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.

Klickitat Canyon cliffs, photo by Dennis Wiancko
Featured Story

Last of its Kind

Columbia Land Trust purchased the single largest property in its history—3,200 of forestland in a canyon rich with wildlife and cultural significance.

We’re thrilled to announce that on June 19th, 2018, Columbia Land Trust made its single largest purchase of forestland to date—3,200 acres along the Klickitat River located in Klickitat County, WA. The Land Trust purchased the stretch of canyon, forest, and wildlife habitat from the Hancock Timber Resource Group. The forested stretch of river, basalt…

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Updates from the Field
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Fieldbook Crawls Out for Spring
Our first edition of our 2018 Fieldbook magazine is now out!

Our newest edition of Fieldbook has all the wildlife and conservation stories you’re looking for this spring. In this issue, we break open some preconceived notions about unloved wildlife from moles to spiders, what it looks like to be an outdoors person, and how climate resilience informs our work. Learn how Jenny Bruso, self-identified fat,…

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Weathering the Storm
Climate resilience guides the Land Trust’s conservation agenda.

  East of Mount Adams, the Klickitat River flows wild and undammed, a thread uniting a dramatic tapestry of talus slopes, basalt cliffs, pine and fir forests, and rolling hills. These contrasting landscapes are more than just visually striking; conservation science suggests they may hold the key to wildlife enduring in the face of climate…

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Saving Oregon’s Oaks
Three different projects throughout the state are part of a coordinated effort to conserve dwindling oak habitat

Last week, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board approved more than $300,000 in funding for three projects to protect and restore Oregon’s dwindling oak woodlands and prairies. [Read the full press release from Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture] “Oregon is known for its conifer forests. But oak woodlands and prairies have always been an important feature…

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