The lasting gift of land
A landowner's generous gift leads to 80 acres of forest conserved in the Grays Bay watershed.
We at Columbia Land Trust are pleased to announce the conservation of 80 acres of forest land within the Grays Bay watershed, one of the most ecologically important areas in the Columbia River estuary.
An anonymous, local landowner purchased and donated the property, which includes two tributaries of the West Fork Grays River, for the expressed purpose of permanent conservation.
“I’m just an old guy,” offered the landowner. “I’ve made my living off of natural resources in Alaska’s seafood industry. I’ve always loved the outdoors, and I just wanted to set aside one little piece of this world before I go.”
The upper Grays River and associated tributaries host one of the strongest chum spawning areas left along the Columbia River, as well as steelhead, cutthroat, coho, and Chinook. Remnant old-growth forests host marbled murrelet and Northern spotted owl. The acquisition of this Pacific County property builds on more than 1,500 acres Columbia Land Trust has conserved and is restoring throughout the watershed.
On a clear day, the high-country West Fork Grays River property features views across a patchwork of forested hills, 20 miles southwest to the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The site’s young forest and streams host salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, Dunn’s salamander, and black bear; in addition abundant elk and deer. Moving forward, the Land Trust aims to restore forest habitat so the property can support species dependent on old-growth forests.
“I’m amazed that so few people have discovered Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, despite their being only two hours from both Portland and Seattle,” said the landowner. “But I know it’s only a matter of time. In 20 years, I’ll be gone and it will be up to the next generation to care enough to leave our natural places intact.”
Columbia Land Trust is grateful for the landowner’s donation, and its staff is continually amazed by the selflessness and insight of private landowners, donors, and volunteers who decide to make a lasting difference through land conservation.
At a time when environmental challenges seem to grow more daunting by the day, it’s easy to feel discouraged, even hopeless. But through acts of generosity—gifts of land, trade lands, time, money, stock, bequests, or even an old car—Northwesterners like this Pacific County landowner have actively supported the conservation of more than 27,000 acres across this beautiful mosaic of landscapes we call home.