Enforcing Gorge Protection Laws

Friends is a citizen watchdog ensuring enforcement of laws related to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Enforcing Gorge Protection Laws
Lower Cape Horn, viewed from Pioneer Point on the Cape Horn trail, is a Gorge landscape conserved through Friends' legal work. (photographer: Bill Partin)

Citizen Watchdogs

As the only conservation organization focused exclusively on protecting the Columbia River Gorge, Friends vigorously enforces the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act and other laws to protect this national treasure for future generations. The laws that protect the Gorge are only as strong as their implementation. Through its legal program, Friends uses these laws to protect the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreation resources of the Gorge from urban sprawl, mining, industrial and commercial activities, and other uses.

Litigation and Appeals

Friends is currently participating in multiple legal cases involving energy development, coal trains, residential sprawl, and a variety of other issues affecting the Gorge. Click here to view Friends' current legal docket: https://gorgefriends.org/protect-the-gorge/legal-docket.html

Since the 1980s, Friends has litigated to protect Gorge resources in hundreds of legal cases and appeals. Click here to view summaries of case law involving the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area: https://gorgefriends.org/protect-the-gorge/past-case-law.html

Land Use Review

The Scenic Area Act and other laws allow a wide range of land use and development activities in the National Scenic Area, as long as they do not cause adverse impacts to scenic, natural, cultural, or recreation resources. Friends tracks land use application notices issued by a variety of federal, interstate, state, and local agencies to ensure that proposed land use and development proposals will not adversely affect Gorge resources. Friends reviews and comments on every publicly noticed land use application in the National Scenic Area. When necessary, Friends appeals land use decisions to ensure compliance with the applicable law and protect Gorge resources.

For any questions about Friends' legal program, please email Senior Staff Attorney Nathan Baker at nathan@gorgefriends.org or Staff Attorney Steve McCoy at steve@gorgefriends.org.


Issues


Millennium Coal Terminal Litigation

Millennium Coal Terminal Litigation

State and county officials have rejected the nation’s largest coal export terminal, but litigation continues over this harmful project.

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Whistling Ridge Energy Project

Whistling Ridge Energy Project

The poorly sited wind energy project would harm important natural and scenic resources.

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Zimmerly Quarry

Zimmerly Quarry

Friends works to stop one of the largest and longest-running land use violations in the history of the National Scenic Area.

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Friends' Current Legal Docket

Friends' Current Legal Docket

See a review of Friends' ongoing legal cases.

Browse Docket
National Scenic Area Case Law

National Scenic Area Case Law

See all case law involving the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Browse Past Case Law
Legal Resources

Legal Resources

Access legal and conservation information relevant to the Columbia River Gorge.

See Resources