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MailTribune.com
  • New Rogue River boat ramp dedicated at Indian Mary Park

  • At least it wasn't the "Mike Cooley Vault Toilet," and the word "memorial" isn't in there, either.
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  • At least it wasn't the "Mike Cooley Vault Toilet," and the word "memorial" isn't in there, either.
    But when you get a new boat ramp named after you, it can't help but bring a smile.
    A new boat ramp along the middle Rogue River at Indian Mary Park recently was dedicated in the name of Cooley, the Grants Pass angler who spent the past two years making sure its construction happened.
    "I didn't expect this. I'm kind of humbled if you want to know the truth," says Cooley. 67, of Grants Pass. "It really seems like you have to die to see something like that happen.
    "But I'm proud of it," he says. "It's a first-class ramp, and I think it's the best ramp on the Rogue."
    A former Siskiyou National Forest program manager, Cooley is an officer in the Middle Rogue Steelhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a frequent middle Rogue angler who noticed the Indian Mary park ramp had deteriorated.
    It also forced anglers and rafters to launch driftboats and rafts into relatively swift water, and was unusable in the summer by marine-patrol boats.
    Cooley lobbied Josephine County commissioners to fix the ramp, then decided to find a way to build a new and better ramp 250 yards downstream in more launch-friendly waters.
    Cooley spent more than 1,500 hours over the past 21/2; years working to get the ramp replaced, shepherding the $277,000 project through various state and county agencies, biological analyses and permit applications.
    The project earned support from several entities, including the Oregon State Marine Board and the Josephine County Sheriff's Department.
    The ramp opened in August, but the Marine Board held a Sept. 7 ribbon-cutting ceremony there. That's when the Marine Board announced that the ramp would be named after Cooley.
    The restroom, which will not carry Cooley's name, will be completed there later this month, according to the Marine Board.
    "I might have objected to that," he says.
    Rifle and pistol shooters will descend upon White City this weekend for two different shooting competitions hosted by the Medford Rifle and Pistol Club.
    Rifle shooters will join in the club's "Camp White Open" high-power rifle shoot Saturday and Sunday at the Jackson County Sports Park off Kershaw Road in White City.
    Shooting is expected to begin about 8 a.m. each day. Spectators are welcome, but they should bring their own sight and hearing protection.
    The sports park also will host a United States Practical Shooters Association Level II pistol match Saturday at the competition ranges. This so-called "Oregon Open," which will include shooting at eight stages, will begin at 9 a.m.
    The event is sponsored by the Southern Oregon Pistol Shooters Association of the Medford Rifle and Pistol Club. For more information, e-mail cle150@showcrest.net.
    Kirk Gibson of Medford won the inaugural All American Salmon Derby on Sept. 11 along the lower Rogue River by catching a fall chinook that weighed 41.61 pounds.
    His catch bested a field of 40 participants in the derby organized by the Southern Oregon University wrestling team as a fundraiser that also lauded American servicemen and women.
    In all, 15 chinook were weighed in at the derby.
    Shirley Walker's 35-pound chinook was runner-up in the Adult Division, while Tom Richey's 19-pounder topped the American Heroes division of military, firefighters and police officers entered in the derby.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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