Bend partners will use floater rental fee to fix damage along Deschutes River as use soars

Date:
July 9, 2021
Bend partners will use floater rental fee to fix damage along Deschutes River as use soars

Having the Deschutes River in Bend's backyard is part of what makes Central Oregon special. Many residents and tourists alike can be found floating on the Deschutes River in Bend during the summer months.But a combination of record-breaking temperatures and people with a case of cabin fever from the pandemic means more people are floating the river.However, high numbers of people using the river each day can have serious impacts. Sunscreen, erosion and a lot of trash take a toll on the river throughout summer.The Bend Park and Recreation District says river use now is nearly double the volume for July in 2018-2020 -- and heavy usa means more damage to the river.That's why this year, Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe partnered with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council to create a 'Give Back to the River' campaign by charging a $1 fee for every tube rented.That dollar can go a long way -- especially when 30,000 people rent a tube each summer.BPRD has 16 parks along the Deschutes River, which include 25 designated access points and over 94 user-created access points.A member of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council says the entire stretch of river from the Bill Healy Bridge to Drake Dark has areas of damage."We really want people to use the designated access points, because the areas they use to get in and out that are not designated are really getting trampled," said Kolleen Miller, the council's education director. "The vegetation is getting destroyed, and again those areas are eroding, which causes water quality problems."The money will be used for planting vegetation, helping the pH (acidity) of the water and cleaning up trash in the river. Miller says it'll also go toward educating the community on proper river use."We'll have the funds to support our public awareness campaign, but also to build it and really grow it to meet the community needs most importantly to meet the needs of the river," Miler told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. "But we know that it's going to contribute significantly to help us raise awareness and protect the river that we all love."By Carly Keenan

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