Bond Measure Projects: Deschutes River Trail & Parks

drt-river-south-600px.jpgDeschutes River Trail project mapOVERVIEW:

The Deschutes River Trail has been a vision of the park district since 1981. The first segment of the trail was dedicated in 1989 and by 1999 the vision was formally adopted in the Bend Riverway Plan. This plan was further refined in the 2002 Deschutes River Trail Action Plan that studied individual trail segments and identified 56 projects necessary to complete the plan. Approximately 46% of these projects have been completed in the last 10 years. Completing the trail within the district will allow trail users to hike and bike from Tumalo State Park to Sunriver. Trails have long been the top priority among citizens in Bend, and add to the quality of life by promoting healthy lifestyles. Trails are an important part of the urban fabric and offer important transportation and recreational links throughout the community. The Deschutes River Trail is the spine of Bend’s urban trail system and has been the most challenging to complete.

June 2013 Update:

The first of several land acquisitions tied to the connection of the Deschutes River Trail is under contract. On December 18, 2012, the BPRD Board of Directors authorized Don Horton, Executive Director, to enter into a contract with an owner of land adjacent to Gopher Gulch Park. A contract has been set for a future acquisition. In the meantime, the district has been given easement to begin trail development planning.

A new pedestrian bridge, located down river from First St. Rapids now open. This bridge is not part of the bond projects but it does expand trail access to both sides of the river below Revere and therefore affect park access in that area as well.


  • Footbridge to Gopher Gulch – Spring 2014
  • Development of First St. Rapids Park (A new pedestrian footbridge now connects both sides of the Deschutes River Trail near First Street Rapids.) Park development scheduled for completion in 2015
  • Road access, parking and trailhead at Gopher Gulch – TBD
  • Trail bridge at south urban growth boundary —  TBD
  • Trail connection from Mirror Pond area to downtown – TBD

Various projects featured in the following video and listed below.

Create Access to Gopher Gulch Regional Park & Purchase Adjacent Park Land:


In 2010, the district acquired 122 acres at Gopher Gulch Ranch for future regional park development. The property is situated along the river between the district-owned Archie Briggs Canyon and Tumalo State Park. Tentative development plans include access, trail head parking and the continuation of the Deschutes River Trail. Community input will further prescribe the facilities and amenities that the future park may include. The improvements at Gopher Gulch Park will make 1.4 miles of riverfront accessible to the public. The project will also add more than 2 miles of new Deschutes River Trail by connecting the existing leg of the trail on Awbrey Butte to Tumalo State Park.

The bond would fund purchase of a sixty acre parcel located adjacent to the 122-acre Gopher Gulch Park site owned by the district. The district considered purchasing the additional land in 2010, but the owner was not ready to sell at the time, nor did the district have the funding to acquire the additional property. This parcel includes an old stagecoach stop and dairy barn at its northern end. Adding this parcel to Gopher Gulch Regional Park will assure water and wildlife habitat protection, historical preservation, and additional access to the Deschutes River and the river trail access. It will allow for expanded historical and early central Oregon farmland interpretation while preserving prime deer habitat.

Deschutes River Park Land – North Canyon:


Located on the southern end of Gopher Gulch Ranch is a 28 acre parcel. This parcel would add an additional .4 miles of Deschutes River Canyon to the 1.4 miles that the district owns at Gopher Gulch Ranch. The two parcels are contiguous to one another and to the Archie Briggs Natural Area. The accumulation of parcels including Gopher Gulch Ranch (122 acres), the 60 acre parcel mentioned above, Jeffers Property (28 acres), and Archie Briggs Canyon (32 acres) will create a 242-acre regional park, and satisfy the regional park requirements for the next 20 or more years. This parcel is also needed to link the Deschutes River trail to Gopher Gulch Ranch and Tumalo State Park. Adding this parcel to the Gopher Gulch Ranch will assure water and wildlife habitat protection, historical preservation, and Deschutes River and trail access. The property has exceptional natural spaces including basalt cliffs, old growth ponderosa, wildlife, and some of the best whitewater in the Bend UGB.

Deschutes River Wildlife Preserve – South Canyon:

Located on the south end of Bend along the Deschutes River,  approximately 80 acres features two Areas of Special Interest (ASI): an upland ASI including a cinder cone, and a river ASI that encompasses the land adjacent to the Deschutes River. The ASIs are prime wildlife habitat and worthy of preservation and are in consideration as a perpetual nature preserve. The district desires to locate a trail through this location to a river crossing at the south end of the property offering pedestrian access to the Deschutes National Forest trails that extend to Sunriver as well as connections to the cinder cone and Elk Meadow in the RiverRim neighborhood.

Deschutes River Trail – Right-of-Way Acquisition and Easements:


The Deschutes River Trail between Drake Park and Pacific Park crosses private property. It will be important to acquire land and necessary easements through these properties to assure the continued long-term use of the trail and to connect the trail to downtown Bend and Brandis Square. The locations of these properties skirt Mirror Pond.

Deschutes River Trail – Development at First Street Rapids:


Funding to help complete the construction of the eastside of First Street Rapids Park will allow the community to take full advantage of the park resources surrounding First Street Rapids and come close to completing all parks located along the Deschutes River. The eastside of First Street Rapids Park development has also been a priority of the board because of the newly installed First Street Rapids pedestrian bridge. River parks provide a community-wide benefit by providing for wildlife habitat and offer recreation opportunities for residents and our visitors.

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