Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

by Western Rivers Conservancy
Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers
Jun 27, 2022

Western Rivers Conservancy: Summer 2022 Report

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:     

  • Expanding Protection of Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Selway River
  • Permanently conserved a cherished mountainside above Washington’s Lake Wenatchee and Nason Creek

Idaho’s Selway River:  

Picture the ultimate wild river: roaring whitewater, horizons notched by snow-capped peaks, corridors of evergreen forests, bear and elk sporadically roaming the riverbank, trout surfacing on the water, and not another human in sight. This is Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Selway River.

The 98-mile long Selway is widely known as one of America’s most spectacular, and most thoroughly protected, free-flowing rivers. From its source in the Bitterroot Mountains, the Selway flows west to the Lochsa River to form the Middle Fork Clearwater. It is one of eight rivers designated in the original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, and much of the river lies within the Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness, one of the initial wilderness areas that was protected under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Thanks to this long history of protection and the river’s remarkably untouched quality (only one raft trip is permitted per day), the Selway is one of few rivers that provides vast, unbroken habitat for fish and wildlife, including westslope cutthroat trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, Canada lynx, Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The Selway is also revered by veteran river-runners, as it guarantees boaters a truly pristine wilderness experience.

Before the Selway’s confluence with the Lochsa, it leaves the Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness and continues through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Along this stretch, a few private inholdings along the otherwise wilderness-blanketed river remain unprotected.

Last year, WRC negotiated a deal to purchase one of the most important of these inholdings, the 152-acre Selway River Ranch. The ranch is the finest example of a flat, pristine meadow on the lower Selway. It spans nearly a mile of the western bank of the river and includes half a mile of Elk City Creek, a minor Selway tributary.

In April 2022, we purchased the ranch, locking in our commitment to this special property. We will now hold it while we pursue funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to convey the ranch to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. Our aim is to keep the property intact and undeveloped, to protect its fish and wildlife habitat, and to help maintain the exquisite, untamed character of Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Selway River forever. g

Washington’s Nason Ridge:     

After four years of hard work, Western Rivers Conservancy, Chelan County and Chelan- Douglas Land Trust (CDLT) successfully created Nason Ridge Community Forest! Washington’s newest community forest now spans 3,714 acres above Lake Wenatchee and permanently protects two miles of Nason Creek and all of Kahler Creek, two outstanding salmon-bearing streams and critical sources of cold water for the Wenatchee River.

This landmark project has its roots in— and owes its success to—the people of Lake Wenatchee, who have tried to protect Nason Ridge for over two decades. The property is highly visible from around the lake and is home to a network of trails that connect to the neighboring Lake Wenatchee State Park. With some 60,000 people visiting Nason Ridge every year to hike, mountain bike and cross country ski, the property has long been part of the fabric of the community. But Nason Ridge was owned by the Seattle-based timber company Weyerhaeuser, and its future was uncertain for years.

In 2018, WRC negotiated a deal to purchase Nason Ridge from Weyerhaeuser. We then held the property and joined forces with CDLT, Chelan County and the local community to raise funds to convey it to a steward that could keep the property intact and in public hands forever. That steward turned out to be Chelan County.

Following WRC’s purchase of Nason Ridge, the partners raised over $6 million in public and private funding to convey the property to Chelan County, and to underwrite its stewardship as a community forest and public recreation area, all while helping to protect and restore habitat. In April 2022, WRC conveyed the property to the county, beginning an exciting new chapter for Nason Ridge.


The Selway and Nason Ridge projects are just some of our recent projects. WRC currently has over two dozen active projects in seven 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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Organization Information

Western Rivers Conservancy

Project Leader:
Anne Tattam
Administrative and Development Associate
Portland, OR United States
$6,741 raised of $100,000 goal
88 donations
$93,259 to go
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