Klickitat & Little White Salmon - Columbia Land Trust

Klickitat & Little White Salmon

A true beauty: the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River. Photo by Doug Gorsline
  • Number of Projects:15
  • Acreage: 14370
  • 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 first conserved 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.

Photo by Brian Chambers Photography
Featured Story

Explore our Klickitat Canyon StoryMap

Scroll through interactive maps and amazing videos and photos to learn the ins and outs of the Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area.

In July 2020, after 12 years of planning and collaboration, we at Columbia Land Trust realized our vision for the 11,000-acre Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area. It’s hard to overstate the uniqueness and importance of this transitional landscape, which bridges upland and lowland habitat and spans fir forests, oak and pine woodlands, and grasslands. Of course,…

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Updates from the Field
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In the News: Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area
News outlets throughout the Northwest covered the landmark completion of the 11,000-acre Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area

In late July, Columbia Land Trust succeeded in conserving nearly 4,900 acres of canyon forest, river frontage, and grasslands. The acquisition is the largest by acreage in the Land Trust’s 30-year history, and it also represented the third and final phase of an 11,000-acre conservation effort. News of the newly completed Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area…

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Klickitat Canyon Conserved
Columbia Land Trust Completes 11,000-Acre Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area, a vision 12 years in the making

Columbia Land Trust and SDS Lumber Company today announced the conservation of 4,900 acres along the Klickitat River Canyon in Yakima County, Washington—by far the largest land conservation success through acquisition in the Land Trust’s 30-year history. The newly conserved land completes the nearly 11,000-acre Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area, representing the final step of a…

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Hooting for Flammulated Owls
Join our staff on a night-time audio survey in search of the elusive, and adorable, flammulated owl.

As the warm sun set over Klickitat Canyon in the East Cascades, Natural Area Manager Lindsay Cornelius, Stewardship Assistant Sanoe Keliinoi, and Conservation Lead Nate Ulrich prepared to go to work. The crew packed audio equipment, datasheets, and warm clothing into their bags, opened up their map, and set out into the dark forest. Nighttime…

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