Lifeline of the Northwest: the mighty Columbia River

Here at Columbia Land Trust, what we do is simple: We conserve and care for the heart of the Northwest, the places that make ours an incredible region to live, work, raise a family, and grow old in. Wetlands and oak woodlands. Columbia River tributaries and Columbia River shores. Forests both wild and working. Natural areas in urban strongholds and wide-open spaces that anchor rural communities. These are the places that provide all of us who call the Northwest home with well-being and an unrivaled quality of life.

We work strategically with urgency and with purpose. Population forecasts in both Oregon and Washington show a steady increase of people; in both states the majority of the increase is due to net migration—people moving here from elsewhere. That projected growth puts tremendous pressure on our land and water, including wildlife’s homes, working forests, and farms.

For us, the message is clear: The time to conserve the Northwest is now.

The places we own have strong conservation values, whether as working landscapes or as habitat for plants and wildlife. We work respectfully with willing landowners to either buy land or to help them place a conservation easement on their property. This legal tool permanently limits development or other uses on a piece of land, to ensure that, say, a family farm does not become a site for houses. Our stewardship team then builds long-term management plans for each place, based on the best available science, to ensure the land we own is as healthy as it can be.

We are committed to being good stewards, neighbors, and community members; we reject an us-versus-them mentality that leads to roadblocks. Land conservation can bring people together. We all value land, water, and wildlife (though not always in the same way). Differences do not dissuade us from finding a way forward as much as inspire us to find smarter, better solutions. It’s not always easy to find that path, but we believe we must find those places where our values intersect.

Our positive, relationship-based approach has helped us become one of the most respected land trusts in the country. To date, we’ve conserved more than 27,000 acres of land. Our donors number 2,700. Our work region now encompasses two states and 13,760 square miles around the Columbia River and its many tributaries, in an area stretching from The Dalles to the Pacific Ocean.

Join us. Help us build a Northwest that is vital, thriving, prosperous, and wild. Because land, water, and natural areas don’t just support life, they are life itself.