Caring for Our Lands - Columbia Land Trust
Executive Director Glenn Lamb reflects on our stewardship commitment


Columbia Land Trust has perpetual management responsibility for an area of land equivalent to more than 400,000 typical backyards. Put another way, we have responsibility for managing an area five times the size of Portland’s Forest Park. And our holdings are dispersed across about 200 separate properties, in an area of 20,000 square miles—an area larger than nine states.

How do we do it?

Before we accept a property, we study it, clarify our goals for ownership, and develop a management plan projecting out at least 40 years. We identify annual activities and the budget needed to meet our goals. We ensure that we have the funds in hand, or a credible method to raise the funds, to implement our plans.

Our overall management philosophy is that restoration and stewardship are best when designed to allow natural ecological functions to occur. We aim for Mother Nature to “manage” the lands over the long term, greatly decreasing our management costs while also meeting our mission of conserving vital lands, water, and wildlife.

We have teams of trained staff and volunteers dedicated solely to restoration and maintenance of our lands. Every property is visited multiple times each year, and monitored through aerial flights and photography. We get to know our neighbors, who are often the first to notice issues that need to be addressed.

We try to be humble. We are constantly learning and improving our annual management actions. We learned last year that one type of manual removal of weeds actually made the weed problem worse! This year we are trying new approaches.

You, our members, have donated funds through estates and gifts that have helped us build a stewardship endowment capable of supporting our annual activities. And more than 3,000 of you are restoring your own backyards throughout Portland, Lake Oswego, Gresham, and Fairview!

In every Fieldbook we aim to show you a little more about our stewardship, which is really about how we meet our mission. Enjoy this edition, and thank you for making this work possible!