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Rogue River Declared Navigable

Posted: 06/13/2008
by Thomas O'Keefe

Oregon's Department of State Land has just issued a final ruling and determined that the Rogue River from RM 68.5 to 157.5 (Grave Creek to Lost Creek Dam) in Josephine and Jackson Counties (where the river flows through the towns of Grants Pass, Rogue River, Gold Hill, and Shady Cove) is indeed navigable. This is the section of the Rogue upstream of the popular Wild and Scenic multiday trip but it includes reaches that are popular for whitewater day trips.

The staff report concluded the following:

"It is reasonable to conclude that the 89-mile segment of the Rogue River from Grave Creek to Lost Creek Dam, in its ordinary and natural condition, was used, was susceptible to use, or both, as a highway of commerce over which trade and travel were or could have been conducted in the customary modes of trade and travel on water at the time of statehood [in 1859]."


Based on the evidence and testimony that supported this finding, state ownership of the river channel and the banks up to the ordinary high water marks has now been affirmed. The finding confirms that the state is the owner of the river bed, and the public has the right to use the river.



Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012


  • Comments of American Whitewater on the Department of State Lands Navigability Study.

Associated Projects

Oregon Navigability
AW works to keep the rivers of Oregon open and accessible to the boating public.
Restoring the Rogue (OR)
One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.