Oregon

North Umpqua River

Keeping park lands open and protected on a cherished Oregon river

The North Umpqua is known for its cold, clean and exceptionally clear water, characteristics that are becoming rarer and increasingly important as rivers throughout the West get warmer. This is one of the main reasons WRC jumped on the opportunity to acquire and protect a key reach of this unique Oregon river. By conserving this stretch of the North Umpqua, we have ensured it stays healthy for fish and wildlife - and for the many people who find solace on this great western stream.
The North Umpqua is known for its cold, clean and exceptionally clear water, characteristics that are becoming rarer and increasingly important as rivers throughout the West get warmer. This is one of the main reasons WRC jumped on the opportunity to acquire and protect a key reach of this unique Oregon river. By conserving this stretch of the North Umpqua, we have ensured it stays healthy for fish and wildlife - and for the many people who find solace on this great western stream.
Photography | Tyler Roemer
Low turbidity (except during peak flow periods), low levels of contaminants and pollutants, cool water temperatures and stable minimum in-stream flows all contribute to the North Umpqua's exceptional water clarity and and health.
Low turbidity (except during peak flow periods), low levels of contaminants and pollutants, cool water temperatures and stable minimum in-stream flows all contribute to the North Umpqua's exceptional water clarity and and health.
Photography | Tyler Roemer
The North Umpqua is known for its cold, clean and exceptionally clear water, characteristics that are becoming rarer and increasingly important as rivers throughout the West get warmer. This is one of the main reasons WRC jumped on the opportunity to acquire and protect a key reach of this unique Oregon river. By conserving this stretch of the North Umpqua, we have ensured it stays healthy for fish and wildlife - and for the many people who find solace on this great western stream.
The North Umpqua is known for its cold, clean and exceptionally clear water, characteristics that are becoming rarer and increasingly important as rivers throughout the West get warmer. This is one of the main reasons WRC jumped on the opportunity to acquire and protect a key reach of this unique Oregon river. By conserving this stretch of the North Umpqua, we have ensured it stays healthy for fish and wildlife - and for the many people who find solace on this great western stream.
Photography | Tyler Roemer
The North Umpqua is renowned for its challenging but outstanding fly fishing. Our efforts ensured a key stretch of the river remains open to the public for good.
The North Umpqua is renowned for its challenging but outstanding fly fishing. Our efforts ensured a key stretch of the river remains open to the public for good.
Photography | Loren Irving
Ranked as one of the International Mountain Bike Association's "Epic Rides," The North Umpqua Trail (aka, The NUT) is one of the country's most revered mountain bike destinations. Western Rivers Conservancy's efforts protected one of the most important trailheads on The NUT and help ensure the the trail remains easily accessible to all.
Ranked as one of the International Mountain Bike Association's "Epic Rides," The North Umpqua Trail (aka, The NUT) is one of the country's most revered mountain bike destinations. Western Rivers Conservancy's efforts protected one of the most important trailheads on The NUT and help ensure the the trail remains easily accessible to all.
Photography | Leslie Kehmeier
The North Umpqua River.
The North Umpqua River.
Photography | Larry Olson
In an effort to protect the North Umpqua's fish, 33 miles of the river have been designated for catch-and-release fly fishing only.
In an effort to protect the North Umpqua's fish, 33 miles of the river have been designated for catch-and-release fly fishing only.
Photography | Andrew Krumler
In spring 2017, WRC conserved Swiftwater County Park (pictured), which was up for sale, in order to conserve an important stand of old-growth forest, key salmon and steelhead spawning beds and a popular trailhead at the beginning of the North Umpqua Trail. The trail provides outstanding access to the river and is one of the top-ranked mountain bike trails in the entire country.
In spring 2017, WRC conserved Swiftwater County Park (pictured), which was up for sale, in order to conserve an important stand of old-growth forest, key salmon and steelhead spawning beds and a popular trailhead at the beginning of the North Umpqua Trail. The trail provides outstanding access to the river and is one of the top-ranked mountain bike trails in the entire country.
Photography | Andrew Krumler
The North Umpqua is home to relatively healthy runs of salmon and steelhead and is one of the few designated Salmon Strongholds in Oregon. Our efforts at Swiftwater Park protected nearly a mile of designated Critical Habitat for Oregon coast coho, a federally threatened species.
The North Umpqua is home to relatively healthy runs of salmon and steelhead and is one of the few designated Salmon Strongholds in Oregon. Our efforts at Swiftwater Park protected nearly a mile of designated Critical Habitat for Oregon coast coho, a federally threatened species.
Photography | Andrew Krumler
The North Umpqua Trail parallels the river for nearly 80 miles. Local trail advocates began work on the trail in the early 1970's, and it was finally completed in 1997. It has since become one of Oregon's most beloved outdoor destinations. WRC's acquisition of Swiftwater Park protected the westernmost trailhead and access to 15 miles of trail that winds east along the river with no other access until the Wright Creek Trailhead.
The North Umpqua Trail parallels the river for nearly 80 miles. Local trail advocates began work on the trail in the early 1970's, and it was finally completed in 1997. It has since become one of Oregon's most beloved outdoor destinations. WRC's acquisition of Swiftwater Park protected the westernmost trailhead and access to 15 miles of trail that winds east along the river with no other access until the Wright Creek Trailhead.
Photography | Andrew Krumler

Oregon’s revered North Umpqua River is one of the finest streams in the Pacific Northwest. It is one of only two Oregon rivers that flow from the Cascades through the Coast Range to the Pacific. All other coastal streams have their headwaters in the Coast Range. The North Umpqua is also one of the few designated Salmon Strongholds in Oregon, with healthy runs of spring Chinook, coho salmon and summer steelhead. It has good numbers of resident rainbow and cutthroat trout, and its water quality is outstanding. The river is also a recreational treasure, prized by fly anglers the world over. It is flanked by the spectacular 79-mile North Umpqua National Recreational Trail for most of its length and has 33 miles of designated fly-fishing-only water.

Western Rivers Conservancy permanently conserved the 211-acre Swiftwater Tract in spring 2017, an effort that preserved important habitat for imperiled fish and wildlife and prevented logging and development along the river. The project ensured continued public access to an important reach of the national trail and to a coveted stretch of fly water. The parcels lie within multiple protected areas, 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.

The Swiftwater property occupies nearly a mile of North Umpqua frontage on both banks of the river and contains a largely unbroken stand of old-growth forest. Douglas fir dominates the over-story with additions of sugar pine, incense cedar, western red cedar, white fir and western hemlock. There are several high quality gravel beds within the property that provide spawning habitat, including nearly a mile of designated Oregon Coast Coho Critical Habitat. 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.

WRC’s acquisition of the Swiftwater tract placed a cherished reach of North Umpqua riverlands into permanent protection within the BLM section of the Wild and Scenic River corridor. It kept a prime trailhead at the start of the National Recreation Trail in public ownership, ensuring Douglas County residents and river lovers from around the world have access to this stretch of the North Umpqua in perpetuity.

Funding for the North Umpqua Project was made possible through generous contributions from multiple sources, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Meyer Memorial Trust, The Steamboaters, the Taylor and Alice Alexander Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, the Martha Staley Marks Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation and with the generous support of many additional individuals, foundations and businesses.

This project was also made possible thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America's most important federal conservation and recreation program. LWCF has protected critical open space and public lands in nearly every state and every county in the U.S.

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