The Columbia Gorge Manifesto
Downloadable Map of the Columbia Gorge National
Created in 2009 and periodically updated, the following list has emerged from my many travels within the Columbia Gorge
for hiking and photography. My dream for the Gorge is that I see these things
happen in my lifetime.
- A permanent ban on large-scale development projects (over ½ million
visitor count per year) within the Gorge Scenic Area and any cities
inside its boundaries.
- Riverside trails on Oregon and Washington sides of the river
- Increased funding for trail construction and maintenance
- Lengthen the season of operation for popular trails where gates limit
access, such as Herman Creek and Hamilton Mountain.
- Pedestrian and bicycle pathways on Bridge of the Gods and Hood River
- The restoration of Celilo Falls (Friends
of Celilo Falls is an organization supporting this project)
- Reopening of lost Native American heritage sites to their tribal
- Scenic pullouts on I-84 and SR-14 for photography and sightseeing
- Reduction of haze through decommissioning of large-scale cattle operations east
of the Scenic Area.
- Implement clean-air programs in the Portland/Vancouver area to reduce
pollution from urban sources
- A ban on wind turbine placement within 20 miles of the Scenic Area
boundary and in the sightline from Dog Mountain east to Biglow Canyon
- Restoration of the Old Columbia River Scenic Highway as a pedestrian and
- Restoration of salmon runs to historic numbers before dam construction
- A ban on clearcut logging within the scenic area boundaries, and immediate
restoration of existing clearcuts. Logging methods that do not result
in visual impact would still be allowed.
- Removal of invasive species such as Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius),
English Ivy (Hedera helix), Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus),
and Evergreen Clematis (Clematis
vitalba), especially within rights-of-way for railroads, power lines,
- Wildlife-friendly lane barriers on I-84
- Protection of pristine water sources within the Scenic Area boundary
- A ban on transportation of hazardous substances through the area,
including imported trash, chemicals, and radioactive materials
- Sensible limits on cumulative impact to ensure large numbers of small
projects don't destroy resources piece by piece.
- Provide careful, independent monitoring of critical resources such as
species diversity, air and water quality, and scenic vistas to minimize
unanticipated exploitation of protected resources.
- On all projects with environmental impact, levy mitigation fees to fund efforts to create or restore compensatory habitat so the project has
no net impact. For projects with risks such as invasive species
introduction or chemical spills, fees would go into an escrow account to pay
for cleanup efforts and fund restoration work for other items
- Restore forest and create a protected easement for the Pacific Crest Trail
northbound from the Bridge of the Gods where it passes through private
timberland that's been clearcut.
- Relocation of the 66 wind turbines in eastern Oregon and Washington that
mar the view from Dog Mountain
- A "vertical growth boundary" protecting land from 500 feet of
elevation to the top of all ridgelines within the Scenic Area boundary that
are higher than 500 feet in elevation.
- A single "Gorge Recreation Pass" that's affordably priced (less
than $20 annually) that gives access to all recreation sites within the
Scenic Area boundary, whether federal, state, or local properties. The
pass would open access to recreation to more people, especially those with
limited economic means.
- Creation of one seat on the Columbia Gorge Commission for a Native
American representative elected by all area tribes.
- A land swap program that relocates timber harvest areas subject to
clearcutting inside the Scenic Area boundary to sites outside of
- Restoration of the upper parts of the Shellrock Mountain trail and
construction of a short segment to the mountain's summit.
- Provision of recreation funding through a commemorative license plate
issued in Oregon and Washington
- A tax on bottled water statewide that funds recreation and watershed
improvements throughout the state
- Replacement of invasive species in power-line rights-of-way with native
milkweed to provide habitat for the endangered Monarch butterfly
- Implementation of a strategy to protect recreation sites in the gorge from
overuse due to increasing population and tourism and ensure access to sites
by local residents.
- An independent audit of fire fighting and prevention policy resulting in
adequate funding levels and improvements to increase effectiveness,
including an overwhelming initial response to human-caused fires
How you can join me in this dream and make it reality:
|Send this list, along with your own additions and comments, to your
elected officials. Click
here to find them by your zip code. |
|Write to the Columbia
Gorge Commission, and tell them to implement these ideas. |
|Join conservation groups such as the Columbia
Land Trust and Friends
of the Gorge, and let them know you support these ideas.|
|Be your own agent of change: Volunteer to build and maintain trails,
remove invasives, and write comments to agencies on development
- The Boardman coal plant (part of item 9) will be decommissioned in
- As of November, 2013, a restored segment of the Old Columbia River Scenic
Highway opened from John B. Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek, allowing
pedestrian and bicycle access from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without
traveling on Interstate 84.
- The Herman Creek Trailhead is now open in the winter months.
- On Sunday, September 15, the Historic Highway Revived celebration in
Cascade Locks closed the Bridge of the Gods to auto traffic so pedestrians
and cyclists could have full access part of the day. While not the
best solution, it was a step in the right direction.
- The Port of Cascade Locks has announced that they are conducting an
advanced feasibility study to determine the cost to install a stand-alone
bicycle and pedestrian structure for the Bridge of the Gods. (link
to planning document See page 32.) Similar work is under
consideration for the Hood River Bridge.
- Antone Minthorn, a Umatilla Tribe member, is serving on the Gorge
Commission for a term from 2014-2018.
- In 2016, Hood River County passed a ballot initiative banning commercial
water bottling operations.
- The Forest Service purchased the land containing the clearcut segment of
the Pacific Crest Trail
northbound from the Bridge of the Gods and will be restoring it.
- Work is underway to complete the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail by