The Whitewater Park in Bend is something that all Bend-ites know and love… but do you know it’s history?
The site of the whitewater park was formerly the Colorado Dam, which was built in 1915 to form a millpond…. unfortunately, the dam also created blockage for both river users fish to safely pass through. In 2007, Bend Park and Recreation District and the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance converged to find a way for the river passage to be safer, more user friendly and help restore fish habitat. Through community support, bond measures, tax revenue, grants and private funding the Bend Whitewater Park was conceived!
Opened in 2015, the whitewater park’s rapid features are created by twenty-six, underwater pneumatic bladders, which created 3 distinct passages through the river… a Passageway channel for those who like to keep it mellow, a Whitewater Channel for experts to show off their skills, and a Habitat Channel, dedicated to our animal friends.
The Whitewater Park is one of the best manmade river-surfing waves around, and draws expert surfers and riders from around the world. The operations of the rapids is also world class – the 26 air bladders are permanently attached to the river bed to shape whitewater waves, control water flow and direction, and can be manipulated in real-time by touchscreen controls (think iPad with wifi)! On any given day, you can find surfers, kayakers, swimmers, SUP’ers and locals hanging out at the park.
If you can’t make it to the park but want to check out the action, Bend Bulletin has a live webcam found here: https://www.bendbulletin.com/outdoors/webcams