The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) released its statewide action plan for water trails back in 2005. Besides setting goals and objectives, the action plan outlines the reasons why OPRD wants to assess a fee on non-motorized boaters.
Except for grants, OPRD currently receives no funding to provide access or facilities for non-motorized boating infrastructure in Oregon. Non-motorized boating is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in Oregon. As paddling continues to increase in popularity, there is going to be greater demand for access to rivers, lakes, and streams, which this action plans address.
One of the drawbacks to paddling the Tualatin River is that there isn't easy access to the river within reasonable paddling distance to each park along the river. The Tualatin River is one river being considered as a water trail. There are plans to build a park with boat access off Farmington Road. The money to build that park is coming from a grant that Metro has provided. TRK and others who paddle the Tualatin would like to see access to the river every five miles. Camping would even be nice.
Access to the Tualatin River and other rivers takes money to build the infrastructure like parking, docks, and restrooms needed for paddlers, and OPRD simply doesn't have the funds at this time.
Maybe it is time for us paddlers to step up and help our state park system provide quality non-motorized boating facilities that will encourage further growth of the recreation we enjoy so much. I am not adverse to a fee, and I think if you read the report you will understand and support a fee if it is reasonable.
Click here to access the plan, which lays out OPRD's vision of how it hopes to accomplish its plan for establishing a system of water trails in Oregon.