River Etiquette

Be Courteous

Be considerate of other river users. Don’t use the boat ramp if other space is available. If you do use the ramp, get organized before you get to the ramp so you can launch or take out quickly. Be wary of those fishing from the bank or from boats and keep a respectful distance from their fishing lines!

Respect Private Property

Although the river is a public resource, it should be assumed that property is private unless otherwise noted on a sign or map. Respect all No Trespassing and No Hunting signs. The success of the Willamette Water Trail and other river recreation is built on public lands, and not trespassing in private lands. When camping, be aware of the boundaries of OPRD Greenways or other parks.

Leave No Trace

As you travel the river by canoe or kayak and plan to spend the night along the river, it’s important to remember to adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace. Over the years we’ve seen a few river travelers who have had a tough time understanding that, in essence, you should seek to leave any place you camp better than when you arrived.

Too often people are reluctant to talk about poop. Heck, we all do it – so let’s be frank. The better you deal with your poop the happier the River! With just a bit of consideration one can avoid polluting the river and minimize the possibility of spreading disease. There are a variety of ways to deal with human waste when camping off the grid, but often it is specific to the area. Since camping on the Willamette is often on gravel bars in the flood plain the best option, especially with any group of three or more, is to bring a simple toilet system and pack it out. These come in a variety of forms, from the Wagbag system, to free standing basins with toilet seats! A simple internet search or a visit to your local outdoor store can provide a variety of products such as the Luggable Loo, Clean Waste GO Anywhere Toilet Kits, Kelty’s Blockhouse Privacy Shelters, and many others. 

At the end of the day, what comes out of your “back end” should not mean the end of an enjoyable trip, nor should it make the use of a campsite problematic! At the very least know how to properly dig a cat hole and pack out your toilet paper! This is a key part of Leave NO Trace. The point being, do your duty!