Rogue River

Forest Service/Public Domain

Rivers are powerful things, in the physical world and in our imaginations. 

But do you really understand where rivers come from and how their courses are set?  Sean W. Fleming, a geoscientist and a bit of a poet, considers rivers both as bodies of water and as metaphors. 

Fleming's book is Where the River Flows: Scientific Reflections on Earth's Waterways

Some presidents play golf, others retreat to their ranches or luxury beach resorts, but the 31st president, Herbert Hoover, found relaxation in fly fishing.  He said fishing “reduces our egoism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness.”  Hoover grew up in Oregon and his favorite place to fish was the Rogue River.

The year 1912 was an auspicious one for the residents of Woodville, Ore.  The town’s original name had been Tailholt, but that changed to Woodville, in honor of pioneer postmaster John Wood, when the railroad came in the early 1880s.

We get used to talking about the "wild and scenic Rogue River," but the concept is a relatively young one.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act dates only to 1968, so it celebrates a half-century birthday this year. 

Tim Palmer is certainly celebrating.  The Port Orford-based writer and photographer and lover of rivers put his talents into yet another book, Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy

The Rogue and the usual suspects from our part of the country are in there, along with some surprises from other corners of the land. 

National Park Service

It's fun to sit on the river bank and watch the water go by. 

Sean Fleming has done that, we suspect, but he's also thought a lot more deeply about rivers and what they represent, both in reality and in metaphor. 

Fleming is a geophysicist at Oregon State University and the author of Where The River Flows: Scientific Reflections on Earth's Waterways.

From how rivers shape the landscape and vice-versa... to how fluctuations in stock markets mimic rivers, there's a lot in here. 

Paying To Preserve The "Heart Of The Rogue"

Oct 4, 2016

It sounds like a dream come true: a chance to preserve more than 350 acres of land along the Rogue River, in ways that will benefit people and other creatures. 

This dream does not come cheap... but it does come at a reduced price. 

The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is working to raise $3.5 Million by the end of the year to make the "Heart of the Rogue" project a reality. 

An early U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report concluded that it was impossible to make the Rogue River navigable for steamers.

Water Issues For 2016

Jan 6, 2016
River Design Group

Everyone once in a while a river will flood in our part of the world. 

But that's the exception; more often than not, our streams get warmer and smaller as the year wears on, with more demands on water than many streams can meet. 

WaterWatch of Oregon works to keep water IN streams for fish and river users. 

Going "Wild In The Willamette"

Dec 17, 2015
OSU Press

If the Cascade Mountains are Oregon's backbone, the Willamette River is something like its main artery. 

Most of Oregon's population lives within a few miles of the big river, which rises in Lane County and flows north to Portland and the Columbia. 

The Mid-Valley, roughly halfway between Eugene and Portland, is the focus of a book of essays called Wild in the Willamette

Notable regional authors contributed works hailing the natural wonders of the river and its environs.

Man Of Many Waters: Tim Palmer

Oct 13, 2015

Tim Palmer is the kind of guest we welcome back often to the Exchange. 

Because he provides such a wealth of information in so many realms. 

It comes down to this: if it involves water in our region--flowing or frozen--Tim probably knows about it. 

He's written field guides to rivers in both states, a book about glaciers in California, and more.  He and his wife recently floated the Rogue River, all the way from Lost Creek Dam to the Pacific... journey not possible (because of dams) just a few years ago.

Southern Oregon’s Rogue River has had several names.

Paving The Way For Fish In Rogue Basin

Jul 6, 2015

  JeffX 7/7 @ 8:30: The efforts to improve living conditions for fish tend to focus on big dams, like the four proposed for removal on the Klamath River.  But changes to existing small dams can help as well.  

  The federal Bureau of Reclamation will upgrade the fish ladder at a small irrigation dam in Ashland this summer.  The project is part of a broader effort to make life better for fish throughout the Rogue River Basin.  BOR's Doug DeFlitch joins us. 

Whitewater Park Proposed For Gold Hill

Jun 11, 2015
Gold Hill Whitewater Center

Some of the best whitewater running in the country and maybe the world is available on the Rogue River. 

Now a group of whitewater enthusiasts wants to add some voltage, through the creation of the Gold Hill Whitewater Center. 

It would include an Olympic-class kayak run, along with many other features. 

Tim Palmer, The True Rivermaster

Mar 2, 2015
Public Domain

We could talk to Tim Palmer all day about the natural wonders of our region. 

But we only get him in one-hour increments, so we have to have him back from time to time. 

Tim is the author of the Field Guide to Oregon Rivers, another on California's rivers, and several other books on natural features that make our land unique. 

Expanding The Zone of "Watchable Wildlife"

Dec 19, 2014

How did a guy who worked as a wildlife biologist manage to leave millions of dollars for enhancing "watchable wildlife?"

By being a savvy buyer and seller of real estate.

The late Bob Mace worked for Oregon Fish and Wildlife for years, retiring in the early 80s.

And he left money and property behind when he died, so more people over time would be able to enjoy watchable wildlife.

Getting To Know Oregon Rivers

Oct 27, 2014

Flowing or frozen, Tim Palmer likes water. 

He joined us a while back to talk about his exploration and book on California glaciers. 

Now he's back with another book that focuses downstream. 

It's called Field Guide to Oregon Rivers.

Palmer got to know 120 Oregon streams for the work. 

Justin Corns / Oregon Dept of Forestry via

UPDATED | Friday 9/22 10:16 a.m.

An evacuation advisory in the Applegate has been lifted by fire officials, who say significant progress has been made fighting the Old Blue Mountain Fire burning three miles from Applegate between the towns of Gold Hill & Rogue River. A roadblock on Foots Creek Road was also removed on Thursday.

The 99 acre fire is the largest of eight fires sparked by lightning Monday evening in Jackson and Josephine counties. 

Concern Over Mercury In Oregon Rivers

Feb 4, 2014

The Rogue River looks pristine in many places, but looks are deceiving. 

The Rogue, the McKenzie, and other Oregon rivers may be added to a list of streams bearing high levels of mercury.  In some of the native fish, though generally not the water.

Riverkeepers At Work

Jan 14, 2014

It sounds like something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel: River Keeper.

But the term is both modern and non-fiction, describing people dedicated to keeping their target rivers in good shape, and helping get them in better shape over time.