Oregon fishing trivia - Wellman's Drift on John Day River Mile 42
Norb Wellman, Western Rivers Conservancy Charter Director:
Remembering Norb Wellman, 1932 – 2015
Born and raised in Oregon, Norb Wellman grew up fishing the rivers that define our experiences as Oregonians—streams like the Siletz, the Umpqua and the John Day, which teemed with trout, salmon and steelhead. His infectious enthusiasm for rivers and fishing brought joy to his family, friends and colleagues.
When Western Rivers Conservancy was formed in 2001, Norb was a charter Director. He led our organization as Chair as it grew into a focused, effective, permanent force for river conservation. This was Norb’s way of giving something back to the rivers and streams that had given him so much, and to the people of his beloved home state.
Under Norb’s guidance, Western Rivers Conservancy undertook and completed projects along great Oregon rivers like the Sandy, Alsea, Siuslaw, Willamette, Winchuck, Elk and John Day, conserving tens of thousands of acres of riverlands and many miles of riparian habitat.
Western Rivers Conservancy’s signature project in Oregon, destined to become Cottonwood Canyon State Park, could not have been completed without Norb’s steadfast support and unwavering determination. When Western Rivers Conservancy took the plunge in 2008 and purchased the Murtha Ranch on the John Day River, Norb was instrumental in garnering support for both the daunting purchase and the expensive and time-consuming on-the-ground work that the Ranch desperately needed. After WRC conveyed the former Murtha Ranch to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, it became a new kind of State Park, where citizens from across Oregon could experience a wild place, and discover the same love, enthusiasm and respect for rivers and wild spaces Norb felt all his life.
In 2013, WRC payed tribute to Norb’s steady guidance of the organization and dedication to his home state by honoring him on one of Oregon’s great rivers. On the John Day that Norb loved so much, at the very southern end of Cottonwood Canyon State Park, WRC placed a basalt bench recognizing Norb’s efforts to protect our rivers. As heavy as that bench is, and as hard as it was to get it out there, we wanted something permanent—just like the permanence of Norb’s accomplishments, and all he did to further Oregonians’ connections with wild rivers, wild fish and wild places.
This quiet bend in the John Day has since become known as “Wellman’s Drift.” If you ever float by it, we hope you’ll remember Norb and the importance of looking out for the river.
I also guessed the John Day by looking at the landscape (and assuming its not the Deschutes!) Hows the flows? I'm chomping at the bit to hit Clarno this spring; I have no idea what river mile this is..