The Nestucca is a wonderful coastal river and a State Scenic Waterway that unfortunately has some challenging access issues. For the most part this a road-side run through Siuslaw National Forest with some farms and a few homes along the river. When the fish are running expect to see the fishermen out although they tend to concentrate most of their activity on the sections downstream of the take-out.
If you use the upper put-in the run starts out with the biggest drops in the first mile that includes a class IV rapid followed by class V Silver Falls. Silver Falls is on private land and private landowners have made clear that they do not believe it is possible to scout or portage below the high water mark. If you are found tresspassing, the landowners have communicated that they will prosecute to the full extent of the law including provisions contained in ORS105.700 which provides for civil penalties in addition to original charges. For these reasons, this section is not recommended for those who are uncomfortable boat scouting. Once past Silver Falls, the river flows through the class IV Bible Belt, which is a technical boulder garden.
If you could find an alternate put-in, you could cut off the top mile of the most challenging rapids. The rest of the river provides consistent action with good recovery sections in between. A few of the drops deserve a class III rating but most of the rapids are class II.
Logistics: From the town of Beaver on Highway 101 head east up Blaine Road (County Highway 858). At mile 6.3 there is a wide shoulder where the river comes up against the road that provides access across the street from the "Blaine Church". This is the take-out.
Guidebooks describe an alternate put-in at the bridge at mile 13.1 but this is private land. In examining the county parcel data it does appear that the river is within the highway right-of-way just downstream of the bridge, but paddlers are advised to stay clear of this area as parking is limited and landowners have raised issues with paddlers who have blocked private access at the bridge or private driveways in the area.
Public access is available at Rocky Bend Campground at mile 14.3 (where the Siuslaw National Forest represents public land on both sides of the river). You need to be prepared to run Silver Falls without scouting from shore.
For those who want to extend the float you can continue on down beyond the take-out but the whitewater tapers off and you will be sharing the river with fishermen.
The log bridge described in Soggy Sneakers is as an alternate access below the class IV/V drop is private land and not available for river access.
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Rocky Bend Campground
Alder Glen on the Nestucca
Paddling the Nestucca
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This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.
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