Celebrity Steps Up to Lead Rogue River Preserve Acquisition

Patrick and Carlyn Duffy

Patrick and Carlyn Duffy

Does the name Bobby Ewing ring a bell? Perhaps you watched the TV series Dallas back in the 1970s and 80s? If you did, you may recall Patrick Duffy, who starred as Bobby Ewing alongside Larry Hagman in the popular series that ran from 1978 to 1991. Patrick also starred in many other TV shows and movies and continues to direct shows and theater productions.

Patrick and his wife Carlyn are residents of the Rogue Valley, having moved here nearly 25 years ago. They reside along the Rogue River near Shady Cove where they live a quiet life enjoying nature and the river’s beauty. Recently, they stepped forward to lead SOLC’s Heart of the Rogue campaign to acquire 352 acres of pristine habitat upstream from Dodge Bridge.

“We can’t think of any other project that we’d rather put our energy toward,” says Patrick, “or a better organization to be involved with than the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.” These words were echoed at the 37th anniversary Conservation Celebration, where Patrick served as Master of Ceremonies.

Joining the Duffys to support the Heart of the Rogue Campaign are other Rogue Valley celebrities and community leaders including Jim Belushi, Harry Piper, Dan and Lisa O’Connor, Bill and Eileen Leavens, Paul and Ann Hill, Nancy Tait and Jeff Monosoff, Bill and Angela Thorndike, and Patsy Smullin among others.

These individuals have formed the Heart of the Rogue Campaign Council to promote the project and advocate for its success. “The acquisition is moving forward,” says Diane Garcia, executive director of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy. “We’re in a quiet phase of raising funds now, and we are applying for state and federal funding as well as to private foundations. We’re looking for individuals who are interested in the project’s success and can help us score a home run,” she adds.

The total cost of the campaign is $3.5 million which includes a long-term management endowment fund of $800,000. “We want to make sure we have the capacity to manage the land in perpetuity,” says Craig Harper, Conservation Project Manager for SOLC. “It’s such a unique property; one of the largest intact pieces along the middle Rogue. We’ve taken a few hundred folks out there, from state and federal agencies to foundation representatives, ecologists and scientists and everyone agrees: this property needs to be saved.”

The property has been owned by the same family for 72 years. It was purchased in 1943 by Robert Ruhl, the publisher and editor of the Medford Mail Tribune from 1919 to the mid 1950s. Today, his 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren comprise the MacArthur Family LLC. They hope that the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy will keep their family’s legacy of caring for the land alive.  Maria MacArthur, Robert Ruhl’s granddaughter affirms her family’s goal: “If we can succeed in placing this land in the hands of those who will preserve its unique ecology and natural beauty, then we will have fulfilled our family’s mission as stewards of this special place.”

Learn more about the Rogue River Preserve and the Heart of the Rogue Campaign with graphs, a map and an info brochure.