Mount Hood has long had the good fortune of having many advocates, including Native Americans, working to ensure its forests, rivers, and wildlife were protected from logging and aggressive development. Those advocates certainly didn’t win every battle, but they saved much of the natural wonder we know and love today.
Over the last few years, we’ve lost a number of those champions. Kate McCarthy (from the upper Hood River valley) was perhaps one of the most well-known advocates of the mountain and inspired generations of advocates (including her now-grown children).
Recently Kate Mills sadly passed away. Kate and her husband Jack owned the Mount Hood Railroad for a number of years. Kate and her husband Jack worked for years to help pass the legislation that protected additional Wilderness around the mountain in 2009. Jack passed in 2011.
Margo Earley was perhaps best known for leading hiking and snowshoeing trips on the north side of the mountain, all the while preaching the gospel of protecting Mount Hood, and handing out as many brownies as you could eat (I maxed out at 4). Margo and her husband George both passed about a year ago.
These champions were long a part of Oregon Wild with their memberships going as far back as our digital records go.
This shortlist is of course nowhere near comprehensive. Let me repeat that, this list is not at all comprehensive, but rather a shortlist of a few of the champs that were on our minds on this stormy winter afternoon.
It’s also important to note that the Molalas, Kalapuyans, Chinookan Clackamas, Shinookan Wascos, Northern Paiute peoples, and Sahaptin tribes long were stewards of the mountain before white settlers arrived. Their history and connection to the mountain runs deep and continues to this day.
This changing of the guard leaves big shoes to fill no matter how you measure! Hopefully, the next generations will continue to rise to the occasion in support of Oregon’s most iconic mountain!