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Columbia Park river access closed

July 22, 2020

The Bend Park and Recreation District is closing a river access point at Columbia Park, effective today. Signs and fencing are being placed to inform park and river users about the change. The closure is due to safety concerns and to prevent further erosion of the river bank.

The river access was added in 2010 as a kayak put-in location. Over time, the access point has been overused by dogs and pedestrians as well as boaters. It is also a trouble area for bridge jumping, which is prohibited across Bend.

Park district staff work closely with the City of Bend at Columbia Park due to interrelated amenities. The City of Bend owns and maintains the bridge that connects to the BPRD-owned and managed park. Staff work in coordination to educate and enforce rules related to safety.

“After evaluation of the current river bank conditions, a closure is the most responsible choice at this time,” said Sasha Sulia, superintendent of park operations. “The erosion conditions are greatly deteriorated after overuse and the planning effort underway makes the timing appropriate to take a pause on this amenity while we assess our overall management of river access.”

The Columbia Park river access point closure is in effect until completion of a river access study and public engagement process for this site and others along the Deschutes River. More information about the project is here.

There are several other locations to access the Deschutes River in proximity of Columbia Park, including Miller’s Landing Park, McKay Park, Riverbend Park, Drake Park and others. A park locator is here.

For all river recreation activity, temporary use rules include:

  • Stay six feet from others on land and on water.
  • If you cannot maintain six feet distance from others, wear a face covering, now required statewide in outdoor public locations. (Recommended for young children. People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation.)
  • Wait for others to enter/exit at river access points. Don’t clog up access.
  • Visit less popular sections and/or at less busy times.
  • Go with members of your household or small groups. No large groups.
  • Wear a lifejacket or PFD. Be prepared – the water temperature is shockingly cold.
  • Bridge jumping is dangerous and prohibited by the park district and City of Bend.
  • Bring your own tube. There are no tube rental services in parks.
  • Plan to walk; there is no shuttle service.
  • Wash hands before and after a visit.
  • Bring your own water. Drinking fountains are not available.