Today on the Land Use Trail: Umpqua River

Throughout the summer, we'll be featuring stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, August 20: The Umpqua River. Archeological research shows that the Umpqua River has hosted settlements of people and sustained local populations as long as 8000 years ago. Today, the river still sustains us with its plentiful supply of fish and wildlife, and is a premier location for an array of recreational activities.

About: The Umpqua River is quite simply the heart of Douglas County. The famously clear North Umpqua emerges from the Cascades through a fantastic series of waterfalls and renowned fly-fishing spots. After meeting the South Umpqua near Roseburg, the combined river flows 111 miles to the sea, through one of Oregon’s most significant timber-producing regions, the “Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua.”   The river is named for the Umpqua, a band of the Coquille, but its valleys have long been vital to several Native American tribes.

Key Fact: The Umpqua River is one of only four major rivers that start in or east of the Cascades and reach the Pacific Ocean, along with the Rogue, Klamath, and Columbia.

Another Cool Fact: The Umpqua River was named in 1825 by the great British naturalist David Douglas, for whom the Douglas fir is also named—but not Douglas County. (That’s named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, who strongly supported Oregon statehood.)

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Going to the Umpqua this summer? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

Help us protect important Oregon's iconic landscapes at friends.org/support.

Text by Nathen Lamb, Communications Intern. Photo of Toketee by Eric Leslie. Adapted under Creative Commons.