Comparative Analysis of Whitewater Boating Resources in Oregon: Toward a Regional Model of River Recreation

Document Type



Oregon Water Resources Research Institute

Publication Date



As whitewater boating becomes more popular, public agencies will find it most efficient to manage rivers systematically, using strategies designed to offer opportunities for the boating experiences each river is best able to provide. To develop such strategies, managers need comparative data on the breadth of whitewater recreation experiences. This paper describes a comparative study of whitewater boating on four rivers representing a range of experiences offered in Oregon: Deschutes, Rogue, Clackamas, and Upper Klamath. Comparisons are made of boater characteristics, dimensions of typical recreation experiences, perceived social impacts, estimated economic values of experiences, and suitable substitute experiences. The latter issue is especially important to regional management in that it concerns how rivers might fit together as a system. Findings on substitution and similarity are analyzed to provide a checklist of river characteristics which managers may use to evaluate a particular river's place in the overall recreation "system."

Also included is an in-depth study of the Clackamas River, which differs from other rivers studied previously in Oregon and elsewhere by having an early (spring) season and by being only an hour's drive from a major metropolitan area . Along with the various issues examined for the comparative study described above, this study examines the effects of flow rates and the early peak use season on Clackamas boating behavior. Three appendixes are included: a description of methods used for economic valuation; and summaries of responses to surveys given on the Clackamas and Upper Klamath rivers.


Final technical completion report #WRRI-108