Yachats Valley State Lands May Be Named In Memory Of ODFW Bio

She worked on the pair of unnamed state parcels in the quiet Yachats Valley for over a decade and a half, improving their forage for elk and other wildlife, mowing the fields, pulling nonnative plants and managing habitat work by volunteers.

Now, they may be named the Tami Wagner Wildlife Area, a fitting tribute to the assistant district wildlife biologist who died in a three-vehicle crash outside Toledo late last October.

“It was clear that she really loved this unbelievably beautiful place. Her love and enthusiasm for this very special area was very contagious to all of us,” wrote Wayne Hill, president of the Newport area’s Longview Hills Fishing Club, one of several groups that suggested naming the sites after Wagner.

The commission will vote on it later this week during its meeting in Salem.

TAMI WAGNER AND OREGON STATE WILDLIFE VET COLIN GILLIN DURING A JANUARY 2007 ELK RELOCATION PROJECT NEAR LINCOLN CITY. COLLEAGUES REMEMBER WAGNER AS SMALLER IN STATURE BUT UP FOR BIG JOBS. "SHE WAS NOT SHY ABOUT HANDLING ELK 10 TIMES HER SIZE,” RECALLS BRANDON FORD AT ODFW'S NEWPORT OFFICE. (ODFW)

The Department of Fish and Wildlife bought the two properties totaling 141 acres back in 1980 for deer and elk habitat as well as to draw wapiti off of nearby farms. Over the years the lands have provided access for anglers to the Yachats River, a way for hunters to get onto neighboring Siuslaw National Forest land and wildlife viewing opportunities.

A brief prepared for the commission says that during 16 years in her position, Wagner “adopted the philosophies and goals of the Northwest Region habitat crew to manage the property not just to maximize its wildlife habitat potential, but also in an aesthetic manner. Tami not only devoted many hours of physical labor planting plants, mowing, and controlling non-native plants, but also organizing the hundreds of hours put in by ODFW volunteers and sporting groups.”

She died while staging equipment and fertilizer for work on the Yachats properties. The accident occurred when a car on Highway 229 pulled onto Highway 20 in front of a semi-truck, flipping its empty trailer on its side and into her path.

The idea to name the lands after Wagner came from the Newport fishing club as well as Central Oregon Fly Fishers and the Lincoln County Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association, and is supported by fish and wildlife staff and area communities, according to ODFW.

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