The North Umpqua River is one of Oregon’s great recreational treasures and one of the finest rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Flanked by the North Umpqua Trail for most of its length, the river is accessible by foot or by bike for nearly 80 miles. The trail is a haven for anglers, hikers and backpackers and has been ranked one of the best mountain bike trails in the country. While recreation opportunities of all types abound on the North Umpqua, what really sets the river apart is its clean, cold water and extraordinary fishery.
The North Umpqua is a legendary steelhead stream, steeped in fly fishing lore and revered by anglers from around the world. Thirty-three miles of the river are designated fly-fishing-only, and a long tradition of fly fishing conservation has helped ensure this remarkable stream stays healthy for fish. Today, the North Umpqua is one of the few designated Salmon Strongholds in Oregon, with healthy runs of spring Chinook, coho salmon and summer steelhead. It also has healthy numbers of resident rainbow and cutthroat trout, and its water quality remains outstanding.
Thanks to efforts by anglers, recreationists and other conservationists, the North Umpqua River is protected along much of its length by a number of designations, including the North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River corridor, the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway, the North Umpqua Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), the North Umpqua Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), the North Umpqua National Recreation Trail and the Oregon State Scenic Waterway. Despite these layers of protection, parts of the North Umpqua are still at risk.
In 2015, Western Rivers Conservancy embarked on an effort to protect 211 acres of forest and a mile of North Umpqua riverfront at the head of the National Recreation Trail. The need arose when Douglas County, Oregon, concluded it had to sell Swiftwater County Park, a popular park with prime access to the river, an important trailhead and a largely unbroken stand of old-growth forest. Rather than let the park be harvested or developed, WRC purchased the property in April 2016. Our goal is to convey the lands to BLM for inclusion and protection within the Wild and Scenic River corridor.
WRC’s acquisition, our first on the North Umpqua, will prevent timber harvest and development within the SRMA and ACEC and keep a key reach of the National Recreation Trail in public ownership. The project will conserve stands of old growth Douglas fir, as well as sugar pine, incense cedar, western red cedar, white fir and western hemlock. There are several high-quality gravel beds within the property that provide crucial spawning habitat for anadromous fish, including nearly a mile of Critical Habitat for Oregon coast coho, a threatened species. The forest itself provides habitat for diverse wildlife species, including northern spotted owl (threatened), bald eagle, Roosevelt elk, black bear, river otter and many others.
Nov 17, 2016
Western Rivers Conservancy is heading to the river this Black Friday when we #OptOutside with REI and millions of others who've decided to skip the madness of the mall and hit the great outdoors. Our destination of choice, of course, is the sweet smelling, soul soothing river, where we'll hike, fish, birdwatch and maybe even do a little winter kayaking. We hope you'll do the same!
To help you decide where to go, here's an abbreviated Field Guide to WRC Rivers--places where we have acquired land to protect habitat and create and improve public river access for all! And if you like these rivers, support our efforts to do more on great rivers around the West.
See you on the river!
Sep 8, 2015
The North Umpqua River is one of Oregon’s great recreational treasures and one of the finest rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Flanked by the North Umpqua National Recreational Trail for most of its length, the river is accessible by foot or mountain bike for 79 miles, making it a haven for anglers, mountain bikers, hikers, backpackers and boaters. But what really sets the North Umpqua apart is its clean, cold water and its extraordinary fishery.