Editorial: A welcome splash in the Deschutes

September 19, 2015
Editorial: A welcome splash in the Deschutes

It’s been a year in the making, and this weekend the weather is expected to cooperate as the Bend Park & Recreation District opens the new Bend Whitewater Park to the public.

The park is a boon to recreationists, wildlife and river safety. About a third of it was designed with whitewater enthusiasts in mind. A second third provides space for those seeking a lazier float on a hot afternoon, and the final third creates better habitat for birds, fish and other critters. The new, though incomplete, footbridge is also open.

The changes should make the Deschutes River in south-central Bend a much safer place for those who use it, as well.

Those who use the redesigned Deschutes can thank the park district and taxpayers for the changes. But they must not forget the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, whose members and friends have contributed more than $1 million to the $9.7 million project. That group’s final fundraiser and a demonstration of the river’s new whitewater features begin this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe.

The Deschutes is many things to Bend: its most recognized physical feature, home to some of its best parks and a draw for residents and tourists. Today it’s also a safer place to play and a pretty one, at that.

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