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 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.


Bald Eagle Tour - Columbia River Gorge to Balfour
Featured Story

2016 in Review

Ten ways you made a difference for the nature of the northwest in 2016.

It wasn’t always easy (meaningful conservation rarely is), but with your support, we were able to protect and restore important places throughout the Columbia River region while building strong relationships along the way. From the remote forests of Klickitat Canyon to backyard habitats in urban neighborhoods, take a look back at some of our greatest accomplishments…

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Updates from the Field
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Fieldbook Takes a Closer Look
Marvel at the curiosities in the pages of our summer edition.

As you head out for summer adventures, be sure to pack our newest issue of Fieldbook and delve into the stories of the plants and people inspiring our work. Examine a sampling of botanical rarities nestled throughout the Columbia River landscape. Learn how a nursery in the East Cascades spurred a powerful partnership. Explore our 2015 Annual Report,…

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Eastern Muse
How an ecoregion spurred a powerful partnership.

  The transitional zone of the Columbia River Gorge is where the wet of the west turns into the arid east, where temperate rain forests of Douglas-fir flow into dry ponderosa pine and oak habitat, where unrivaled and irreplaceable native plant communities unfold with botanic beauty and ecological wonder. The East Cascades is also home…

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[Guest Blog] Right Work
Columbia Land Trust volunteer Tara Shepersky reflects on the transformative power of volunteering in nature.

Tara Shepersky is a local writer (check out her Trail A Week blog) and an enthusiastic new volunteer with Columbia Land Trust.  She joined our Rippin’ Ryegrass volunteer event at Four Sisters last Saturday, where she and I had the opportunity to roam the hills together. As we walked, Tara shared her thoughts about how important…

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