Clackamas River Open for River Runners (OR)
We are pleased to report that the Clackamas River corridor is now open and available to the public. Oregon Highway 224 above Estacada was re-opened Sunday May 1st after a closure that was implemented in September 2020 following the Riverside Fire and lasted 20 months.
Also Sunday, the U.S. Forest Service and Portland General Electric opened North Fork Reservoir Boat Launch, Promotory Park, Moore Creek Boat Access Site, Big Eddy Day Use Area, Carter Falls Overlook, and Hole in the Wall Boat Access Site (view the map). All other Forest Service developed recreation facilities in the Clackamas River Corridor, including Sandstone Bridge Access just upstream of the Oak Grove Powerhouse will remain closed at least through the remainder of 2022. Our local members have reported that a handful of additional undeveloped sites are open for day use and access to the river. The current turn-around point for those driving up the river corridor is at Ripplebrook at the junction of Forest Service Roads 46 and 57. These roads are closed.
Recovery work in the corridor will continue after the road opens. This summer, visitors will encounter road closures of up to 20 minutes at varying locations, seven days a week, and will see trucks loaded with debris, rock scaling work, and asphalt being repaired.
While we are pleased that the river corridor has been re-opened, we believe the amount of tree removal was excessive, the length of the closure was longer than necessary, and the Forest Service did not appropriately engage the public. Much of the rest of the Forest remains closed including the Forest Roads that branch off from Highway 224.
Before opening additional areas on the Forest, the agency has opened a public comment period on the Clackamas Forest Roadside Danger Tree Assessment. Public comments should be provided on or before May 22, 2022.
The project website with supporting documentation, an option to subscribe to emails for project updates, and a link to provide comments can be found here:
The Clackamas is not the only river on the West Coast that has experienced extensive closures. In February, American Whitewater similarly succeeded in helping restore access to nearly 100 miles of whitewater runs in the Trinity River watershed in far Northern California that was closed following the Monument Fire and River Complex. In March, as a result of American Whitewater’s advocacy and the outpouring of nearly 1,000 comments from our members and supporters, the Plumas National Forest ended their boating ban on the Middle Fork Feather River’s Devils Canyon Run. The Eldorado National Forest also reopened access to 65 miles of whitewater runs in the American River drainage that had been closed since the Caldor Fire last summer.
American Whitewater is actively coordinating with other user groups and will continue to explore potential administrative and legislative actions to provide greater accountability and transparency for how closures are implemented and communicated to the public.