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…Read More
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.