OR's Celestial Falls Closed to Kayaking

Posted: 07/03/2001
by Jason Robertson

Video of Scott Collins running Celestial Falls Before the Ban.

Celestial Falls - Location: White River State Park - Oregon

On June 28, 2001 a group of kayakers showed up to kayak Celestial Falls (StreamKeeper page). The campground host informed them that it had been made illegal. A sign was posted reading " No kayaker Access."

A member of the group, Charlie Munsey, called the local ranger who repeated that the falls was illegal to kayak and suggested talking with the Parks Safety & Risk Manager, Jim Niefert. The ranger explained that the rule had not been made a law yet but could be enforced by a "manager's discretion" AOR code.

As Charlie Munsey explained "There's only been one injury from kayaking the Falls, and based on that one incident they're trying to shut this down. If they implemented this policy in every park there would be no parks open."

American Whitewater is concerned that the park did not take the proper legal proceedings with this matter an solicit public comment on the effect of the ban. Meanwhile hikers still have full access and can jump off the falls at will.

Celestial Falls is often described as the easiest 45 foot waterfall in the country. The closure makes little sense and American Whitewater is working diligently with the park to reopen access. The closure of Celestial Falls is only the second waterfall closure of consequence by a state park in the country at present, the first is at Ohiopyle Falls State Park in Pennsylvania on the Lower Yough.

Jason D. Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349

Associated Projects

Celestial Falls (OR)
Conservation and enjoyment of the waterfall is important for AW