Columbia Land Trust and SDS Lumber Company announced the conservation of 4,900 acres along the Klickitat River Canyon in Yakima County, Washington - by far the largest land conservation success through acquisition in the Land Trust’s 30-year history.
The newly conserved land completes the nearly 11,000-acre Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area, representing the final step of a multi-phase effort and the culmination of 12 years of planning, research, fundraising, and partnership. The conservation area brings together a culturally diverse group of stakeholders and benefits forest health, fire and climate resilience, jobs and economic opportunity, and exceptional wildlife habitat.
The forested canyon and surrounding area are the ancestral lands of the Yakama people - a rugged and scenic landscape of great ecological and cultural significance. The vision for conserving Klickitat Canyon was developed with support from the Yakama Nation.
Conserving these lands maintains crucial connectivity for ecosystems and wildlife, bridging the Yakama Indian Reservation, a national forest, a state natural area, and a state fish and wildlife area. The varied landscape, which includes pine forest, oak woodlands, basalt cliffs, and grasslands, provides critical habitat for wildlife such as mule deer, black bear, golden eagle, flammulated owl, and even meandering mountain goats.
The total Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area includes 7.8 miles of Klickitat River frontage, bringing nearly the entire upper two-thirds of the river into conservation. The river supports one of the strongest wild steelhead runs and one of the only remaining bull trout runs in the lower Columbia River system.
The land was purchased from SDS Lumber Company, a privately-owned, vertically-integrated timber company based in Bingen, Washington.
Now conserved, the conservation area will continue to offer public access to recreation, including angling, hunting, paddling, wildlife watching, and sightseeing at some of the most impressive vistas in the state.
Columbia Land Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and caring for the vital lands, waters, and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships.