Oregon State Scenic Waterways Program

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The Oregon Scenic Waterways Act was created in 1970 with the understanding that certain Oregon rivers should be set aside for conservation. In 1988, Oregon voters added this stretch of the Upper Deschutes river (the most downstream mile inside Bend's Urban Growth Boundary) to the State Scenic Waterway program via Measure 7. They did this to protect the "outstandingly remarkable values" this river exhibits.

In our development oriented society, it takes special diligence to protect our natural resources.”
— Voter’s Pamphlet, Oregon General Election (1988) (Sen. Bill Bradbury, Sen. Jane Cease, Rep. Ron Cease, and Rep. Dave McTeague).

After this designation was made, a committee of tribes, state and federal agencies, irrigation districts and local government developed the Upper Deschutes Comprehensive Management Plan (UDCMP). Using the UDCMP as a framework, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), the agency in charge of administering the Scenic Waterways Program, promulgated its own regulations under OAR 736-040-0073 for management of this area. Both the UDCMP and subsequent regulations under OAR 736-040-0073 prohibited several types of development, including bridges, recognizing the conservationist intent of the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act.

The management legacy for the Upper Deschutes Scenic Waterway is one of increased protection and environmental restrictions have never been removed from this scenic waterway.