BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation manages the new Deschutes River whitewater park, and officials admit they've heard from concerned users. Julie Brown says the organization is trying to help educate river-users about the new routes now that the weather has warmed, "I know for many this past weekend may have been their first experience with the Bend whitewater park and we want to make sure people are doing that as safely as possibly; and understand it's really kind of ‘know before you go.’" She tells KBND News, "There is information that’s available at the primary locations for entering the river that does encourage parents and children to be aware of their own abilities and take necessary precautions.
We are very much recommending that parents and children make sure they’re properly equipped for traveling the river."
But, Brown admits, "We’re learning a lot about the Bend whitewater park, right along with other members of the community. And, this is still going to be a wild river; the Deschutes River is a community treasure for us but there are some safety precautions that are going to be necessary."
Photo from Bend Parks and Rec website
Click HERE to read about one local family's experience in the passageway channel, described as safe for floaters.
Brown says it's important users understand what is and isn’t appropriate. "We did see some instances of pool equipment going through the whitewater channel that are not going to be the best safety precautions to be able to be used through that area. So, that’s something we’re really encouraging people to have the proper equipment and also plan in advance so they know where they might want to get out of the river."
Brown describes the calls received over the weekend as those from floaters who had "less than positive" experiences. But, she says they are listening to feedback. "If it’s necessary and we need to add some additional information, in particular about children, to ensure that safety element is taken care of and people know what to expect, that’s certainly something we’re going to be looking at."