Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

by Western Rivers Conservancy
Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

Project Report | Sep 24, 2018
Western Rivers Conservancy: Fall 2018 Report

By Anne Tattam | Grants Manager

With backing from GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is permanently protecting land along outstanding rivers across the western United States. Your gift supports the core costs of purchasing and conserving land for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. Your contribution is dedicated to such efforts as preserving salmon and wildlife habitat, and creating new hiking trails, boating access and recreational opportunities.

Thanks to your support, Western Rivers Conservancy is:

• Saving a Treasured Mountainside for Fish, Wildlife and People in North-Central Washington

• Expanding Our Efforts on Oregon’s Wild and Scenic John Day River

Washington’s Nason Creek:

On Washington’s Lake Wenatchee, a 3,714-acre parcel of forested mountainside known as Nason Ridge rises above the lakeshore, surrounded almost entirely by the Okanogan National Forest. It is crisscrossed by a network of hiking, mountain-biking and cross-country skiing trails enjoyed by people from all over, and which link to an equally robust trail system in the neighboring Lake Wenatchee State Park.

The property also spans 2.5 miles of Nason Creek, a critical source of cold, clean water for the Wenatchee River and a lifeline for imperiled salmon, steelhead and bull trout that depend on the stream for survival. Nason Ridge is a highly visible swath of the mountainside and part of the scenic splendor of Lake Wenatchee, which sits in a bowl of conifer-blanketed mountains in north central Washington.

Until this summer, the future of all of this—public access, the trail system, the views, the forest and the stability of the very slopes themselves—was uncertain. That future took a positive turn in June, when Western Rivers Conservancy purchased the land from Weyerhaeuser, a Seattle based timber company that put the property on the market following local opposition to a planned clear-cut.

WRC jumped on the opportunity to conserve the property, which could have been logged, parceled up, developed and permanently closed to the public. Because the property is easily accessible from State Highway 2, which travels along Nason Creek, and is a major artery between Seattle (just two hours to the west) and eastern Washington, it would be highly attractive for development. But given its importance to fish and wildlife, WRC had a different vision for the property, the same one held by the community of Lake Wenatchee and beyond: conserving the land in perpetuity, for all to enjoy.

WRC acquired the property in June, and launched a fundraising campaign with the Wenatchee-based Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to raise the money needed to permanently conserve the property. For now, WRC will hold the land, allowing public use and enjoyment of the property while we work to secure funding to permanently protect this special place.

Oregon’s John Day River:

On Oregon’s lower John Day River, between two spectacular BLM wilderness study areas, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased a second ranch on Thirtymile Creek. The purchase complements our ongoing effort to conserve Thirtymile Creek and ten miles of the lower John Day, while creating new recreational access to over 75,000 acres of public BLM lands surrounding the ranches.

Thirtymile Creek is the largest tributary to the lower John Day and one of the most important spawning streams for the river’s critical run of wild summer steelhead. It’s also a vital source of cold water for the John Day. The 2,939 acres we purchased in June, part of the Campbell Ranch, span five miles of the creek, immediately upstream of the Rattray Ranch. Combined, these projects will enable restoration and protection of nine crucial miles of Thirtymile Creek.

What makes our effort at Thirtymile especially exciting is the access we’re delivering for anglers, boaters, hunters, hikers and other recreationists. The ranches lie directly between the Thirtymile and North Pole Ridge Wilderness Study Areas, which are in turn adjacent to tens of thousands of acres of additional BLM lands—all of it cut off from the public by private land, until now. The project also lies at the midway point between the Clarno Bridge boating access site, upstream, and Cottonwood Canyon State Park, downstream.

WRC is now working to transfer the ranches to the BLM, creating the only public access to a 70-mile stretch of the Wild and Scenic John Day River corridor. This means people will be able to float a stretch of the wild and scenic river in two to three days, rather than the much longer float required before.

Restoration efforts have already begun on Thirtymile Creek and will continue as WRC transfers the ranchlands to the BLM. While we are proud to deliver public access to this great Oregon river, what matters most of all is the biological integrity of Thirtymile Creek. Protecting and restoring this stream is key to the long-term vitality of one of the Pacific Northwest’s healthiest runs of wild summer steelhead. It’s only with vibrant riverbanks, strong runs of fish and healthy wildlife that people can truly enjoy a river—especially one as important as the John Day.


The Nason Creek and John Day River projects are just some of our recent successes. WRC currently has over two dozen active projects in six states. With the support of GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is expanding our efforts to protect riverlands for fish, wildlife and people. We love to hear from our supporters. Please contact Anne Tattam at 503-241-0151, ext. 219 (or for further information. Thank you.

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Jun 25, 2018
Western Rivers Conservancy: Summer 2018 Report

By Anne Tattam | Grants Manager

Mar 27, 2018
Western Rivers Conservancy: Spring 2018 Report

By Anne Tattam | Grants Manager

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Organization Information

Western Rivers Conservancy

Project Leader:
Anne Tattam
Administrative and Development Associate
Portland , OR United States

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