Oregon

North Fork Smith River

Conserving a stronghold for salmon and steelhead on Oregon's Central Coast

Lower Kentucky Falls and North Fork Falls, at the confluence of Kentucky Creek and the North Fork Smith.
Lower Kentucky Falls and North Fork Falls, at the confluence of Kentucky Creek and the North Fork Smith.
Photography | Loren Kerns
North Fork Smith river
North Fork Smith River, Oregon
The North Fork Smith is a cold-water refuge for Umpqua River coho, cutthroat trout (pictured) , fall chinook and winter steelhead. WRC conserved the last unprotected stretch of the NF Smith within the Siuslaw National Forest's Kentucky Falls Special Interest Area.
The North Fork Smith is a cold-water refuge for Umpqua River coho, cutthroat trout (pictured) , fall chinook and winter steelhead. WRC conserved the last unprotected stretch of the NF Smith within the Siuslaw National Forest's Kentucky Falls Special Interest Area.
Photography | Jay Fleming for the USFWS
North Fork Smith river
North Fork Smith river bank

Oregon's North Fork Smith (not to be confused with the North Fork Smith of Northern California) serves as a salmon and steelhead stronghold for the large Umpqua River system, with good runs of coho, sea-run and resident cutthroat trout, fall chinook and winter steelhead. The North Fork Smith's cold water and complex habitat provide a refuge for fish in summer months.

In 2003, WRC conserved a unique 320-acre property on the North Fork Smith, which is now part of the Siuslaw National Forest. The property was the only private in-holding within the Kentucky Falls Special Interest Area, a seven-mile-long corridor of old growth in the Siuslaw National Forest. This area contains the largest expanse of mature Late Successional Reserve in the Oregon Coast Range. It is best known for the spectacular twin waterfalls formed with Kentucky Creek and the North Fork Smith River plunge, side-by-side, over a forested cliff.

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