OR: Popular Willamette Valley fishing spot gets ADA trail

CLACKAMAS, OR – A 240-acre public fishing complex in the heart
of the Willamette Valley is now more accessible to persons with

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently completed
construction of a paved pathway that makes it possible for people
in wheelchairs to reach many of the fishing ponds available at St.
Louis Ponds.

St. Louis Ponds is a public fishing park located near the I-5
freeway about two miles west of Gervais. Owned and managed by ODFW,
this site has seven ponds that contain trout, crappie, bass, perch,
catfish and other fish species. The department frequently conducts
youth angling events at the site and stocks several of the ponds
with hatchery-reared brook and rainbow trout.

The new 2,300-foot asphalt pathway was constructed by East
Valley Enterprises of Sublimity, Oregon, and is built to Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards to meet the needs of disabled
anglers. The path gives people in wheelchairs the ability to reach
fishing platforms and shore side turnouts at various locations
throughout the complex. Future plans call for construction of
additional fishing piers and platforms. ODFW has identified
approximately nine additional sites where accessible piers,
platforms and docks may be built.

“We are very pleased to offer better access for disabled
anglers, and look forward to being able to build more accessible
fishing structures in the future to increase angling opportunities
at St. Louis Ponds” said Jeff Boechler, ODFW’s North Willamette
Watershed District manager.

Construction of the pathway was paid for by a grant from the
Restoration & Enhancement Program which is funded through the
sale of Oregon fishing licenses. The project is the first phase of
a larger plan to develop additional ADA-accessible fishing
opportunities at St. Louis Ponds. Increasing opportunities at St.
Louis Ponds was identified in ODFW’s 25 Year Angling Plan, which
directs how the department will develop new recreational fishing
opportunities all across Oregon.

St. Louis Ponds is cooperatively managed by ODFW and the Marion
County Parks Department.

The property was purchased by ODFW in 1968 and opened to fishing
in 1980. The site is dedicated to Clark B. Walsh, a former
assistant director of the Oregon State Game Commission, who
initiated the purchase and development of the property for people
who enjoy fishing for warm water species. ODFW focused this project
at St. Louis Ponds because of its proximity to the heavily
populated northern Willamette Valley.

The St. Louis Ponds public fishing area is open for angling
year-round but the access road gate is closed from Oct. 1 – Feb. 28
each year. To get there, exit the I-5 freeway at Woodburn and
travel west to Butteville Road. Take Butteville Road south to
Gervais. From Gervais, take St. Louis Road west to Tesch Lane, then
turn left and follow the road to the ponds.

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