Lower Umpqua considered for Scenic Waterway designation

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has initiated a study of a segment of the South Umpqua River for possible inclusion in the State Scenic Waterways program. The 27-mile segment is in the southwest part of the Umpqua National Forest, running between Camp Comfort campground and Tiller. The agency anticipates the study will take 18 months to complete. Oregon law requires OPRD to periodically study rivers for potential inclusion in the waterways program. The process involves evaluating the river and collecting data, consulting with local communities, and drafting a report for public comment. The river must be relatively free-flowing. The river must have outstanding recreational value. The waterway must be able to sustain substantial recreation.  Scenic waterway designations do not affect existing water rights. Oregonians voted to establish the program in 1970 via the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act. Approximately 1,200 miles on 21 rivers and one lake have been designated under the program. The two most recent program additions, a 14-mile segment of the Chetco River and a 13-mile segment of the Molalla River, were designated by the governor in 2016. A study of a segment of the Nehalem River wrapped in February.