Klickitat & Little White Salmon

A true beauty: the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River. Photo by Doug Gorsline
  • Number of Projects:13
  • Acreage: 8885
  • Fact: Washington’s only native oak, the Oregon white oak, can live more than 400 years and support more than 200 vertebrate species, including the state-threatened western gray squirrel.
  • Experience: Starkly beautiful canyonlands dotted with oaks and pines, basalt cliffs, and talus slopes: Both the Klickitat and the Little White Salmon wind through breathtaking Northwest vistas that support land-connected livelihoods and a cornucopia of wildlife.
  • What We’re Doing: Protecting rare oak woodlands and oak-and-pine forests, as well as working forests and ranches that define the communities here. Restoring Klickitat River floodplain by removing eight miles of road from riverside: a real return to wild.
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The Big Picture

The Klickitat River is spectacular: Make a trip to the river and you’ll see why its lower 10.8 miles were designated as Wild and Scenic. Columbia Land Trust acquired its first land here in 2001; since then, we’ve markedly expanded the amount of land we care for. Our most ambitious restoration project? We removed eight miles of an old road from the Klickitat River shore, allowing the river to reclaim its historic floodplain for the first time in 80 years. We also care for land along the Little White Salmon, a 19-mile-long Columbia River tributary to the west, which courses through similar terrain and is a go-to hotspot for whitewater kayakers.

Why It Matters

Both the Klickitat and the Little White Salmon Rivers are critical for native plants and wildlife: The area’s Oregon white oak woodlands and pine-oak forests support more than 200 species, including Lewis’s woodpeckers and the state-threatened western gray squirrel. Millennia-old runs of salmon and steelhead spawn and grow stronger in these rivers.  Our challenge is protecting this paradisaical area from the very real threat of development while finding conservation solutions that allow land-connected livelihoods, such as farming, ranching, and forestry, to continue.

A helicopter working to extinguish flames from above
Featured Story

Fire in our Lives

A recent spot fire in Klickitat Canyon highlights how our relationship with fire is complex and ever-evolving.

By Lindsay Cornelius, Natural Area Manager for the Gorge and East Cascades On June 26, we learned of a fire on one of the lands we steward along Klickitat Canyon. We learned that this was a naturally caused, low-intensity fire such as historically occurred throughout the landscape. When I got to the fire I suggested…

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Updates from the Field
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[Public Notice] Klickitat Haul Road Fire Closure
7/31/2019: All portions of the Klickitat River haul road from all access points are now closed to public access due to high fire danger. Access status will be updated as conditions change. Thank you for helping to protect natural resources and public safety.

We use the WA DNR’s Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) system to determine fire danger.  The haul road is located in zone 609W and 609E (the…

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A Canyon-sized Step Forward
With a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the final phase of the Land Trust’s Klickitat Canyon conservation effort is rounding into shape.

All the way back in 2012, Columbia Land Trust mapped out a vision to conserve a stretch of the Klickitat River and about 10,000 acres of forestland in a remote part of Klickitat County known as Klickitat Canyon. At the time, the scale of the project seemed audacious compared to the land transactions the Land…

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Our Spring Fieldbook Is Full of New Life
What does it mean to have a place? We explore this and more in our latest issue.

Growth, change, and new ways of life — welcome to our Spring issue of Fieldbook. This issue, we hear stories of what it means to have a place, and take a look at what our places look like — from tiny homes, to rock walls, to trees both dead and alive — our diverse places…

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