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Friends Closes Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve Due to Wildfire

By Dan Bell
Land Trust Director

July 13, 2021

On the afternoon of July 12, a wildfire broke out on Lyle Hill, east and above the town of Lyle, Washington within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. According to the Washington Department of Natural Resources, as of the morning of Tuesday, July 13, the Lyle Hill fire (# 2021-WASES-000354) had grown to 150 acres.

Due to the ongoing Lyle Hill fire, Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust has closed the Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve (and all LCO trails) until further notice. On Facebook, check the Columbia Gorge Wildland & Fire Information Page and Klickitat County 911 Dispatch / Emergency Management for the most up-to-date information.

More about Friends' Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve

Managed and stewarded by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, the property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Friends founder Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development. The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was created shortly after Nancy purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. Working with the Washington Trails Association, between 2019 and 2021 the land trust added two loop trails to the preserve's trail.

For millennia, communities living around the Columbia Gorge have served as active stewards of its unique landscape. Based out of Hood River, Oregon, Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust works to preserve scenic Gorge landscapes, safeguard sensitive habitats, steward vital Gorge lands, provide public hiking trails, and strengthen Gorge community connections through the creation of a new 200-mile loop trail network that enhances Gorge recreation and local economic opportunities. Learn more about Friends' land trust.