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.
Contact Us About This Project

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.

Robert Michael Pyle. Photo by Benjamin Drummond
Featured Story

The Butterfly Man

Q&A with Robert Michael Pyle

  It’s hard to call yourself a Northwest nature aficionado unless you’ve read some of Robert Michael Pyle’s writing. His works, with topics ranging from Bigfoot to butterflies, are represented in both poetic collections and practical field guides. As one of the region’s leading lepidopterists (butterfly and moth scientists) and an author of more than…

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Updates from the Field
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Fieldbook’s Looking Good
We're welcoming the warm weather with a striking, spring edition of our newsletter, Fieldbook.

Head out to your favorite springtime meadow with a fresh copy of Fieldbook and learn about butterfly fauna and conservation projects from the Pacific Coast to the East Cascades. Plus, we’ve featured two new interviews: one with Northwest author and lepidopertist on his upcoming book and a chat with our newest board member who’s offering a tribal voice to…

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Announcing our 2017 Tour Lineup!
Let's adventure together.

  There’s really no better way to immerse yourself in the nature of the Northwest than by taking a Columbia Land Trust tour, where we experience the natural world off the beaten path. In 2016, our trips sold out and we welcomed an unprecedented number of new faces out on the land. Hikers from all walks of life…

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2016 in Review
Ten ways you made a difference for the nature of the northwest in 2016.

It wasn’t always easy (meaningful conservation rarely is), but with your support, we were able to protect and restore important places throughout the Columbia River region while building strong relationships along the way. From the remote forests of Klickitat Canyon to backyard habitats in urban neighborhoods, take a look back at some of our greatest accomplishments…

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