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River Ambassadors needed for McIver to Barton Section of Clackamas River

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Calling all River Rats*!

The Clackamas River needs a little help. 

While river visitors often help clean up the river as they go – and many greatly appreciate the fresh supply of Stash the Trash bags, an invention of our own Clackamas River Basin Council – some still leave trash on the banks, and many accidentally loose things like flip flops, stray cans, and cell phones.

The river still needs help, and volunteering as a River Ambassador is a fun way to actively steward this incredible resource (home to wild animals, drinking water for hundreds of thousands, recreational dreamscape).


River Ambassadors help clean the river, replinish the Stash the Bag stands (so others can join them in cleaning things up), and in general model safe, low impact river stewardship and recreation. They also contributed the Clackamas Water Trail website and map signs (see latest Press Release post), channelling key information and answers often asked of River Ambassadors.

We currently have great teams dedicated to the sections from Barton Park to the mouth, but do not have a regular team focused on the less busy/more wild sections of the Clackamas Water Trail from the upper McIver State Park launch to Barton Park. 

Basic Details

  • We are looking for one, two or more volunteers to sweep the McIver to Barton sections at least bi-weekly through the middle of September (as of July 8, this would be roughly 6 times).
  • Volunteers must be an experienced and comfortable Class II+ boater (kayak, canoe, raft, drift boat) and able to provide their own transportation, boat and river gear. All volunteers must wear lifejackets on the water while serving as River Ambassadors.
  • We Love Clean Rivers provides parking passes, cleanup supplies, and a nifty River Ambassador hat and shirt (we encourage wearing both or either, but it is not required). We also provide additional training and ongoing ‘live’ support. 
  • River Ambassadors set their own schedule, usually go in teams of two or more, and mainly do their own cleanups at their own pace and help keep the Stash the Trash bag stations in their section stocked (bags and stands provided by Clackamas River Basin Council).
  • We ask River Ambassadors to provide a simple report with a rough estimate of trash collected and date of sweep.
  • This summer, we are also tracking #’s of lost footware (flipflops and others), unopened drink containers, and abandoned vinyl tubes and pool floats. 


Please email Matt Taylor directly ( and we can talk about how to get started. 

*NOTE: “River Rat” refers to anyone who regularly paddles rivers. It is a loving term even if it also a little edgy. 

The ultimate river rat is the the Muskrat. Most closely related to water voles, Muskrats are not actual rats, and they rank with otters for agility in swift water. 

Muskrats are also is the River Ambassador mascot.

Before European colonization, Muskrats occupied virtually every niche as beavers, and then some: Muskrats also thrive in whitewater environments, often avoided by their burlier rodent cousins. However, like beavers, they were hunted for their fur pelts and have not recovered to their original range. 

Since River Ambassadors started in 2019, there has been no official siting of a Muskrat on the Clackamas River, but some say they are certainly there . . . 

Artistic rendering of a Muskrat holding a twig