Trout Lake Valley

Echinacea in Trout Lake Valley. Photo by Doug Gorsline
  • Number of Projects: 3
  • Acreage: 290
  • Fact: Over the last 100 years, the total glacier area on Mount Adams has been reduced by almost half.
  • Experience: A rich and fertile farmland with drop-dead gorgeous views of Mount Adams.
  • What We’re Doing: Helping farmers keep their farms in production so their land isn't developed—a strategy that also keeps Northwest’s food supplies close to home.
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The Big Picture

Nestled at the base of Mount Adams, Trout Lake Valley’s some 2,000 acres are a farm paradise of rich, fertile soils. Intersected by the glacier-fed waters of the Wild and Scenic White Salmon River, the valley is dedicated almost exclusively to agriculture. What makes Trout Lake Valley paradisiacal for famers, however, also makes it attractive to developers. Columbia Land Trust began working with farmers in the valley more than a decade ago to find solutions to the growing pressure to sell their land for development. More recently, we partnered with a fourth-generation dairy farmer to place a conservation easement on his land—one that ensures his organic farm will never become a housing development and will continue to be farmed.

Why It Matters

Farmland has been lost an alarming rate in the United States, and when farms are located in a place like Trout Lake, the pace of loss can accelerate. “People stop us and want to know if we’re willing to sell,” one Trout Lake Valley farmer told us. Our region’s farms, orchards, and ranches are part of the Northwest’s cultural heritage—and they keep our food supplies  close to home. They also provide jobs and create tight-knit communities in our rural areas. Yet farmlands are increasingly being bought and converted into housing projects, commercial campuses, and other ventures. Helping farmers and ranchers conserve  productive farmland from development is a priority for Columbia Land Trust.

The Justesen farmstead
Featured Story

What’s at Stake in Trout Lake

Columbia Land Trust is working with Trout Lake farmers to avert the fragmentation of the local landscape to the detriment of farms, a growing recreation economy, wildlife, and iconic open spaces.

Washington’s Trout Lake Valley might not be one of the Northwest’s most recognizable landscapes, but that has more to do with its remote location—set 20 miles north of the Columbia River—than a lack of scenery. Parted by the White Salmon River and flanked by the massive southern face of Mount Adams, the farmsteads and pastures…

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Updates from the Field
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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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[Film] Columbia Land Trust + the Northwest’s First Organic Dairy Farm = Good Milk Forever
A Video About a Trout Lake Valley Farm that Will Stay A Farm Forever

Meet Robert Schmid and his wonderful family. A fourth-generation Trout Lake Valley dairy farmer, Robert runs about 450 happy cows on his property near the base of Mount Adams; their milk supplies the Organic Valley brand. Robert loves his land—and he loves working on it. But the very things that make Trout Lake Valley a…

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In Trout Lake Valley, Skullcap Grows to Meet Demand.

Trout Lake Farm began organically growing medicinal herbs in Trout Lake Valley in 1973. Today it grows everything from echinacea to valerian on 280 acres (depending on what herbs are in demand). These days, the farm makes ample room for skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), a herbaceous perennial in the mint family that’s known to reduce inflammation…

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