The Dalles & Surrounds - Columbia Land Trust

The Dalles & Surrounds

The annual wildflower display at Four Sisters
  • Number of Projects: 3
  • Acreage: 553
  • Fact: Beautiful to behold…and delicious and nutritious. Indians made good use of balsamroot as a food by boiling or steaming roots, peeling young stems, or eating the oil-rich seeds.
  • Experience: Ridges and hills that rise above the Columbia River and are blanketed in flowering plants and native grasses.
  • What We’re Doing: Protecting oak woodlands, wildflower-filled native grasslands, and ensuring the sweeping vistas remain unsullied by development.
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The Big Picture

Between March and June on the ridges and hills surrounding The Dalles, you’ll see rolling carpets of color, the natural splendor of more than 60 species of wildflowers, including balsamroot, lupine, and Indian paintbrush that unfurl their petals to the sky. Columbia Land Trust began conserving land here in 2010, after Build-Your-Dream-Home-Here signs started popping up on Mill Creek Ridge. Now we’re building a permanent conservation area for the wildflowers, oak woodlands, and native prairie. Find information about visiting Mill Creek Ridge Natural Area here

Why It Matters

Native grasses and wildflower meadows abound, as do rare Oregon white oak-and-pine woodlands, which shelter a wide array of wildlife, including neo-tropical migratory songbirds and species such as Vaux’s swift and Lewis’s woodpecker. Vernal (or seasonal) wetlands in The Dalles area are fragile habitats; each supports a unique community of plants and animals. Mill Creek Ridge is one of our highest priorities, especially because of development threats. Portions of properties are zoned for 10-acre residential lots—and are just a few miles from the population center of The Dalles. Today, we are working to build a protected corridor from the ridge overlooking the Columbia River to the Mount Hood National Forest.


John Day River, photo by Lindsay Cornelius
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