Senator Merkley on the Molalla River

On a wet, green spring day this week I joined several of our Molalla River Alliance partners and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D) for a short rafting trip along the Molalla River. From its headwaters beyond Table Rock Wilderness in the Cascade Range, the crystal-clear and biologically diverse Molalla River tumbles through forests to its confluence with the Willamette River. It is a true remnant of the historical Oregon landscape – a river corridor filled with cedar, hemlock, old-growth Douglas fir forest, and basalt rock canyons. As well as providing clean drinking water for the cities of Molalla and Canby, the river supports a treasure of ecosystems and offers year-round recreational opportunities. It is home to native winter steelhead and salmon runs, an abundance of wildlife, geological wonders and a profusion of recreational opportunities.

American Rivers has been working with the Molalla River Alliance for the past year to achieve Wild and Scenic designation for 22 miles of this Oregon treasure. This legislation passed the House of Representatives in Nov. 2009 and is awaiting passage in the Senate. Senator Merkley co-sponsored this legislation in the Senate, along with Oregon Senator Wyden (D), and after the short rafting trip met with several members and representatives of the Alliance, including Clackamas County, the City of Molalla, and local watershed and fish groups who work in the watershed. We are delighted to have the Senator take such an interest in the Molalla River, and look forward to him continuing to champion a Wild and Scenic Molalla River.

View a short video of Senator Merkley’s Molalla visit: