We help conserve land. Friends works with government agencies and other groups to ensure private land is brought into public ownership (over 41,000 acres since our founding).
We are landowners and stewards. In 2005 we formed the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) support organization, to acquire critical lands in the Columbia Gorge. To date, the land trust has acquired through purchase and donation over 1,000 acres of land. We work to remove non-native species, replant native vegetation, and protect fragile resources on land trust-owned properties.
We keep watch on Gorge development. Each year, we review and comment on approximately 250 development applications submitted to county planning offices in every Gorge county. Our comments have helped ensure development occurs in a sensitive, ecological manner. Over the years, Friends has legally appealed less than two percent of the counties' decisions.
We take on development proposals that threaten Gorge resources. Over the decades, we have successfully defeated numerous attempts at large-scale developments incompatible with the protection mandates of the Scenic Area Act, including a massive Gorge casino.
We educate the public about the Gorge. We lead more than 100 guided Columbia Gorge hikes and outings annually, host special events, and nurture the next generation of Gorge protectors through outdoor youth education programs.
We work to connect Gorge communities to Gorge lands. In 2011, Friends launched Gorge Towns to Trails, a long-term vision for a comprehensive Gorge trail network, connecting Gorge communities and strengthening local economies.