Scenic Area Seeks Input on Proposed Recreation Fee at Sandy River Delta Site

Contact(s): Rachel Pawlitz, 541-308-1744

Columbia River Gorge, Ore. – Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is seeking public input on a proposed recreation fee for the Sandy River Delta, a popular Forest Service site near Troutdale, at the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge.

The proposal is to charge a daily, per-vehicle standard amenity fee of $5.00 for use of the Sandy River Delta facilities. Annual passes such as the Region 6 Northwest Forest Pass and other interagency senior, military, and Every Kid in a Park passes would be accepted as alternate forms of payment.

Easily accessed from downtown Portland via I-84, the Sandy River Delta has seen a tremendous increase in recreation use in recent years. Many locals also refer to the park as “Thousand Acres,” a reference to the size of one of the plots which was acquired by the Forest Service in the 1990s to create the recreation area.

“We recognize how important this site is to the greater Portland-Vancouver community,” said Lynn Burditt, scenic area manager. “The proposed fee will help us maintain the site to the level and quality people have come to expect.”

The Forest Service has invested more than a million dollars in trailhead facilities and trails at the Sandy River Delta since it first acquired the 1,400-acre site in 1991. A network of five trails offers 5.3 miles of non-motorized, diverse use recreation opportunities. Among these is a 1.2-mile accessible gravel trail that leads to the Sandy River Delta confluence with the Columbia River, where a bird blind by artist Maya Lin commemorates the visit once made to the site by the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The site’s amenities include vault toilets, trash service, picnic tables, parking for vehicles (including vehicles towing horse trailers), and regular patrols of the area. The proposed fee would cover future operation and maintenance costs, ranger patrols, and hazard tree abatement as well as future improvements and replacement of facilities.

The public is invited to comment on the proposal until August 21, 2017 by sending comments to Lorelei Haukness, Recreation Program Manager, at with Subject: Sandy River Delta or (541) 308-1700. The Forest Service will host one or more public meetings in September 2017, most likely at locations in Troutdale and Portland. Specific meeting dates, times, locations, and more details about the proposal will be published at

Once public input is received, the proposal will be presented before one of the regional Resource Advisory Committees. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups, and will consider whether the proposal is reasonable and acceptable to the public. The public is welcome to attend Committee meetings.

Collection of fees at Forest Service “standard amenity” sites was first authorized through the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. The Forest Service re-invests 95% of the fees collected to operate, maintain, and improve fee sites. The remainder covers administrative costs.


The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection.

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