Story and pictures by Tim LaBarge.
Lucille Beck, 90, has been a vital part of Tryon Creek from the very start. She helped organize a collection of neighbors to protect the land and then led the board of Friends of Tryon Creek for years along with co-chair Jean Siddall.
Her love for the wilder parts of Oregon started in 1935 when she was just 10 years old and her parents sent her to Camp Namanu on the Sandy River. She spent several summers there as a camper and then returned as a counselor in high school and college.
“It made me love all the outdoor world: the streams, the trees and the hiking,” Lucille says. “That love continued for the rest of my life and is why I was so involved with helping create this park.”
One of the other things that has withstood the test of time is her friendships with her fellow campers and counselors from that camp long ago.
A group of as many as eight women, ranging from 86 to 95 years old, visit monthly for lunch. “We are a bunch of old ladies and now we hobble in and we have lunch and we laugh and reminisce,” she says. “We’re bonded. It goes back to high school and college. We all went to different schools, but we always came back together.”
Once Tryon was established, there was no doubt camps should be a part of the story. “We had this wonderful facility and we were already taking kids through the park. Creating camps was just a nice thing to do.”