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.

Summer Fieldbook 2018
Featured Story

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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Updates from the Field
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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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Learning the Upper Left
The Land Trust's first-ever engagement program manager, Rahul Devaskar, shares his experiences as someone new to the Northwest and his hopes for bringing people together.

  When you move to the Northwest, you get used to a few things—strong coffee, rain, Subarus with a lot of bumper stickers—and slowly you realize just how unique the “Upper Left” region really is. I used to complain to a close friend of mine (another Bay Area transplant) that there wasn’t a decent chaat…

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Traveling Upstream
Executive Director Glenn Lamb checks in on the efforts of the Land Trust's Conservation Agenda, and shares major priorities that lie ahead.

  In 2017 Columbia Land Trust staff prepared a Conservation Agenda for the next 25 years of our work. The two major goals that we zeroed in on: Conserve more land and engage more people. In this effort, we want to ensure nature in the Northwest thrives even as our population grows, and that underrepresented…

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