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Clackamas River Summer Update!

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Ongoing direct action to keep the Clackamas Clean

Over the last two months, volunteers with We Love Clean Rivers have been paddling the Clackamas, meeting with riverside land managers and stakeholders, and engaging the public with simple messaging around stewardship and safety. It’s been fun. We are learning a lot.

Some takeaways

  • The summer crowds have come to the river, particularly to the popular Barton to Carver and Riverside to Clackamette (or Dahl Beach) sections. Parking is limited, especially at Carver and Riverside. Check out the latest message on alternative float and boat sections from the Clackamas County Tourism office. Plan accordingly!
  • The river remains unseasonably cold. We have witnessed hundreds of floaters in bathing suits get to the end of almost four hours on the water mostly with sporting attitudes but a bit drained and cold. Check out the newly made Clackamas River Conditions webpage to better plan. We are also adding River Condition boards at the launches to help these river lovers make good choices! Check them out when you get to the river (they are currently only at McIver upper launch and Barton) and let us know what you think. 
  • While the upcoming heat wave will balance nicely with the mid 60 degree (F) water, remember floating is slow and sometimes part of you is submerged the whole time. Enjoy the refreshing and clean river, and think about either floating a shorter section or bulking up on additional layers of swim/river clothing. Remember, wearing a life jacket (or personal floatation device, PFD) can also keep you warm!
  • We Love Clean Rivers is working with the Oregon State Marine Board to update and support the Lifejacket loaner stations on the river (check out the map!). Park rangers, staff, and volunteer River Ambassadors will help keep them stocked – many thanks to those who have supported and helped with this program. Lives have been saved. Any river visitor should grab one if they need it, and return it at the take out when they’re done.
  • Stash the Trash bags are being regularly stocked, and park staff are working hard to keep up with litter in the parking lots and around the parks. A hearty thank to their amazing work dealing with the park-loving public and doing the hard job of cleaning up after that same public. 
  • After almost a dozen trips down different sections of the Clackamas over the past two months (and after the high flows from the spring), the river appears amazingly clear of litter (see photos below). But after only a few weeks and hot days, the litter has grown. Thanks to a number of stalwart River Ambassadors, litter is getting grabbed early and other users are watching stewardship in action. 

Please email if you are interested in joining a Mini cleanup and/or learning how to become a Clackamas River Ambassador!

Photo highlights from Clackamas Mini-cleanups and Recon trips in June and July 2022.