Hood River Access at Punchbowl Falls

by Zachary Collier

The confluence of the East Fork and West Fork of the Hood is a special spot for whitewater boaters, fishermen, and anyone who enjoys rivers. This property has been used by many years by rafters and kayakers as a take-out as the West Fork of the Hood or as a put-in for the main stem of the Hood River.

Confluence of the East and West Fork of the Hood River

Confluence of the East and West Fork of the Hood River

This river access was private property until 2006 when Western Rivers Conservancy began purchasing the land from Longview Fiber and PacifiCorp in an effort to conserve Salmon habitat and provide recreational access. Although this land has been used by the public for generations, it has been privately owned.

Lowering a rafting into the pool below Punchbowl Falls

Lowering a rafting into the pool below Punchbowl Falls

Western Rivers Conservancy is working with Hood River County to turn this into a county park which would guarantee permanent public access and protection for Salmon habitat. Your support is needed so that Hood River County understands how important this river access is to the whitewater community.

If Hood River County is unable to obtain grant money to purchase this land, Western Rivers Conservancy will need to sell the lands to a private party who will likely remove public access. Since this land is the only safe take-out for the West Fork of the Hood River, we would lose access to one of the best stretches for Class IV+ kayaking and rafting in Oregon.

The West Fork of the Hood River at Green Point Creek

The West Fork of the Hood River at Green Point Creek

If Hood River County understands how important this land is to whitewater boaters, they will be motivated to obtain the grants needed to obtain this land. They would then look to the community for ideas on how to improve this property for those who use it the most. If whitewater boaters are involved in this process, we'll have a seat at the table when they decide how to develop the property.

Punchbowl Falls County Park Site Plan

Punchbowl Falls County Park Site Plan

I'm especially excited to have a new put-in for the main stem Hood River at the confluence of the West Fork and East Fork of the Hood River. Since there is no legal access at Dee, we desperately need a new put-in location for rafting and kayaking on the main stem of the Hood River.

Rafting the Hood River downstream of the Hood River Confluence

Rafting the Hood River downstream of the Hood River Confluence

If we lose access to this property, then we will lose one of the few places that whitewater boaters can safely and legally access the Hood River.

Here’s how you can help!

1. Click here to take a quick online survey about how you use the property and what you’d like to see.

2. Attend a meeting Tuesday, January 13th and Tuesday February 10th from 6 - 7:30 PM at the Hood River County Administration Building at 601 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031

3. Support American Whitewater by making a financial contribution to the Punchbowl Falls Access Fund. This as one of the most important access projects nationally for the whitewater boating community and American Whitewater is committed to protecting this site for public access to the river.

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Author

Zachary Collier

Owner of Northwest Rafting Company, Zach Collier combines international guiding experience in places like Siberia, Bhutan, and Chile with a natural business acumen for systems and logistics. Whether he’s on big water or in the back office, Zach strives to ensure NWRC offers exceptional whitewater and wilderness experiences for guests and guides alike.

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