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Meeting set Jan. 23 to identify waterways for State Scenic Waterway candidate study

Jan. 5, 2017

Salem OR--The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites the public to help prioritize river segments for an ongoing study of candidates for the State Scenic Waterway program. A public meeting will be held on Jan. 23, 2017, from 9 a.m. to noon in the North Mall Office Building, Room 124, at 725 Summer St. NE, Salem.

Oregon law requires OPRD to periodically study rivers for inclusion in the State Scenic Waterway Program. OPRD staff developed a potential scenic waterway candidate list during the Oregon State Trails public plan approved in 2016. Staff then further refined the list to include only rivers that met the criteria outlined in Oregon State Statute (ORS 390.855):

  • The river must be relatively free-flowing.
  • The view from the waterway must be pleasant.
  • The river must have outstanding recreational value.
  • The waterway must be able to sustain substantial recreation.

The department is also taking feedback on proposed river candidates until Jan. 23 through an online survey: http://svy.mk/2ieQ7NM. The survey allows participants to sort review segments and suggest qualified candidates not already on the list, though write-in candidates won't be considered after Jan. 16.

OPRD staff will use all the feedback to select river segments to study in 2017-2018. The study process will include several public meetings and other opportunities to provide feedback. If a river segment is found to be eligible and suitable for designation, staff will develop a recommendation and plan that will go before the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Oregon Water Resources Commission, who could ultimately send a recommendation to the governor.

The State Scenic Waterways Program protects a lake or river's natural resources, scenic values, and recreation. Scenic waterway designations do not affect existing water rights, but designation does require landowners to notify OPRD of certain activities along the waterway. Oregonians voted to establish the Oregon Scenic Waterways Program in 1970. The program currently protects approximately 1,200 river miles on 21 rivers and one lake. Governor Kate Brown designated portions of the Chetco River in Curry County and Molalla River in Clackamas County in 2016.

Scenic Waterways criteria and other information about the program can be found online at http://bit.ly/scenicwaterways. For more information about the meeting or the designation process, call Alexandra Phillips at 503-986-0631 or send an email to scenic.waterways@oregon.gov.