Klickitat & Little White Salmon

A true beauty: the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River. Photo by Doug Gorsline
  • Number of Projects:12
  • Acreage: 5685
  • 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’re removing 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.

Spring Fieldbook 2017. Photo Caitlin C. LaBar
Featured Story

Fieldbook’s Looking Good

We're welcoming the warm weather with a striking, spring edition of our newsletter, Fieldbook.

Head out to your favorite springtime meadow with a fresh copy of Fieldbook and learn about butterfly fauna and conservation projects from the Pacific Coast to the East Cascades. Plus, we’ve featured two new interviews: one with Northwest author and lepidopertist on his upcoming book and a chat with our newest board member who’s offering a tribal voice to…

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Updates from the Field
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The Hidden Canyon
Columbia Land Trust has a bold vision to conserve 10,000 acres of forestland at Klickitat Canyon.

Nate Ulrich considers himself more of a botany guy. When Columbia Land Trust’s conservation lead for the East Cascades and Columbia Plateau lists wildlife species found in Klickitat Canyon, he starts with rare wildflowers, such as penstemon and desert parsley. Ulrich also describes the canyon, which sits just below the northern border of southern Washington’s…

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Success in Salmon
A conservation with Columbia Land Trust board member Aja DeCoteau

  Aja DeCoteau, the newest member of Columbia Land Trust’s board of directors, recently sat down with the Land Trust’s Jay Kosa to discuss her story, her work, and her hopes for the Columbia River. A citizen of the Yakama Nation, DeCoteau grew up in Wapato, Washington, on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Her deep connection…

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The Grand Finale
Our Klickitat River Haul Road Project will finally be completed this year with help from a powerful partnership.

  Columbia Land Trust’s lengthiest and most dramatic restoration project to date is the Klickitat River Haul Road project north of Klickitat, Washington. Together the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program and the Land Trust set out more than fifteen years ago to free one of Washington’s longest undammed rivers from a failed and washed out logging…

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