By Warren R. Johnson
Fishtrap in Enterprise is Oregon’s leading literary house with a reputation that extends throughout the West. It is all about cultivating exceptional writing, thoughtful reading, and provocative discussion.
This is accomplished through the many programs they run which bring writers to the county, as well as cultivating the local talents of both writers and readers. These programs and events take place at the Fishtrap House, on the Zumwalt Prairie, at Wallowa Lake, in the local schools, and throughout the County. On Fridays, high school students gather to take a college-level writing course for credit from Oregon State University. Every January, the county delves into a particular book through reading, lectures, events, and discussions for adults and school children.
This Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the only such County-wide program in the country.
All of these endeavors take staff and volunteers to run. Keeping it all together is a board and an Executive Director. Fishtrap has just hired a new, dynamic Executive Director – Shannon McNerney. Shannon has been a longtime visitor to the County and jumped at the chance to move permanently to the end of the road which she has come to love. Wanting to make a change, Shannon brings with her an extensive background in business and nonprofit management in Portland. On top of that, she just happens to love reading and writing – and may just have to throw in some arithmetic, too.
Everyone has a story. Shannon’s initial goal is to make connections in the community and bring these storytellers together. This is the heart of the mission of Fishtrap. Shannon states that the Fishtrap door is always open and encourages people to stop in and discover the exciting atmosphere that pervades the House. She says she is leading people, not an organization. She has the innate ability of seeing the big picture and of being a strategist. Do stop in, attend one of the events and you will find her enthusiasm, and that of the staff and volunteers, to be catching. When you do, you may find yourself caught in the Fishtrap net.
By Warren R. Johnson