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Bend Whitewater Park to Open February 27, 2016

February 26, 2016

The Bend Whitewater Park will open on Saturday, February 27. Temporarily closed since October, construction crews have taken advantage of seasonal low water flows in the Deschutes River to make several improvements to the park.

Work included installation of monitoring system components and new wave-shaping bladders, creation of a more surfable wave feature, building of trails along the channels and sculpting in-channel pools to improve floater experience.

The park is made up of three in-river channels: A passageway channel for floating through the park, a whitewater channel for experienced whitewater paddlers, and a wildlife habitat channel, which is closed to people. The $9.7 million Bend Whitewater Park was funded by the 2012 bond measure passed by voters to invest in parks and recreation facilities, property taxes and $1.13 million in donations raised by the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance. All improvements done this winter were within the project budget.

“The current water conditions for the park’s opening tomorrow will be quite different than what people will experience next summer,” said Chelsea Schneider, Project Manager. “The flow and water levels in the river are very low this time of year and water is must be directed to the passageway channel for fish passage which then affects the whitewater channel conditions.” Schneider added, “There are whitewater play opportunities now, but later this spring and summer, higher flows will return and there will be more optimum conditions for the whitewater channel’s wave features and the passageway.”

Access to the whitewater park is from below the bridge, entering at the McKay Park beach or from Miller’s Landing Park. Featuring a spectating area, the new pedestrian bridge at the Bend Whitewater Park is also now open and is accessible from both sides of the river. Construction in the area will continue through this fall with the renovation of McKay Park and completion of the City of Bend sewer line project. Look for temporary closures and detours.

The Bend Whitewater Park website features information about park use and, together with the Bend Whitewater Park Facebook page, will have regular updates on river conditions. Learn more about the Bend Whitewater Park.