Columbia Gorge Recreation Coalition History

US Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) came to Hood River a few years ago to meet with the windsurfing industry to ask what they needed.  From that first meeting a relationship began.  Senator Wyden sent his legislative aide at the time, Jane Lesser, to work with the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association (CGWA) to form a to form a coalition and a "game" plan etc...listing projects desired.  Jane met with CGWA 4-5 times, and then they were off on their own, but still with Wyden's support and help if they needed it.  Some time later Jason Daughn, who took Jane's place, began to work with the group as did Oregons US Senator Gordon H. Smith's aide Rian Windsheimer.

The Coalition began with CGWA members Diane Barkhimer (Executive Director), Jon Davies (President), Chuck Langley, Holly Macpherson (also US Windsurfing Executive Director), Ken Maddox, Fred Noble, Kevin Price (also with Oregon Parks), and soon added CGWA member Gay Jervey who brought the Mosier Waterfront plans into the project.  The Coalition partners of CGWA & US Windsurfing were:  Jim Ellis (Washington Parks), Jim Runkles (US Army Corps of Engineers), Jack Wiles (Oregon Parks), and the City of Mosier.

Gay Jervey, Jervey Geological Consulting, prepared the grant application for printing, and on July 20, 1998, the Recreation Development Grant Application for Scenic Area recreation construction funds (for Spring Creek Hatchery State Park in Washington, Viento and West Mayer State Parks and  Mosier Waterfront in Oregon) was presented to the Gorge Commission, received approval, and the Commission asked the Coalition to include Drano Lake, Washington in the groups project.  They did, and they printed a second grant application booklet with the Drano Lake project included sending it to all of the legislators for the Gorge-wide area seeking their support and the support of others in the community.  CGWA arranged a tour of the sites for Oregon and Washington legislative aides and others.  Gay prepared a brochure outlining the planned improvements for the five sites which was used to gain more community support.  The Gorge Commission some time later asked the Coalition to include The Dalles Riverfront Trail project with the five sites.  They did, and the Coalition included that project in the next printing of the brochure.  Many phone calls, faxes, and letters followed as the support base grew now adding the Friends of the Gorge to that group.  CGWA and Jervey Consulting funded these efforts; the tour, the brochures and booklets and other printed materials and mailings.

The Coalition had grown to include:  Skamania County, Washington Parks and Recreation Dept., Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Mosier Alliance, Oregon Dept of Transportation, and the Native Plant Society.

In 1999, Drano Lake was appropriated $504,000 and The Dalles Riverfront Trail received $1,169,000 (total requested).  Recently, the City of Mosier was awarded $500,000 (about half of the requested amount) for waterfront improvements including the Rock Creek windsurfing site.  The other amounts requested are:  Hatchery, $1,553,000; Viento, $285,000; and West Mayer, $800,000.

As One can see, there were many players and supporters (many not mentioned here), and the Coalition will continue to build the list and work until all sites are completed.

Of special note - US Congressman Greg Walden (Oregon), who now has a full-time staff (Troy Nichols) in Hood River who will be working closely with the Coalition, played a great part in getting funding ($275,000) for restrooms on the Hood River waterfront...and played a great part in getting this recent funding for the Mosier Waterfront through Congress.

Contact:  Diane Barkhimer - Executive Director, Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association
        Gay Jervey - Board of Directors, Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association

        Columbia Gorge Recreation Coalition
        PO Box 182, Hood River, OR 97031
        Phone:  541-386-9225; Fax:  541-386-2783;  E-mail: