Columbia River Gorge - Columbia Land Trust

Columbia River Gorge

Pierce Island from Beacon Rock. Photo by Tom Dempsey
  • Number of Projects:7
  • Acreage: 332
  • Fact: Typically an alpine species, a few American pika (the Northwest’s cutest critter) live in the Gorge—and no one knows why. Studies are determining how this mountain-loving species is adapting to lower elevations and higher temperatures.
  • Experience: The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area stretches 85 miles, a place where the river carves a sinewy path through dramatic, plunging cliffs. Its waterfalls, forests, wildflowers, and plentiful opportunities to explore nature define the great Northwest.
  • What We’re Doing: Restoring a Gorge island. Conserving lands around and adjacent to the Scenic Area. Helping partners achieve conservation goals and building on the protection afforded by the NSA designation.
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The Big Picture

Named a National Scenic Area in 1986, the Columbia River Gorge is a world-renown destination. Since our beginnings, we’ve worked to ensure its natural splendor is conserved and cared for. Today, we are the owners and caretakers of Pierce Island, one of the most iconic Gorge islands, located just beneath Beacon Rock. Here we are improving habitat for spawning salmon, Roosevelt elk, raptors, and native plants. We also work with partners to ensure people can enjoy the Gorge’s splendor: Two of our properties permanently protect sections the flagship Cape Horn Trail.

Why It Matters

Protecting the Columbia River Gorge doesn’t stop at the boundary of the National Scenic Area. To protect the Gorge, we must protect rivers, and forests that surround it, including place like our lands on Wind River, an important river for Chinook, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. One example of the Gorge’s fragility? Some 800 species of wildflowers grow here, 15 of them nowhere else on Earth. Pierce Island, for example, is home to Rorippa Columbiae a state-endangered member of the yellowcress family known to grow in only two places in Washington. We are working to ensure its story does not become one of extinction.

Photo by: Jay Kosa
Featured Story

Nature Knows Best

Natural climate solutions represent a key strategy to combat climate change

If you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you care about the environment (thank you). It’s also a safe bet that in the process of staying informed about the challenges of pollution, habitat loss, and global climate change, you’ve recently found yourself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer gravity of it all. It seems as…

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Updates from the Field
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[Tour] Eagles, Ecology, & Mid Columbia River Tribes
A new take on one of our most popular tours! Join us for our next eagle viewing tour in the Columbia River Gorge.

Join us as we travel east through the Columbia Gorge to the lower Klickitat River to learn about and view bald eagles that gather here in the winter to feed on salmon. Bird expert C.J. Flick will teach us about eagle behavior and identification tips as we view the regal congregation of bald eagles. During the…

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A Fieldbook for Forests
The summer edition of our Fieldbook magazine covers major conservation efforts and includes our 2017 Annual Report.

Our newest edition of Fieldbook celebrates Northwest forestlands, both working and wild, with major conservation success from the West and East Cascades. Learn about the Land Trust’s single-largest conservation site to date in Washington’s Klickitat Canyon in Klickitat Always. Discover how our staff worked with a timber company to protect 20,000 acres of forestland from development near…

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Klickitat Always
Conserving our single largest site to date in a canyon rich with wildlife and cultural significance.

We talk about Washington’s Klickitat River a lot. That’s because there aren’t many places with intact forests, unfettered rivers charging with salmon and steelhead, and more than 200 species of wildlife in the Northwest that still exist within one watershed. This summer, Columbia Land Trust conserved its single largest, fully-owned site to date—3,200 acres in…

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