Protecting the Deschutes River and State Scenic Waterways
Oregon is justifiably famous for its iconic rivers, and the Deschutes River – one of Oregon’s rivers designated a State Scenic Waterway – is no exception. While the Deschutes River provides outstanding opportunities to many recreationists, the Deschutes River corridor is also home to osprey, bald eagles, golden eagles, great horned owl, river otters, deer, elk, cougar, red tail hawks, beaver, spotted frogs, and more. Conservation of Oregon’s rivers is an area that enjoys widespread support in Oregon. A bipartisan coalition has come together to support increased protection of Oregon’s State Scenic Waterways, and in particular the Deschutes River.
While we support a trail system that connects Tumalo and Bend to Sunriver, we want to ensure that any associated increased disturbance to wildlife is limited. To this end we are concerned that the proposed location for a new bridge along an important stretch of the Deschutes would be problematic. We are concerned that reducing river protections afforded by the State Scenic Waterway designation would set a bad precedent that could spread to other issues and other rivers. As Oregonians, we have a duty to protect our iconic rivers from short-sighted, destructive uses. Let’s work together to protect our rivers and wildlife and encourage recreation increases in areas where it’s most appropriate. The Protecting the Deschutes River and State Scenic Waterways campaign is a bipartisan proposal to increase conservation of Oregon’s rivers. The campaign seeks to:
- Resolve the bridge issue along the Deschutes River and direct a study to find the most appropriate trail route to connect Bend to Sunriver. The same conservation upgrade would also be applied to the Metolius River;
- Set a mitigation fee for developments that degrade protected river corridors;
- And formalize current policy directing State Parks to consider up to three new rivers for protection every two years.
With support from conservation organizations, recreation organizations, private landowners and public citizens, we can ensure that we protect and restore Oregon’s waters as an enduring legacy for future generations.