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Willamette River Water Trail

Oregon State Parks Foundation was a proud supporting partner of the Willamette River Water Trail.  Other lead partners include:  Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State Marine Board, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Governor Kulongoski’s Plan for The Willamette River Legacy, Oregon State Parks Trust, Willamette Riverkeepers, Portland Parks & Recreation, GI Joe’s, Columbia Sportswear, and American Heritage Rivers.

This third phase portion of the Willamette River Water Trail (WRWT) completes the 216-mile water-based trail.  The third section stretches 72-miles between Wheatland Ferry and the Willamette River’s confluence with the Columbia River.

In general terms, a water trail is a stretch of river, shoreline or other waterway that has been mapped out for access and use by—and the education of—canoeists, kayakers, other non-motorized boaters, and related recreational consumers. Just as hikers walk on dirt pathways, the flow of a river-based trail provides liquid pathways for canoeists, kayakers, and rafters. Water trails provide multiple access points, allowing users to choose to travel along it for short or long distances and even choose to spend multiple nights along the trail.

The WRWT links existing public lands, providing the public with more opportunities to use existing public resources and reconnecting people and communities with the Willamette River.

The project addresses four primary needs, those related to recreation and wellness, education, economic development, and the environment.

First, all Oregonians require easily accessed opportunities for healthy, participatory recreation, especially as a means to wellness and fitness. With over 70% of Oregonians living within 20 minutes of the Willamette River, recreation based on and along the river is ideal for addressing this fundamental need. This is especially true in the Portland metro area, where people live more densely and nearby recreational options are already in heavy use.

Next, all Portlanders—indeed all residents of and visitors to Oregon—need high-quality, learning experiences. The WRWT provides experiential learning opportunities, ranging from skill building (e.g. kayaking, canoeing), to information about the Willamette River and how our individual decisions impact its qualities and conditions, to knowledge of indigenous peoples and native plants, fish, and wildlife, to the cultural history of the most populous region of the state.

Third, Oregonians need opportunities to work and earn a livable wage. The WRWT will offer a variety of individuals and businesses new and expanded economic and work opportunities. Obviously, businesses that rent or sell boats and related equipment will benefit from just having more people needing their products and services. In addition, the WRWT will create new economic opportunity for people and businesses that can provide services such as shuttle services, lodging and food near or accessible from the river.

Finally, those who live along or utilize the Willamette River have a need for it to be as clean, safe, and sustainable a resource as possible. The WRWT will put more people in close contact with the river and will encourage responsible stewardship of this unique resource.  An overarching goal is to increase the perceived value of a healthy, accessible river, influencing both public policy and individual action. In addition, metropolitan water trails and increased river use elsewhere have served to decrease crime (especially vandalism) and increase positive community spirit.

Please click here:

For more information about the Willamette River Water Trail;

To request a printed copy of the Willamette River Water Trail guide (a detailed, waterproof map of the WRWT); or

To print your own customized water trail guide.