The Pacific Northwest is a river lover’s paradise. The coastal rivers of Washington and Oregon still run with salmon finning their way to spawning beds in legendary streams like the Rogue and Umpqua. Waters overflow from frigid springs in the Cascade Mountains, while glaciers shine from volcanic peaks.

At the headwaters of this region, Idaho offers some of America’s finest extended wilderness whitewater trips. The Salmon is the uncontested centerpiece; the longest free-flowing river in the West, it makes its way 420 dam-free miles to its confluence with the Snake River in fabled Hells Canyon. A trip down the Salmon’s Middle Fork is among the most sought-after river voyages in the world. Coveted steelhead trout still return to many of these rivers, though their numbers are markedly diminished by dams on the lower Snake River.

To the north, Alaska boasts 20 percent of the river mileage of the nation, nearly all of it wild. That northern circulatory system still shows the qualities that once existed elsewhere in streams thick with fish and animated by moose, wolves and grizzly bears.

No other place offers such rich opportunities to protect what has been lost elsewhere and to preserve—intact for future generations—some of the very finest American rivers.

Key issues

The Pacific Northwest is a leader in innovative water and river management. The region is home to the nation’s biggest dam removal project, green infrastructure efforts to protect clean water, and a groundbreaking water supply and river restoration agreement on the Yakima River that is a model for other western river basins.

For over 20 years, American Rivers has been the lead voice for river conservation in the Pacific Northwest. We are known for our advocacy on issues ranging from dam removal to water supply to Wild and Scenic River protection.

Today, the Rivers of Puget Sound and the Columbia Basin are a priority focus for American Rivers. We are working closely with state leaders to reshape the way water is managed, ensuring that rivers remain healthy while meeting the needs of the region’s communities. As climate change shrinks mountain snowpack and causes more intense floods and droughts, our work to protect the Northwest’s rivers and fresh water is more important than ever.