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Tualatin River Water Trail light watercraft access study

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Planning parks and trails    Planning future parks    Tualatin River Water Trail

Find out about plans to improve paddling access to the Tualatin River. Metro and its partners are studying two Metro natural areas to determine the best place for a new launch site.

Imagine a beautiful commute along the Tualatin River with frequent, easy-to-access launch sites from Hillsboro to West Linn. As one step in making this vision a reality, a new small-craft launch site has been selected for Metro’s River Road natural area near Farmington.

The 83-mile Tualatin River is an outstanding natural resource that has shaped much of the landscape of Washington County. After an initial fast drop from its headwaters in the Coast Range, the river meanders slowly through the county before picking up speed near its confluence with the Willamette River in West Linn. The languid water speed along much of its length makes the river ideal for canoes and kayaks.Canoeing on Tualitan

For now, public launch sites in the lower river exist only in Tualatin and Tigard. The next public access point is almost 20 miles upstream, at Hillsboro’s Rood Bridge Park. The River Road site will offer another easily-accessible launch point and promote awareness of water quality issues and wildlife habitat protection.

Though funding is not available to build and maintain this new site, its selection helps Metro and project partners such as Tualatin Riverkeepers as they develop a proposal for grant funding to support construction and long-term maintenance.

The idea of a water trail along the Tualatin River was first envisioned in Metro’s 1992 Greenspaces Master Plan. Since then, Metro has purchased nearly 400 acres in the Tualatin River Greenway through the 1995 and 2006 natural areas bond measures. 

Site selection process 

A project advisory committee made up of agency, community and natural resource organizations, property owners and citizens selected a preferred location for a potential public access point. The committee met multiple times to advise the project team on agency and community concerns and issues and serve as a forum to evaluate the sites, consider public feedback and build a final consensus recommendation for a preferred location. 

An open house was held in February 2012, to share the committee's two top preferred launch sites and receive feedback. Input from the public helped the advisory committee and Metro staff select a preferred launch site to move forward for potential funding opportunities. The recommendation will include a conceptual site plan with potential amenities and features. The advisory committee included representatives from:

History of preservation

In 2011, Metro Councilor Carl Hosticka proposed an amendment funding a boat launch on the Tualatin River. Read Hosticka's personal message about the decision. Go

Learn more about Metro's investment in the health and protection of the Tualatin River Greenway. Go

  • Metro
  • Washington County
  • Clackamas County 
  • City of Tualatin 
  • City of Hillsboro 
  • Clean Water Services 
  • Tualatin River Watershed Council 
  • citizen representatives


View a video tour of the proposed launch site.

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Protected by voters

Chehalem Ridge

12,000 acres and counting

Thanks to two voter-approved bond measures, the Metro Natural Areas Program has protected more than 12,000 acres across the Portland metropolitan area. Caring for this land enhances water quality, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities for future generations. Learn more

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