, including the famous McKenzie River Drift Boat and legendary fish.

Water Management

Water Management

How is your water managed and what part can you play to influence its future? From parking lot runoff to riparian zones, learn how to make a difference.

River Use

River Use

Play hard, be safe in water that is always cold enough to be dangerous. Learn water rescue, water saftey, and how to protect each other.

Oregon's Boat

Oregon’s Boat

Learn about the history and evolution of the iconic McKenzie River Drift Boat. It evolved on the McKenzie and is now used throughout the world.

Outdoor Programs

Outdoor Programs

The historic Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery includes two commercial buildings with 5,000 sq ft of meeting space for a variety of outdoor programs.

Year Round Experinece

Year Round Experinece

In the Discovery Center, the salmon are spawning year round! Virtual experiences put you in the middle of the action each and every day.

Ecology of the River

Ecology of the River

Learn the importance of the abundant animal and plant life that makes the McKenzie River famous, including the Redside Rainbow Trout.

Donate to share your passion

The McKenzie River Discovery Center has opportunities for you to preserve history, provide hands-on environmental training, and share the limitless wonder of our river's creation and life.

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