Partnering to increase nature access close to home
The most recent achievement in a long history of collaboration, in December 2023 Columbia Land Trust completed the transfer of three properties to Clark County, each of which adds to a well-loved regional park or natural area. Incorporated within Lake Rosannah Natural Area, Lewisville Regional Park, and Whipple Creek Regional Park, all three sites contribute to a shared vision of protecting lands that provide important wildlife habitat, connect scenic corridors, and offer recreational opportunities close to home.
“Everyone in Clark County has a personal connection to a trail, park, forest or lake that Columbia Land Trust collaborated with the city or county to conserve,” said Cherie Kearney, Columbia Land Trust Forest Conservation Director. “These recent transfers are the latest successes in a long-standing partnership that has resulted in a bounty of conserved natural places close to home.”
A statement from the Clark County Legacy Lands Program highlights the impact of cooperation: “The county’s partnership with Columbia Land Trust has been an incredible force in our local community that has conserved essential properties. This ownership transition to the county’s Legacy Lands will bring continued access for community members to the Whipple Creek, Lake Rosannah, and Lewisville properties, which total an impressive 111.8 acres. This entire process, from the initial acquisition by Columbia Land Trust using the county’s Conservation Futures funds, to the handover to the Legacy Lands program, seamlessly aligns with the county’s Natural Areas Acquisition plan and Parks, Recreation, and Open Space plan. We are deeply grateful to Columbia Land Trust for their commitment to safeguarding these sensitive open space areas.”
The three parcels transferred from Columbia Land Trust to Clark County are incorporated within:
- Lake Rosannah Natural Area (80 acres transferred)
- Lewisville Regional Park (12 acres transferred)
- Whipple Creek Regional Park (20 acres transferred)
All three parcels were originally conserved by Columbia Land Trust with the goal of eventually transferring them to the county, as part of a long-term collaborative strategy. The Land Trust utilized Conservation Futures funds to complete the original purchases.
“I have been doing this work for 25 years and it is deeply gratifying to be part of the legacy of conserving so many places close to home,” said Kearney. “The jewels in Clark County that Columbia Land Trust has helped conserve include Lacamas Lake Trail, Camp Currie, Fallen Leaf Lake, and vital links along the East Fork Lewis and Washougal Rivers.”