Friends leads 80 hikes like this one every year.
In only two months, Friends has nearly reached its goal of raising $50,000 in new dollars for our Step Up for the Gorge matching campaign!
Friends has raised approximately $45,000 - all of it qualifying for a one-to-one match from an anonyomous donor and resulting in $90,000 in new funds.
Friends has accomplished this feat by reaching new supporters in a variety of ways. We've gotten the word out on social media (with the help of tech-savvy volunteers), our website and through our monthly e-mail newsletter (as well as here on Global Giving). We've hosted house parties and luncheons to reach new donors. We've also created a number of fun outreach activities for volunteers to help recruit new members. Volunteer supporters can "Host a Hike" or lead a wine tour, taking a group of friends on into the Gorge and asking them to become members, as well as other activities. For more information and to volunteer, visit our Step Up for the Gorge Volunteer page.
This new funding will enable Friends to better accomplish its mission of protecting the scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area region. In particular, Friends is in the final stages of opposing a mega-casino the size of 65 city blocks proposed in the heart of the Gorge. A decision is expected in the coming months from the Department of Interior, approving or denying the casino. Friends is pursuing intensive grassroots and grasstops advocacy, much of it outside of our approved budget, to defeat this ill-advised project that would change the Gorge forever. This new funding helps us keep the Gorge free of a monolithic casino development.
It also helps Friends ensure improved air quality in the Gorge. In combination with our partners in the Clean Air Alliance, Friends organizing pressure has resulted in a likely shutdown of the PGE Boardman coal plant in the next four to eight years. PGE Boardman is the #1 source of several pollutants in Oregon and a major source of Gorge haze and acid rain. Recently, in part due to citizen pressure organized by Friends, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality proposed several shutdown options to PGE, all of which would result in a shutdown by 2020 or earlier. With the additional support of these Step Up funds, Friends is pressing for the earliest possible shutdown or installation of the best available control technology at Boardman.
Friends is also leading its annual hiking program, leading 80+ hikes to hidden treasures in the Gorge, and planning the fourth year of our Vic Clausen Outdoor Youth Education Program, providing environmental education to all sixth-grade students in the Washougal, WA school district.
This new Step Up funding is making a difference in Gorge protection, right now. Please help us meet our goal!