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lwcf logo Land and Water Conservation Fund
         Building a Legacy Since 1964
FY 2007 Land Acquisition Request
Forest Service

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Administered by the NSA

State of Oregon and Washington
Forest Service Region 6, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area


Representative Greg Walden, Congressional District 2 , OR
Representative Earl Blumenauer Congressional District 3, OR
Representative Brian Baird Congressional District 3, WA
Representative Richard (Doc) Hastings, Congressional District 4, WA

Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, OR
Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, WA


Appropriation History:

Appropriation received FY2001-2005 $12,972,000 2,456 Acres acquired
FY2006 Appropriation $1,500,000 133 Acres planned
FY2007 request $1,000,000 30 Acres planned
Future Requests $6,100,000 350 Acres planned

SIGNIFICANCE:

The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular canyon where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains and divides the States of Oregon and Washington. The National Scenic Area lies 15 miles to the east of the Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton Metropolitan Area, home to nearly 2 million people, and stretches 83 miles from the Sandy River in the west to the Deschutes River in the east.

The Columbia River Gorge contains an exceptional combination of spectacular vistas, unsurpassed recreation opportunities, multicultural history, and abundant natural resources, including profuse wildflowers, geologic formations, and dramatic waterfalls. It’s proximity to these large urban centers, natural beauty, and exceptional recreation opportunities—including a huge selection of hikes, mountain biking, camping, boating, fishing, wildlife watching, birding, photography, picnicking, rock climbing, white water rafting, and world-class windsurfing/kiteboarding—attract four to five million visitors each year.

In November 1986, the exceptional qualities of the Columbia River Gorge received national recognition when Congress designated the National Scenic Area (NSA) to protect the scenic, cultural, recreational, and natural resources of the Gorge while supporting the economy of the area. Through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act, Congress also designated eight miles of the White Salmon River a National Wild and Scenic River in recognition of the river's outstanding qualities.

The White Salmon River begins on the glacial flanks of Mount Adams—the second highest volcano in the Cascade Mountains at 12,307 feet—and flows south 45 miles to its confluence with the Columbia River. The outstanding values on the White Salmon River are resident fisheries, whitewater recreation, hydrology and geology, and cultural resources.


LOCATION:

In fiscal year 2007, the Forest Service has an opportunity to purchase the following properties:

  • The Hopper Property, White Salmon WSR (4 acre): The property is located downstream from Husum Falls and BZ Corner adjacent to a new boat launch site. Virtually all the lands along this segment of the White Salmon River are privately owned. Federal ownership accounts for only about 1/3 mile of river frontage on the White Salmon. Recent zoning changes have increased the number of houses that could be built in the area, and the property is likely to be developed for residential use if not acquired (Goal 6, Objective 3, of the USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan). Situated at a bend in the river, a house built on this property would be highly visible on this stretch of the river (Goal 5 of the USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2004-08).

  • Key Features: Acquisition of the property will protect the integrity of the Wild and Scenic corridor, provide public access to a popular recreation area, and buffer the public land from privately developed parcels (Goal 3 of the USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan). Anticipated cost is $280,000, although the property has not been appraised.

SUPPORT:

The acquisition of land within the Lower White Salmon Wild and Scenic River enjoys significant support from numerous individuals and organizations including Friends of the White Salmon, Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, American Whitewater, American Rivers, National Audubon Society, Rivers Council of Washington, and The Trust for Public Land (TPL). TPL has been an active partner in the acquisition of lands within these river corridors and has demonstrated a strong commitment to public ownership of these lands. Additionally, numerous commercial outfitters and members of the public support the land acquisition program as the river offers many recreation opportunities and other resource values which can be protected and enhanced by public ownership of this important parcel within the designated river corridor.


OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE:

Acquisition of the property would eliminate need to post the boundary (estimated savings of $1,500) and reduce boundary maintenance costs ($1,500 per annually). Additionally, acquisition would resolve an encroachment on the east boundary (estimated savings of $10,000).

  • Bridal Veil Property (17 acres): This parcel is within the Special Management Area (SMA) of the National Scenic Area near the old town of Bridal Veil. It is the last of the extended section 8(o) offers (Note: Section 8(o) of the Columbia River Gorge NSA Act gave landowners the right to essentially opt out by requiring the government to either pay market value for their land, or suspend the SMA ordinances and replace them with less restrictive land use ordinances.)

  • Key Features: The property is bordered on the north by the Historic Columbia River Highway, designated as an All-American Road by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This European-style byway featuring distinctive Florentine viaducts crafted by Italian stonecutters in the early 1900s, has gained national significance because it represents one of the earliest applications of cliff-face road building applied to modern highway construction and it is also the oldest scenic highway in the United States.

    Additionally, the property is visible from several other important viewing areas, including the Columbia River, Interstate 84, and Washington State Highway 14, and the property lies adjacent to a popular state park, Angles Rest Trailhead, for which it provides overflow parking (Goal 3 and 6 of USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan). Anticipated cost is $950,000, although the property has not been appraised.

  • Parent Property (10 acres): Also located above the old town of Bridal Veil, this timbered parcel provides habitat for the northern spotted owl. The southern portion of the property is accessible, while the northern portion is fairly steep, dropping precipitously over the canyon walls that form the western Columbia River Gorge.

  • Key Features: Surrounded by both Oregon State lands and National Forest system lands, acquisition of this parcel would consolidate public ownership resulting in some management efficiencies, particularly less complex and costly wildfire suppression. If acquired, the Agency would consider decommissioning the access road to protect sensitive habitat. The anticipated cost is $100,000, although the property has not been appraised. (Meets Goals 1 and 6 of the USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan)

  • The Russell Property at Mosier (50 acres): This parcel is located just south of the Historic Columbia River Highway on the lower two-thirds of an open, grassy hillside, locally known as Hudson Hill.

  • Key Features: This north and west facing property provides a stunning panorama of the Columbia River Gorge with the snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood visible in the distance. The Columbia River Gorge Management Plan recommended acquiring this parcel for the development of a small recreation facility providing a trailhead and picnic area. The draft Rowena Open Space Plan (a requirement for all NSA lands designated as Open Space) further recommends this site as a feasible location for a trailhead (Meets Goals 3 and 6 of the Forest Service Strategic Plan). The anticipated cost is $800,000, although the property has not been appraised.

SUPPORT:

The land acquisition program in the NSA enjoys significant support from numerous individuals and organizations including The Trust for Public Land, Sierra Club, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association. The Trust for Public Land has been an active partner in the land acquisition program for many years and has been instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of numerous parcels of land by the Forest Service. The Sierra Club has been supportive of efforts to protect lands in the NSA as a part of its campaign to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Friends of the Columbia Gorge has been dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Gorge for many years and has been a strong supporter of public ownership of sensitive parcels. The Nature Conservancy has been very supportive of the acquisition of sensitive parcels in the state of Washington and Oregon.


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OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE:

Savings: Boundary management savings of approximately $7,550. The Trust for Public Land has agreed to survey the boundary of the Bridal Veil parcel. Costs: Potential cost to treat invasive plants estimated at $30,000. Potential annual road maintenance costs on the TPL Bridal Veil and Russell parcels estimated at $300 (level 1) to $700 (level 2). Increased boundary management costs associated with Russell property estimated at $4,000. Potential cost to decommission the access road to the Parent estimated at $10,000. Cost to develop recreation facility, picnic area, and trailhead on the Russell property estimated at $300,000.


FUTURE REQUESTS:

Outstanding offers that are a high priority for acquisition totaling approximately 300 acres for an estimated cost of $5,000,000.


USDA Forest Service
Last modified Saturday, 15-Oct-2016 18:35:20 CDT
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