Bend Park and Recreation District (BPRD) and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) are partnering on projects along the Deschutes River to improve recreational access and habitat conditions.
Working together, BPRD and UDWC applied for and received grants to help fund the project; two from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board , one from the Bend Sustainability Fun, and one from the Sunderland Foundation.
This first project is located between the Bill Healy Bridge and the Farewell Bend footbridge. Riverbend and Farewell Bend parks are heavily used community parks that draw extensive numbers of visitors for river recreation, playground use, events, sports and pass through use along this section of the Deschutes River Trail.
- The creation of three designated access points, where user-created access points with eroding streambanks currently exist, so recreational users can access the river without harming existing or restored habitat.
- Restoring and fencing off riparian areas outside of new designated access points where existing user-created access points have led to impacts to vegetation and erosion of streambanks. New habitat will also be created as part of this project.
- Improved accessibility by integrated terracing to facilitate ease of access for those with mobility limitations and children.
- New interpretive signs that can educate users and visitors about past and present use of the river in this area and the importance of conserving natural resources.
- Habitat restoration – Restore riparian, wetland and instream habitat in the project area. Restoration includes constructing a one-quarter acre wetland connected to the river, planting approximately 2,500 riparian and wetland plants, placing ten in-stream logs in newly restored riparian areas for habitat and to deter use of restored areas, and noxious weed control. In addition, 2,000 feet of split rail fencing will be installed to protect and limit access to restored areas.
- Improved river access – Develop three designated water access points with durable stone steps down to the river where recreational users can access the river without harming existing or restored habitat.
- User education – Design, produce and install three interpretive signs to educate users about riparian and instream habitat and the historic nature of the project site.
Farewell Bend Bridge to the Bill Healy Bridge
For more information on the Riverbend South Access and Restoration Project, please contact
Tel: (541) 706-6154
Frequently asked questions:
How does this project balance habitat restoration and recreational access?
This project will serve as a model for creation of new designated access points, while also restoring adjacent areas that have been impacted by recreational use. BPRD and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council has partnered on the project that will have both recreational and habitat benefits including:
New designated access points – In a 2017 survey, people indicated that access to the river is a top need, despite 25 existing designated access points. The project will address an expressed community need for improved river access by providing three designated access points that will directly benefit residents and visitors alike.
The habitat in this area of the river is highly degraded as a result of user-created access. This project will restore riparian, wetland and instream habitat in the project area, which is part of an area designated as critical habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog.
Education – This project will include the design, production and installation of interpretive signs to educate users about riparian and instream habitat, and the historic nature of the project site. Education is a critical element of successful restoration projects, and these signs will educate users and hopefully shape behavior in such a manner to minimize any future impact to the habitat.
Inclusion and accessibility:
The Deschutes River provides river recreation to residents and visitors alike, regardless of age, gender, ability, skill level, economic status or race. This project will improve river accessibility through the design and construction of stone terraced entry steps into the water at three designated locations. This design allows for users to more easily access the river, with one element at access point #3 developed in consultation with Oregon Adaptive Sports and the Central Oregon Coalition for Access.
Why is the river trail closed along one of its most heavily used sections for this project?
Safety is the top concern and it is not feasible to share the space during construction. There will be equipment and material staging throughout the duration of the project and we ask trail users to find alternative routes or take out-and-back trips on the river-right or north side of the trail section.
Why can’t a detour or partial closure allow for shared use during the project?
Due to the type of work being performed along the river edge, large materials being used, and large equipment on site, opening of the trail during the project would bring safety concerns for community members. Additionally, a closure enables more efficient work that may reduce the time to completion for a quicker reopening of the trail and the new access points.
The following renderings are conceptual and for illustrative purposes only.
Current image of Farewell Park river left frontage unimproved.
Conceptual image of Farewell Park river left frontage with improvements.
Current panoramic image of Farewell Park river left frontage unimproved.
Conceptual panoramic image of Farewell Park river left frontage with improvements.