Helping to rebuild Santiam Canyon area
In concert with Oregon State Parks, Marion County Parks and Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell on Sept. 11, 2021, a group of more than 200 volunteers from the Keizer Oregon Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took on a service project at the North Santiam Recreation Area, which had been devastated by fire a year ago.
The project consisted of restoration of 13 campsites and doing extensive work on trails and paths. A new informational sign was also installed. The Keizer Stake is composed of congregations from the Salem, Keizer, Silverton, Woodburn, Aurora, Hubbard, Donald, Molalla, Mount Angel and Scotts Mills communities.
Each year, to help bring unity around the anniversary of the attacks on our nation on September 11, we engage in some type of service project. On this 20th anniversary we planned this special service project to assist in recovery of a location we should be able to enjoy again soon.
I want to acknowledge my team captains and thank them for all they did to make this event a success: Doug Shepherd, Scott Montague, Kirk Barclay, Denny Muchmore, David Strasser and Ross Nelson. You helped make a very large, difficult task possible and a great success.
The representatives from Oregon State Parks and Marion County Parks were totally blown away with the sheer number of people who showed up and the quality and quantity of work able to be accomplished. "Where did all these people come from?" and "This is amazing!" and "I can't believe this" were among their comments overheard.
I'd like to include a special thanks to Matt Lawyer from the Marion County Commissioners Office and Tammy Baumann from Oregon State Parks who helped us wade through the mountains of paperwork and obtained the necessary authorizations to make the project possible.
I would also be remiss if I failed to recognize the generous donations of equipment and man-hours from Herc Rentals, Sunbelt Rentals and Doug's Dirt Works. Also, a huge thank you to Sancho's Taco and Grill for coming and feeding the crew.
As we consider the damage sustained by this park and see what it is like a year after the devastation caused by the wildfire, it is a testament of God's ability to renew us like he is renewing the landscape.
Whatever things complicate our lives, The Master can heal them and make us whole.
Dan Kohler lives in Keizer and serves on the Keizer City Council.
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