PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Trust for Public Land has worked with the U.S. Forest Service to ensure 97 acres of riverfront access along the Wild and Scenic Crooked River are protected for public use, they announced Friday.
The Crooked River is a nationally designated Wild and Scenic River which runs through the High Desert in Central Oregon and provides remote recreation opportunities including fishing, hunting, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and stunning scenic views.
“By conserving this land and providing trail access to the river so near to Bend, Redmond and Madras some of the fastest growing and diverse communities in Oregon, we’re giving more people an opportunity to experience this incredible recreational resource,” said Kristin Kovalik, Oregon Program Director for the Trust for Public Land.
The property, located along the river north of Crooked River Ranch, will be managed by the Forest Service as part of the Crooked River National Grassland.
“We are delighted to have this unique and special portion of the Crooked River Gorge in public ownership,” said Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland Forest Supervisor Shane Jeffries. “The acquisition of these acres through the Land and Water Conservation Fund will ensure that the public will gain access to the river and its beauty will be protected for generations.”
The conservation of land along the Crooked River is part of TPL’s long-term effort to protect habitat and recreation in Oregon. The property spans from rim to rim across the river canyon and provides the only public river access for 20 miles, allowing greater public access for recreation while also maintaining critical habitat for Threatened and Endangered species as well as important cultural resources.
Each year, active outdoor recreation generates $16.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 172,000 jobs in Oregon and the addition of this property to the National Forest system will only contribute to that.
"The Crooked River is a desert oasis that flows through a spectacular setting,” said Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “We are grateful for the patience and perseverance of TPL and USFS to see this project through to completion. It has represented one of the top river access priorities in the West and we are thrilled generations into the future will have the opportunity to experience this special place.”
Funds used to acquire this property were secured through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a longstanding federal program that directs fees from oil and gas drilling to investments in parks and open space.
“The Crooked River Canyon is among Oregon’s most breathtaking landscapes,” Senator Jeff Merkley said. “Thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Ochoco National Forest will be able to provide local community members and visitors much-needed public access to the Crooked River Canyon Wild and Scenic River. This project will further fuel a robust outdoor recreation economy, in an area that contains some of the most stunning natural landscapes that we treasure as Oregonians.”
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.