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State Scenic Waterway Program Current Events

 

 

Scenic Waterways Program

 

Oregon's diversity of river systems contribute richly to our quality of life. Oregonians decided to protect special waterways in 1970 when they voted two-to-one to establish the Oregon Scenic Waterways Program. The program seeks to balance protection and use through cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies as well as individual property owners and those who recreate along a waterway. Scenic Waterway Brochure

 
 

Potential Scenic Waterway Study

 

Under direction from the Oregon Legislature (ORS 390.855), OPRD is required to periodically study new waterways for potential inclusion in the program.

 
Purpose of Act
 
The Scenic Waterways Act was created to strike a balance between protecting the natural resources, scenic value, and recreational uses of Oregon's rivers by designating them. The state program, which is administered by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), currently includes approximately 1,200 miles on 22 waterways.
 
Recent Designations
 
In 2013-2014, OPRD conducted studies that evaluated three waterways to determine their eligibility for inclusion in the program. Issues and concerns regarding the potential designation were also evaluated to assess the feasibility of designating the waterways. OPRD worked with local advisory committees to develop draft management plans to describe in more detail how portions of the Chetco and Molalla Rivers would be managed if they were designated as State Scenic Waterway. Click here for more information...
 

Scenic Waterways Rules and Regulations

 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department must be notified of certain activities proposed within a quarter mile of the banks of Oregon's designated scenic waterways.  Such activities may include certain logging, mining, and construction actions. The proposed uses or activities may not be started until the written notification is approved, or until one year after the notice is accepted. Click here for more information...

  

News Announcement Subscription

 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department now has a Listserv for interested parties to join in order to receive updates about any current and proposed scenic waterway designations. Click on the link here to subcribe.

 

 

 

Under direction from the Oregon Legislature (ORS 390.855), OPRD is required to periodically study new waterways for potential inclusion in the program.
 

 The following general criteria are established in state statute:
• Free-flowing nature of the waterway;

• Scenic quality, as viewed from the river; and

• Natural and recreational resources, including the ability of the waterway and its setting to sustain recreational use.

 

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is currently evaluating a 17.5-mile section of the Nehalem River for possible inclusion in the State Scenic Waterways Program. 


The Nehalem River study area starts at Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground and ends at the boundary of Cougar Valley State Park, near Cook Creek Road. A scenic waterway designation would help protect the scenic, natural and recreation value of this section of river by subjecting some activities within a 1/4 mile of the bank to a review.

 

Announcements for the Nehalem Scenic Waterway Study:

November 28th - OPRD Commission voted to postpone a decision on whether to recommend designation of the Nehalem as a state scenic waterway. They will take the issue back up in February. This delay should not affect the original timeline, as the OPRD Commission is expected to act in time for the Water Resources Commission meeting soon after.

 

November 28th - OPRD Commission will be reviewing the draft management plan for the Nehalem and will consider whether or not to recommend designation of the 17.5 mile section of the Nehalem River as a state scenic waterway. The press release can be found here.

 

November 26th - OPRD Commission Chair and Vice Chair will be meeting with members of the public to hold a listening session regarding the draft management plan for the Nehalem River. The news release can be found here for more information.

 

Draft Management Plan & Additional Materials:

Current draft management plan

Public comment summary