Planning begins for new whitewater surf park on lower Clackamas River

Jan 26, 2014 by

Planning begins for new whitewater surf park on lower Clackamas River

We Love Clean Rivers (WLCR) recently was awarded a grant from Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs to develop a plan for a whitewater surf park on the lower Clackamas River.  Such a park will make the lower Clackamas River a destination spot for whitewater kayakers, stand-up paddlers (SUP), surfers, river boarders, and canoeists.

“A whitewater surf park on the lower Clackamas River will offer great tourism benefits to the local area,” says Sam Drevo, President of WLCR. “Whitewater parks across the country have created booms in tourism and economic development by promoting recreation, training, commerce, improved safety, and fish habitat,” explained Mr. Drevo.

One example is a whitewater park in Golden, Colorado. This investment has had an economic impact of $1.8 million a year and improved fish habitat in Clear Creek.

Whitewater and stand up paddling have been growing in popularity in Oregon yet they are a largely untapped target for river tourism. Shortened commute time and easy access could generate an “after work” crowd on the lower Clackamas, serving a pent-up demand for outdoor whitewater recreation.

The project will also benefit fish habitat on the lower Clackamas. “A well designed and constructed water feature could provide habitat benefits for fish and aquatic life as well as for boaters,” said Tim Shibahara, the Supervisor Fish Biologist with Portland General Electric (PGE).

WLCR will partner with McLaughlin Whitewater Design, experts in whitewater park design, on this project. They will conduct preliminary engineering, design, and cost analysis and will create a presentation for the various agencies overseeing fish and wildlife. In addition, an economic impact study will be conducted that examines community benefits such as improved tourism, environmental awareness, fish habitat, and safety.

PGE, American Whitewater, Metro Parks, Oregon Whitewater Association, Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club, Northwest River Guides/eNRG Kayaking, All About Rivers, Reed College, and Popina Swimwear support this project.

Please contact WLCR if you are interested in advocating, funding, or stewarding this project. High resolution photos of surf park projects like this one are available upon request.
Contact: Kate Daniel
Phone: 503.729.5807





  1. Robert Bernstein

    .. love fishing the lowest part of the clack..don’t really see how this will co exist with fish or fishing..just more water traffic, cans in the water…the county has sold and developed almost all the old access spots..parking is difficult/impossible as it is….

  2. This is fantastic news. Let us know how we can help!

  3. That’s great news — can’t wait to see this wave in action! Thumbs up for the project and keep spreading the love of river surfing 🙂 River Surfing Mag

  4. Richard

    Any info as to what specific locations are being considered? “Lower
    Clackamas” is pretty general…

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