Media Release: County encourages safe use of parks over upcoming holiday week, summer season

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Warmer weather and the upcoming July 4 holiday are expected to drive flocks of people to Clackamas County Parks and the rivers that run through them. County officials are reminding all County park visitors to follow park rules, and urging visitors to observe water safety protocol. Visitors should also be prepared for expected congestion and parking issues.

Fireworks Ban

All fireworks, including sparklers, are prohibited inside County parks. Fires are only allowed in designated fire receptacles, which are not to be moved. Fires must be extinguished upon departure. For more information, please read the Clackamas County Parks rules

Cold Water Awareness

County officials are reminding park visitors that river water can be especially dangerous this time of year.

“Despite the warm temperatures, the Clackamas, Molalla and Sandy rivers can be surprisingly cold and can pose a real threat to swimmers,” said Clackamas County Parks and Forest Manager Rick Gruen. “The coldness of the water and swift currents can place even experienced swimmers in serious jeopardy. Please exercise caution.” 

All river users should come prepared with personal flotation devices that should be worn at all times while on the water. Swimmers are strongly advised to wear a life jacket. Boaters are required to have floatation devices and whistles on board and are subject to fines if they do not.  

Additional river safety tips include:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Have a whistle or noisemaker in case you need to call for help
  • Don’t swim alone
  • Be aware of low water levels, and branches or other objects just below the surface
  • Don’t dive into water unless you are sure of the depth
  • Don’t leave children unattended in or near the water
  • Know your limits and don’t overexert yourself
  • Don’t drink alcohol during water activities, including swimming and boating


In accordance with County ordinance, deputies will be inspecting personal items to check for alcohol in County park day use areas. Alcohol is prohibited in County parks, except by permit in designated reserved picnic areas and campsites. Visitors who refuse the inspections will be asked to leave the park.


During the upcoming July 4 holiday and on summer weekends, visitors should anticipate heavy congestion at both Carver Park (along Highway 224, Springwater Road and Hattan Road) and Barton Park (along Bakers Ferry Road and Barton Park Road). It is likely that both parks will reach full parking capacity. 

If this occurs, for Barton Park, only members of the public traveling in vehicles that have prior camping or shelter reservations will be allowed entry. Commercial shuttles will still be allowed in.

Due to safety concerns, pedestrians will not be allowed into Barton Park at any time

Department Staff
Rick Gruen
Business and Community Services
Amber Johnson
Public & Government Affairs