Meet Our Speakers: Doug McDaniel

As his truck bumps along the road through a meadow of pine trees, Doug McDaniel smiles and says deliberately, “I’m pumped about what’s going on in my life.” Thinking back, he recalls his two-month stint in dental school, which ended when he decided that it was a waste to be inside on a beautiful day, particularly when elk season was about to open.  Doug has lived his whole life in Wallowa County, working as a forester before moving into timber management and industrial engineering.  Currently, he works on restoring a length of the Wallow River that cuts through his land. Channeled by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s, Doug has taken the initiative to excavate the section and return it to its meandering state.  The river now winds through his property, providing habitat for fish, tall grasses, birds, and swaying cottonwoods.  He adamantly solicits participation from the community on this project in the form of opinions, suggestions, scrutiny, and criticism. When asked what he likes most about working in the forest, he responds “[my] life is outside…it’s just home.”

By Hannah Trettenero