Ensuring the Gorge remains a vibrant, living place—wondrous, wild, and open to all—is at the core of what we do. Building a large, diverse cross section of public support is critical if we are to preserve the Columbia Gorge for future generations. To meet this challenge, Friends seeks to strengthen community support for key conservation initiatives, expose local youth to the Gorge’s wonders, and illustrate the Gorge’s significance as an icon of the Pacific Northwest and national treasure.
We regularly lead guided Gorge hikes and outings; organize programs in partnership with local schools to expose hundreds of students from Washington and Oregon to the Gorge’s wonders; and work with community partners to create opportunities for members of the public to come together and discuss pressing challenges facing the Gorge. A vital tool in our broader engagement efforts is the thousands of dedicated Friends members, volunteers, and activists who live in and around the Gorge. Friends works to develop innovative and creative strategies to effectively educate and engage the public in efforts to protect, preserve, and steward the Gorge.
Youth Education & Community Events
Educating the public about the importance of protecting the Columbia Gorge is part of Friends' mission.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we engaged the public with the Gorgeous Wildlife series and other webinars; view a playlist.
After the 2017 Eagle Creek fire Friends organized a series of community forums about fire ecology and recovery.
Friends hosted a virtual panel discussion, exploring opportunities and challenges in ensuring equitable access for all on public lands.
Outdoor Programs & Public Education
Friends offers educational, guided hikes and outings to discover the wonders of the Columbia Gorge.
Friends is a community partner in this initiative aimed at improving the visitor experience in the National Scenic Area.
We are part of this collaborative effort to engage with Gorge visitors around safety and ethical use of public lands.
Search our customizable trail database to plan your next Gorge outing.
Friends is in a conservation community partnership with Warm Springs Tribal groups to restore access to and infrastructure for clean water.
Friends works with partner organizations and agencies to produce pandemic-safe programming about this threatened species' annual wintering in the Gorge.
In 2019, Friends and the museum located in Goldendale, Washington, began collaborating on public engagement initiatives.
A collaboration between Friends and Swanson Studio pays tribute to the resilience of the Gorge in the aftermath of the Eagle Creek fire.
A partnership between Pioneer Courthouse Square, architectural firm Walker Macy, and Friends brings the Gorge to downtown Portland.
Engagement Through Art
Friends has held an annual photo contest since 2015, showcasing the Gorge's beauty, wonder, and vibrancy.
The challenge was launched in spring 2020 to stay connected virtually and celebrate the Gorge's wonders safely from home.
The intersection of art and conservation was explored at this sold-out 2019 event co-sponsored by Friends and Terrain.org.