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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Bend Whitewater Park attracts 2,200 floaters a day during summer season

The WaveShaper feature in the Deschutes River at the Bend Whitewater Park in Oregon. (Andy Tullis / Bend Bulletin)
The WaveShaper feature in the Deschutes River at the Bend Whitewater Park in Oregon. (Andy Tullis / Bend Bulletin)

RIVERS -- This year, in its first full summer season, more than 231,000 people floated the Deschutes River through the Bend, Oregon, Whitewater Park passageway channel on inner tubes, kayaks or paddleboards.

The Bend Bulletin reports that’s roughly 2,200 floaters each day between May 15 and Aug. 22.

Ride the River shuttle, which ends for the season Monday, has seen a steady increase in riders this summer.

The Bend Whitewater Park, built, in part, with money from a $29 million bond passed by voters in 2012, opened in September 2015 but closed a month later for repairs.

Repairs last winter that cost almost $535,000 addressed problems with people getting hurt, hung up on rocks, puncturing their tubes or getting dumped into the water.

“The floating experience is still a river, so there have been some instances of cuts and bumps on the rocks that staff have witnessed or heard about, but these instances are infrequent, and the feedback has been mostly positive this summer,” park district spokeswoman Julie Brown said.

The nearby rental shop for kayaks and other craft saw a bump in business. On peak days, the park district estimates 200 to 300 surfers and kayakers used the whitewater channel’s four artificial waves.

Spokane had made steps starting in 2005 and acquired support and $500,000 in funding toward a whitewater park on the Spokane River near the Sandifur Bridge in Peaceful Valley, but the plans have been shelved because of several issues including concerns for redband trout passage and spawning.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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