Day Use Fees Required at Sandy River Delta Starting January 21

Release Date: Jan 10, 2020

Contact(s): Rachel Pawlitz, 503-758-2624

Troutdale, Ore. — January 9, 2020 — The U.S. Forest Service will require visitors to pay a recreation fee at Sandy River Delta starting January 21, 2020.

The new recreation fee will help cover the costs of operations and maintenance of the 1,500-acre natural area, which was acquired by the Forest Service in 1991 to restore and protect sensitive scenic, cultural, recreational, and natural resources.

Annually, the site costs about $60,000 to maintain facilities and visitor services such as garbage removal, vault toilet pumping, toilet paper restocking, and dog waste bags. Prior to the fee proposal, the site already included the “standard amenities” required at all Forest Service fee sites, such as parking, bathrooms, trash cans, interpretive signs, and picnic tables.

The west end of the site provides year-round recreation on five miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, while the eastern portion is a closed ‘Wildlife Habitat Zone’ that protects natural and cultural resources. To date, the U.S. Forest Service has invested more than a million dollars in the Sandy River Delta and has worked with local partners to ecologically restore the site’s landscape, which is a rare remaining tract of ‘river bottomland’ habitat along the Columbia River.

Starting January 21, 2020, visitors will be required to purchase a day use pass online for $5.00 per vehicle per day, or display a copy of a valid pass. No cash will be accepted onsite.

Valid passes include the Northwest Forest Pass and interagency federal passes such as the free fourth grade ‘Every Kid Outdoors Pass,’ and the ‘America the Beautiful’ Passes (which are also available in discounted Senior, Military, and Access versions). Sorry, but Oregon and Washington State Park passes are NOT accepted at Sandy River Delta.

A list of nearby recreation pass vendors is available on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area website.

In accordance with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), the decision to implement fees involved taking public comments and demonstrating public support to the Recreation Advisory Committee that approved the proposal. Under Forest Service policy, 95% of the funds are reinvested into one of the fee sites within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. An annual fee accomplishment report is available online.

About Sandy River Delta

Sandy River Delta is a 1,500-acre natural area providing public access to a unique ecosystem where the Sandy River meets the Columbia River. Dubbed ‘Thousand Acres’ by many locals, the site was acquired by the U.S. Forest Service in 1991 to protect this rare remaining tract of ‘river bottomland’ habitat along the Columbia River. Historically, the delta was dominated by flood-tolerant hardwood forests made up of cottonwood, ash, alder, willows, and dogwood. During the nineteenth century, it was transformed into ranchlands and during World War II, it became the site of an aluminum factory.

Today, the delta is managed to restore and protect sensitive scenic, cultural, recreational, and natural resources. It is a ‘key viewing area’ at the west end of the National Scenic Area, managed to preserve scenic values. It has a rich cultural history of use by hunters, gatherers, and fishers, and was described by the Lewis and Clark ‘Corps of Discovery’ expedition. The Confluence Trail at Sandy River Delta leads to a bird blind designed by Maya Lin, commemorating all the species documented by the expedition.

The Forest Service has worked for decades with local partners to ecologically restore the site’s regionally important habitat, which supports anadromous fish species, migratory birds, and wildlife. In 2013, an old dike was removed to restore the river’s historic main channel, improving habitat for salmon, steelhead, and bass.


# # #