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.

Natural Area Manager Lindsay Cornelius with her child out in the field
Featured Story

Wielding Curiosity with Lindsay Cornelius

Celebrate Women's History Month with Columbia Land Trust Natural Area Manager Lindsay Cornelius.

My childhood was entwined with nature. My mom took me camping and hiking, and showed her love for nature in her professional life as a pioneer of outdoor play spaces for children in daycare. I played and worked alongside my dad on his 40-acre farm in Ridgefield, Washington. My dad led the transformation of the…

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Updates from the Field
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From Stories to Signs
Columbia Land Trust installs interpretive signs along the lower Klickitat Haul Road that celebrates the iconic watershed

One of the longest undammed rivers in Washington state, the Klickitat River supports thriving forests, woodlands, and grasslands, and hundreds of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead. It offers important opportunities in forestry, ranching, and recreation, and is rich in history and culture of the Klickitat people.    This fall, Columbia Land Trust installed interpretive signs along the lower Klickitat Haul Road that celebrates the watershed and our nearly twenty–year effort to restore the river’s access to eight miles…

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Fire Resilience In Our Forests
Columbia Land Trust is managing forestland for the realities of climate change and catastrophic wildfire

The vanilla scent of ponderosa pine mingles with dust in the air as a crew of Land Trust staff and interns convene in the forest near Washington’s Summit Creek, a tributary of the Klickitat River. Contractors from Slawson Wood Products out of Goldendale have been on site since 6:00 a.m. and were just packing up…

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