Chances are that this summer you canoed, swam, fished, paddle boarded, timidly dipped a toe, or took in a view of the glistening beauty of the numerous rivers, streams, and lakes.
Environment Oregon's new report shows that 12.4 million people who explored Oregon state parks with a waterway, including 807,542 adventurers who traversed National Park Service territories with waterways, 178,050 registered boaters, and 612,331 fishing enthusiasts.
The report comes with a call to action. While more and more people are discovering the wonder of the Willamette and its refreshing coolness particularly in the summer months, Environment Oregon says that “more than half of Oregon’s rivers and streams are not guaranteed protection under the nation’s Clean Water Act.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking public comments until October 20 and has already gathered over 21,000 public comments in favor closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act, which would protect the Rogue, the Deschutes, and countless other smaller streams and rivers from polluters.
What is clear is that as we continue to float, speedboat, swim, and simply luxuriate, we can look forward to seeing next year’s statistics rise in numbers as more Oregonians and travelers dive in to the safer, bountiful Oregon waterways.