Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science John Tubbs Celebrates Designation at 12th Annual Paddle Oregon Event
CORVALLIS – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science John Tubbs today joined paddlers and kayakers at McCartney Park in Linn County to celebrate Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's designation of the Willamette River Water Trail as part of the National Water Trails System.
The National Water Trails System is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a conservation and outdoor recreation strategy built for the 21st century and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The designation promotes America's exemplary water trails and their contribution to environmental stewardship, outdoor recreation, and river conservation.
The Willamette River Water Trail is one of nine National Water Trails designated by Secretary Salazar. The designation acknowledges not only the recreation values of the trail, but also the excellent stewardship of the state, local communities, and other partners who maintain the natural beauty and integrity of the Willamette River.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Tubbs presented the certificate of designation and noted, “The Secretary believes that culture and commerce are inextricably connected by our Nation's rivers.” He further stated, “The economic benefits of outdoor recreation are vital to the local communities and partnerships that manage and support the water trail. The Willamette River Water Trail is a paragon in this growing movement, connecting Americans to their rivers. As more Americans explore the unique and vibrant rivers across the nation, it will foster the need to protect and maintain these national treasures.”
The Deputy Assistant Secretary was joined by Travis Williams, Executive Director of the Willamette Riverkeeper and participants who gathered along the Willamette River for the 12th annual Paddle Oregon event to celebrate the designation.
“Since the inception of the water trail along the Willamette, more people have become attuned to the opportunity that the Willamette River provides for close-to-home recreation,” said Williams. “Over 70% of Oregonians live within a half hour drive of the Willamette, and consequently have a great opportunity to utilize the river.” The Willamette Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the rich ecological diversity of the Willamette River, as well as expanding opportunities for river recreation.
With the designation, the National Park Service will work with the state of Oregon and local partners to promote public use of the river and improve access to the water trail. The Willamette River Water Trail has developed a successful partnership among local communities, public and private entities, including the Willamette Riverkeeper, and with the state of Oregon in developing and maintaining the water trail and its access points. This partnership extends to fostering a shared mission of conservation and environmental stewardship.
Events and organizations such as Paddle Oregon and the Willamette Riverkeeper play significant roles in the support and preservation of the Willamette River Water Trail. For more information, visit http://www.willamette-riverkeeper.org/WRK/index.html and http://www.paddleoregon.org/.
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