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.

The iconic Pacific Crest Trail blaze
Featured Story

[Guest Story] 300 Miles

A former stewardship intern and recent seasonal employee, Nathan Kossnar, reflects on his journey on the Pacific Crest Trail during fire season and the solar eclipse, and his work for Columbia Land Trust.

I have spent the last two summers with Columbia Land Trust’s stewardship team; last year as an intern and most recently as a seasonal employee this summer. This August, I was fortunate enough to take personal time off to hike along the Oregon Cascades from Crater Lake National Park to the Columbia River Gorge, a…

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Updates from the Field
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[Public Notice] Klickitat River Haul Road Reopens
As of Thursday, September 21st, the fire restriction has been lifted and access is open at the twin bridges gate to haul road. The north end will remained closed due to construction for approximately another week.

Fore more details on the Haul Road restoration, read our project updates.   

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The Eagle Creek Fire
Executive Director Glenn Lamb offers a statement in response to the tragic Eagle Creek Fire

Dear Friends, We are all struggling to come to terms with what might be lost in the Columbia Gorge as the fires burn. Our hearts are bound to all the lives deeply affected: friends and communities whose homes have an unknown future; firefighters and first responders and volunteers; wild creatures and rare habitat; and all…

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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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