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Columbia River Gorge - East
Mosier Beach

Overview of Wind Site and General Area Map of Site - zoom 6
Map Legend - zoom 6 Closeup of Wind Site and Access Map of Site - zoom 18
Map Legend - zoom 18

Location: Exit 69 of I-84.

Windsurfing Potential: Moderate wind and moderate swells with some cross-chop.

Facilities: None. A long sand spit jutting out into the river.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Management Plan:
(excerpted verbatim from the Recreation Development Plan, Part III-Action Program; dated September, 1992)

Development Proposal: The proposal involves a water-oriented, multpurpose day-use facility. Proposed uses and facilities include a windsurfing rigging and launching area, a swimming beach, picnic area, and a moderate to large parking area. Except for the parking area, the proposed recreation facilities and use areas would be located on fill in the main stem of the Columbia River, in the area north of the freeway. This fill area is proposed to include a large grassy area and substantial native tree plantings between the freeway and the bulk of the park area. Such plantings could perform several positive functions, including screening of the freeway from both the park and the river itself, reduction of freeway noise in the park, wind break and enhancement of riparian habitat and scenic values in general. This proposal includes a parking area located south of the freeway and east of Rock Creek. Pedestrian access from the parking area to the river would be provided by a path under the freeway at the outlet of Rock Creek.

Several critical issues require resolution before this proposal can be implemented. As mentioned above, the proposal would convert an area of shallow water habitat to dry land. Mitigation of the loss of shallow water habitat will be necessary, and might involve rehabilitation and enhancement of existing wetlands, including the riparian area near the mouth of Rock Creek that was altered to provide windsurfing access and parking. Creation of new wetlands may be required, as well.

A related concern involves the location of the proposed parking area south of the freeway, which includes some wetlands. Existing state and federal regulations generally limit uses on fill (converting wetlands to uplands) to water-dependent uses. While uses such as boat launches are considered water-dependent, parking areas are not. Approval of this proposed park would likely require placement of the parking area on lands not involving the filling of wetlands.

A third issue involves vehicular access to the site. Several alternatives have been considered, mostly involving either an access road off the current freeway ramp or access via the Historic Highway and under the railroad tracks (similar to the current access). Either approach involves either alteration of the freeway interchange or access off the Historic Highway, most likely requiring a railroad underpass. It is recommended that this proposal be prioritized for further study, focusing on these three issues.

This proposed project should be pursued by the City of Mosier and Wasco County, with technical assistance from state and federal agencies. Possible candidate agencies for managing and operating the park could be the City of Mosier or the Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District.

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