The mighty Rogue River home of the abundant supply of Coho and Chinook salmon and trout and magnificent wildlife has been the site of many a battle over the years. First it was the struggle between the Native Americans, who inhabited the area for thousands of years and the European settlers who discovered Gold and the lucrative fur trade. Later a battle raged between conservationists and industrialists. Of course violence is never the answer, but once you experience its beauty you realize it is well worth fighting to preserve through more rational and peaceful means.
Zane Grey (1875-1939) purchased an old mining claim at Winkle Bar, where he went on to write several books. He celebrated the river in both fiction (The Rogue River Feud, 1929) and non-fiction (Tales of Freshwater Fishing, 1909). His cabin, along with Whisky Creek cabin (pictured here) still stand today and are popular attractions for river and wilderness visitors.
An excerpt from Roger Dorband’s The Rogue-Portrait of a River:
There is something memorable in the name Zane Grey. Once heard, it is seldom forgotten, just like the name of the southern Oregon river that he loved. Zane Grey and the Rogue River are forever
linked. During Grey’s lifetime, his name was a household word…In 1912, at the age of 40, he published Riders of the Purple Sage, his most famous novel. It sold more than a million copies and established Grey as the most popular and highest-paid writer in America, a distinction he held for 20 years…
Conservationism, an orientation so out of step with the industrial juggernaut exploiting the natural resources of America in his day, and ours for that matter, was just the beginning to dawn in the hearts and minds of a few outstanding men…Zane Grey coined his own phrase in appealing for conservation. He used the title Vanishing America for an article that appeared in the news organ of the Isaac Walton League, a conservation organization which he co-founded in 1922. The phrase appears again in Tales of Freshwater Fishing. In a conversation Grey had with a resident gold miner along the Rogue at Whiskey Creek, both men decry the Forest Service’s plan to cut military and fire roads down the Rogue. “But all wilderness dwellers, hunters and fishermen, and lovers of the forest, hate automobile roads, and know they are one great cause, probably the greatest, of our vanishing America.”
According to an article on the website Save the Wild Rogue “Native Americans lived along the Rogue for thousands of years. At the time it was called the Galem River. The Takelma, or Da-Gel-Ma, translated to “those who live alongside the river,” lived near Bear Creek and the Rogue through Gold Hill and Grants Pass. There was a band of Takelma in the Upper Rogue called the “Ha-ne-sakh’s” or “rotten log people.” Another band of Takelma lived along Galice Creek called the “Tal-tuc-tun-te-de.” The Tutuni lived in the lower reaches of the Rogue watershed. Natives lived primarily on acorns, salmon, deer and camas. The Takelma regularly set fires to manage brush and to favor plant growth and deer forage.Gold was discovered in southern Oregon in 1851. European immigrants quickly descended on the Rogue Valley and genocide against Native people began.” to be continued…