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Access to Crooked River Protected for Future Generations (OR)

Posted: 07/06/2023
By: Thomas O'Keefe

We are pleased to report that the access to the Wild and Scenic Crooked River at Hollywood Road on the Crooked River Ranch has been brought into public ownership! This access success was made possible through funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and leadership of Trust for Public Land.

When the private property was originally listed for sale as an executive home site, the seller promoted it as a place where you could hike and fish your heart out with ¾ mile of river shoreline, enjoy fantastic views from the rim of the Crooked River Gorge, take advantage of golf course frontage, and have an opportunity to subdivide. As an added novelty, the Hollywood Road passing through the property took its name from the Clint Eastwood film Paint Your Wagon which was filmed there.

Thankfully the Trust for Public Land stepped in to purchase the property with a plan to transfer the parcel to public ownership, a process that required patience and consistent engagement. For the past 15 years we have been working towards this transfer with the leadership of Trust for Public Land. Many of our members wrote individual letters and we consistently highlighted this parcel as a top priority in the West as the only Wild and Scenic River segment we were aware of that had no public access.

One issue was uncertainty over funding as Trust for Public Land was holding the parcel with no intent of indefinite long-term ownership. Our intended funding source for acquisition and transfer to a federal land management agency was the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This fund was established in 1965 to use royalty payments from offshore oil and gas leases to invest in lands that have important conservation and recreation value. The problem was Congress allowed the program to lapse in 2018 and was not appropriating the required funding. Projects across the country like the Crooked River opportunity were in jeopardy.

This all changed with the passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in 2019 that reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020 that provides full funding annually at $900 million. American Whitewater was extensively involved in the advocacy for this program serving in a leadership capacity with our colleagues at Outdoor Alliance to be the voice of the benefits for outdoor recreation. We are thrilled that the advocacy we engaged in is showing direct results that benefit whitewater boaters in the form of priority access projects like this one on the Crooked River.

We are grateful to the Trust for Public land in having the patience to acquire and hold the parcel until funding could be secured. The transfer to the Forest Service for management ensures the public will have continued access to this incredible river resource into the future.

To read more check out the Trust For Public Land Press Release


Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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