HILLSBORO, Ore. — In this week's Let's Get Out There, we head to the Tualatin River with Tualatin Riverkeepers for some kayaking enjoyable at any skill level.
At Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro, there’s a perfect way to beat the heat.
“It's an awesome way to explore more of the river than you would traditionally,” said Brittany Leffel, stewardship coordinator for Tualatin Riverkeepers. The community-based organization protects and restores the Tualatin River watershed.
A $40,000 grant from the Oregon State Marine Board helped transform their trailer into a mobile rental shop.
“Today we are enjoying the river,” said Leffel. “We're getting folks out to show them what the section looks like between Rood Bridge Park and the Farmington boat launch.”
Many kayaking groups paddle the Tualatin River. About ten members of the Facebook group PNW Chicks That Love Sticks gathered at the Rood Bridge boat launch for a midweek outing, organized by KGW executive producer Alison Rodgers.
“I was scared to kayak at first, I debated about it for a long time — and I'm like, 'Just get out there,'” Rodgers said. “And it was amazing, and it's my favorite thing to do now.”
“Kayaking has pretty much become my main source of mental health. It's pretty much become my church,” said kayaker Sarah Cassidy.
This is the first year of Tualatin Riverkeepers’ Tualatin River Paddle Challenge. Through September 5, you can kayak, canoe or paddleboard the 38.4 miles of the river’s National Water Trail.
“It's really designed to be on your own pace, on your own time,” Leffel said. “People can go out and paddle the river either for a certain amount of days or for a certain amount of miles.”
Cassidy was the first to complete the full 30-mile challenge. Last year she paddled 100 miles.
“This year my goal is 150 and I'm already at like 142 miles.”
The current is as mellow as it gets. A great place to start for all ages, especially beginners
A big part of these organic group outings is caring for the watershed. Members collect loose trash on the river and carry it back to the boat launch. River experiences coordinator Mark Fitzsimons says it’s about more than just cleaning up.
RELATED: Rafting on the White Salmon River
“The biggest issue really isn't litter, it's the bigger picture,” he said. “It's what's going on away from the river, it's managing storm water, it’s what we do in our yards, it's what we do in our neighborhoods.”
Once you’re on the water, Tualatin Riverkeepers hopes you’re inspired to take care of it well before all that storm water pours in.
“If you're looking for that fast white water adrenaline rush, this isn't a place for you,” Cassidy said. “But if you're just wanting to like get out and really appreciate everything that especially the Willamette Valley has to offer, this river is perfect.”
Let's Get Out there airs once a week on KGW's 4 p.m. newscast and The Good Stuff, which airs Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. We're including viewer photos for this series. You can text your photos to 503-226-5088 or post them on the KGW Facebook page.