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Clackamas River Visioning Public Input Opportunity (OR)

Posted: 06/22/2023
By: Thomas O'Keefe

In 2020, Mt. Hood National Forest and surrounding communities experienced catastrophic wildfire events that damaged recreational sites and transportation assets along the Clackamas River corridor and have impacted visitation to the forest. The corridor has historically provided recreation opportunities including developed campgrounds, day use sites, fishing, river access points for whitewater recreation, and trailheads. The post-wildfire landscape has created both opportunities and constraints for future development and use. While there is a critical need to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure, there is also an opportunity to rethink and enhance the recreational and travel experience in these areas.

Despite the wildfire impacts, the Clackamas River continues to represent a local and regionally significant whitewater resource on a Wild and Scenic River.

American Whitewater was invited to join a visioning workshop with Forest Service staff this past week and there will be additional opportunities for public input in the coming week. We encourage the whitewater paddling community to participate in developing a future vision for the river corridor.

Provide Your Feedback

You can provide feedback by joining a virtual or in-person public workshop in the coming week or by using the virtual feedback form that will be open for input through the end of July. Please RSVP to reserve a spot at either of the two workshops or fill out the input form:

* Virtual Public Workshop – Monday, June 26, 2023 from 2:00– 4:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting information will be sent out via email after RSVP-ing.

* In-Person Public Workshop – Thursday, June 29, 2023 from 5:30– 7:30 p.m. at the Estacada Library. Space is limited, please RSVP to reserve your spot.

* Virtual Feedback Form - a short survey form

* Map Comment Tool - an interactive map tool allowing you to provide place-based feedback

You will likely find it helpful to read the Forest Service Issue Statement that presents Constraints and Opportunities in detail:

We encourage members of the whitewater boating community to join the discussion and provide input on what makes the Clackamas River such a valued whitewater resource.

Input American Whitewater Has Provided

In the workshop earlier this week American Whitewater shared the following perspectives:

* Campgrounds could be redesigned to improve day use opportunities and river access as well as opportunities for "off season" use outside the traditional summer Memorial Day to Labor Day recreation season. The Clackamas River is a regional draw and camping opportunities during the spring boating season are important.

* Campground design can be reimagined to better serve groups and extended families. The traditional campground design for many of the campsites was focused on serving a nuclear family of four arriving in a vehicle.

* With the loss of tree cover and screening from the highway, some campgrounds like Roaring River have less appeal as a traditional campground but may provide opportunities for van camping and a place to park off the highway particularly in the off season.

* In considering a reconstruction of the Fish Creek Boat slide, it should be designed in a manner that makes it easier to get to the water than the previous design that did not have proper stairs. The top of the slide should also be lower so users don't have to lift boats up onto the slide.

* Shooting activity in the corridor is a public safety concern and is not being appropriately managed. If promoting inclusive participation and representation is a goal, including users who have not been traditionally represented in among visitors to the river corridor, then a safe and welcoming environment needs to be available to them.

This is an important opportunity to make your voice heard in developing a vision for the future of the river corridor. Feel free to draw from the points we raised above (best if you can put in your own words) or identify additional issues and opportunities we may not have considered. 

Project Website

To learn more visit the Forest Service Project website for additional details and key contacts:

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
Full Profile

Associated Projects

Clackamas Stewardship (OR)

AW has been a stakeholder in licensing of the hydroelectric projects on this river and protection of key tributaries through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Associated Rivers

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