About Friends of the Dredge

Helping Preserve and Restore the Sumpter Valley Gold Dredge


How We Got Started

The Friends of the Sumpter Valley Dredge, a non-profit working alongside Oregon State Parks, is dedicated to further the preservation and restoration of the historic Sumpter Valley Dredge.


Established in 1992, the Friends have worked hard to obtain funding to complete the restoration of the park enhancement projects through grants, revenue from their interpretive store, membership support, and generous donations from our visitors.

Our Roles

Staff and Operate the Interpretive Center

Along with the Visitor Center Manager, we have many volunteers that support our efforts each season.  They give of their time and knowledge to assist us in meeting our revenue goals and visitor satisfaction.  Your donations help sustain and grow our continued efforts to deliver a valuable experience to all our visitors and keep our center operating.

Provide Educational and Interpretive Experiences

The Visitor Center provides the venue for your first experience with the history  of the Dredge and gold mining in the region.  Plus, you have the opportunity to learn how to pan for gold!  Our staff is knowledgeable with the history and heritage of the Sumpter Valley area.

Partner With Oregon State Parks in Preserving the Dredge

Friends of the Sumpter Valley Gold Dredge work diligently with our grant writer to obtain philanthropic grants to support the preservation of the Dredge.  Along with the Oregon State Parks, our efforts to maintain and repair have been successful to date.  We continue to search for funding sources to support the viability of this historic treasure.

Our Mission

Friends of the Dredge provides educational and interpretive experiences
at the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area for the benefit of
present and future generations. Partnering with Oregon State Parks, our
goal is to help protect and preserve the outstanding resource which is the
Sumpter Dredge.

Friends of the Dredge Board of Directors

Melissa Findley

Melissa Findley

Board of Directors

My interest in the preservation of the history of the Dredge stems from the fact that my husbands family played an integral role in the running of the Dredge from 1945 to 1954.  Since becoming a part of the Board, I have come to realize the vital importance of keeping history alive for young and old to enjoy.

Robert Armbruster

Robert Armbruster

Board of Directors

Having spent my boyhood from 1945 to 1955 in Sumpter Oregon while the Dredge was operational, and my father was the Dredge Master I have a strong familiarity with the intricacies of the Dredge’s actual function.  Now retired in Sumpter, I am dedicated to relating these experiences to visitors to this unique part of gold mining history.

Sandra L. Chase

Sandra L. Chase

Board of Directors

 My Husband spent his summers growing up prospecting and mining Eastern Oregon with his uncle. We moved here in 1996 to do reclamation work for the Forest Service and work Mining small claims. I fell in love with the Dredge and have been privileged to see the Dredge come back to Life. I am dedicated to seeing that the restoration continues.

The Sumpter Valley Dredge is one of the nation’s oldest gold dredges and an important link to Oregon’s pioneering past and development. Your support will help us keep this unique part of Oregon’s history alive for present and future generations while improving access for all Oregonians.

Our History

To date, the Friends have helped fund the restoration of the dredge roof, the
restoration of the floor of the winch room, the paving and signage of the park
entrance, and the re-creation (reclamation?) of the tailings behind the dredge.

As OPRD launches into Phase 1 of the park’s interpretive plan, the Friends are
actively seeking funding to move forward with installing new interpretive panels,
Dredge tour guide brochure, new interpretive center, and many other projects
to help further their mission.


The Friends of the Sumpter Valley Dredge is committed to maintaining the history of the dredge for today, tomorrow, and for future generations to learn and enjoy.

Our Amazing Support

This project has been funded in part by a grant from Travel Oregon and Oregon Cultural Trust.

Find Us

575 SW Dredge Loop Rd
Sumpter, Oregon 97877
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