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The Willamette River Water Trail

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

During the environmental movement in the 1960’s and 70’s public concern for air and water pollution encouraged congressional action. The EPA was established, the Clean Air Act passed in 1970 followed by the Clean Water Act in 1972, endangered species act passed in 1973, and the National Water Trail System began trailblazing river conservation across the country.

To restore and protect waterways the National Park Service headed the National Water Trails System. The National Water Trails System consists of designated water trails dedicated to conservation, restoration, and increase in public recreation and access. Today, there are over 30 water trails within 25 states and more being added every year.

Requirements for water trails include an organizational structure to sustain continued restoration, conservation, public education, public recreation, support from state, public, and private entities, trail maintenance and planning, and trail information to include mapping and trail description.

In 2012 the Willamette River joined the National Water Trails System with over 200 miles of designated trail along the Willamette River and its tributaries made possible by the non-profit organization Willamette Riverkeeper.

Willamette Riverkeeper has done incredible conservation work for the Willamette River. They have created a complete and detailed map of the Willamette River with marked campsites, access points, boat ramps, parks, and detailed river information, hold an annual river cleanup, offer several educational and restorative programs, and host numerous public events for everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in the conservation of our Willamette River.

Works Cited

“Environmental Movement.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Jan. 2022,

“ Homepage (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

“NRT Database.” National Recreation Trails Database, American Trails,

Willamette Riverkeeper, Willamette Riverkeeper,

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