Remembering A Clark County Conservationist - Columbia Land Trust
Bill Dygert's work protected much of the nature we enjoy today

Bill Dygert defending Paradise Point. Photo by Amanda Cowan / The Columbian

If you live, work, or recreate in Southwest Washington, you have surely benefited from the work of Bill Dygert, a land-use consultant who was instrumental in saving much of the natural beauty we enjoy today. No one has been more successful in creating parks and trails, conserving rivers and streams, and maintaining farm and forest land.   

Bill died on August 27 at his home in Astoria, Oregon at age 71. 

Bill’s impact comes from his direct work: facilitating the creation of park, trail, and open space plans, creating citizen groups to advocate for those plans, and raising tens of millions of dollars to implement them.  

“If you’ve ever been to Lewisville, Frenchman’s Bar, Salmon Creek, Lacamas, Cottonwood Beach or Whipple Creek Parks; walked the Salmon Creek, Lacamas, or Burnt Bridge Creek trails; appreciated the glorious nature of the Washougal River, the Vancouver Lake Lowlands, or the East Fork Lewis River; had a picnic or thrown a frisbee in your neighborhood park; or fished or hunted in southwest Washington, Bill played a key role in your experience,” said Glenn Lamb, Executive Director of Columbia Land Trust 

All of us who draw our joy and health from nature will continue to benefit from these efforts, long after his passing. 

An entire generation of conservationists learned their craft from watching Bill, studying his patient persistence and dogged focus. Bill loved nature and he also loved the colorful people who populate our region. A writer at heart, Bill would walk, take pictures, and listen — and turn what he learned into grant proposals and testimonies. He took the stories of generations of people whose relationship with land ran deep and turned them into tangible conservation successes.  

Each one of us should take a day and declare it “Bill Dygert Day” and celebrate by enjoying time outside,” said Lamb.

Bill was a founder and long-time board member of Columbia Land Trust, and inspired by Bill, we continue to be vigilant, practical, and collaborative advocates for the nature of the Northwest.