Molalla River, Oregon

American Rivers is working with the Molalla River Alliance to pursue Wild and Scenic designation for almost 22 miles and 7,000 acres of the Molalla River and surrounding riverside lands. The river is nestled in the Willamette Valley, only 50 miles from Portland, Oregon.  From its headwaters beyond Table Rock Wilderness in the Cascade Range, the crystal-clear and biologically diverse Molalla River tumbles through private and public 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.

The river’s spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead, salmon, and native wild cutthroat trout makes it a salmon stronghold in the larger Willamette River Basin.  Annually, thousands visit the Molalla River Recreation Corridor for hiking, kayaking and white water rafting, touring and mountain biking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and swimming.  The access of the river to the greater Portland area means it sees more and more visitors every year, putting it at risk of destructive uses if left unprotected.  Furthermore, logging in the basin planned in the near future would decrease water quality for native fish and drinking water sources.  If the Molalla is not protected, its native fish runs and wild areas will be permanently damaged.  Designation would ensure that the local community and visitors are able to enjoy the outstanding values of the river forever. 

A Community Alliance
Over the past year, the local Molalla River Alliance has become the champion of permanent river protection for this special river.  The Alliance is truly a broad-based coalition of over 45 community groups and supporters, including: the City of Molalla, Clackamas County, Molalla Police Department, Molalla River Anglers, numerous neighborhood associations and private landowners, and several state and federal agencies.  The mission of the Alliance is to safeguard, enhance and sustain the ecosystems and natural resources of the Molalla River for the enjoyment and benefit of all visitors and local communities.  This Alliance demonstrates the local and regional significance of the Molalla, and protecting the river will undoubtedly benefit a diverse range of stakeholders, as well as revitalize the local community.

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