About Us
The only conservation organization dedicated entirely to protecting the Columbia Gorge
Springtime view in the eastern Columbia Gorge. (photographer: Robert Meyers)

Ensuring the Gorge remains a vibrant, living place—wondrous, wild, and open to all—is at the core of what we do. 

Friends of the Columbia Gorge works to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge. We led the fight to create the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area over 40 years ago. And we’ve been working ever since to safeguard the Gorge and ensure the natural wonders found today will be preserved for generations to come. 

We are the only conservation organization entirely dedicated to safeguarding the Gorge’s scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources. For over four decades, we have successfully advocated to protect the Gorge from irresponsible development, purchased scenic and sensitive lands for long-term preservation, and worked with community partners to foster a larger culture of Gorge stewardship by connecting thousands of students and volunteers to the Gorge’s wonders. 

But being an effective long-term advocate and steward of this amazing place means building bridges across different points of view. It also requires bringing together a broad and diverse coalition of people who share a common love for the Gorge and want to see it responsibly stewarded and protected. 

Take a look at our website to learn more or reach out to a member of our staff. Friends has thousands of members, volunteers, and activists all working together to protect, preserve, and steward the Gorge. There’s lots of ways to get involved and we’d love for you to join us.

Our Mission

Friends of the Columbia Gorge shall vigorously protect the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge. We fulfill this mission by ensuring strict implementation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act and other laws protecting the region of the Columbia River Gorge; promoting responsible stewardship of Gorge land, air, and waters; encouraging public ownership of sensitive areas; educating the public about the unique natural values of the Columbia River Gorge and the importance of preserving those values; and working with groups and individuals to accomplish mutual preservation goals.

View Our Accountability & Transparency Page

Friends of the Columbia Gorge's Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Statement

The Columbia Gorge has been home to Indigenous peoples since time immemorial, stewarding the land and waters of this region long before European colonization and the western idea of environmentalism. Friends of the Columbia Gorge is dedicated to ensuring the Columbia Gorge remains a place of wonder for generations to come. Whether it is the land, water, wildlife, people, Tribes, or communities, each is dependent upon the others for the Gorge to truly thrive. This is not possible without representing and engaging tribal as well as other diverse communities and individuals who share a connection to this special place.

Friends is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within our culture, practices, and policies. We support all who are connected to the Columbia Gorge including Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as people of all genders, classes, and people with disabilities.

We acknowledge our country’s history of structural oppression, and the Columbia Gorge has not been exempt from its effects. Structural racism and discrimination continue to harm communities to this day, and we at Friends understand we have a role to play in dismantling these structures. We are all connected and work to amplify the voices of communities of color by engaging and deferring to their knowledge, needs, and skill. With a predominantly white staff and board, we must work harder to build diverse leadership to support our BIPOC staff and board and widen our perspectives to ensure our actions are inclusive and equitable.

Our mission is to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge, and we have a responsibility to all who love and care for the Gorge to work toward a future where this land and river is a safe, welcoming, and wondrous place for all.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge Tribal Acknowledgment

Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s work to protect, preserve and steward the Gorge requires an intersection of conservation and people. One example of that intersection is in our Land Acknowledgment. You’ve probably heard Land Acknowledgments given at various functions and events, and while they are called “land acknowledgments,” they’re really acknowledgments of the people who originally walked and cared for the lands as well as their descendants who still do so today.

In the Columbia Gorge, that means recognizing the four treaty Tribes of the Gorge: the Warm Springs, the Yakama, the Umatilla, and the Nez Perce. Each of these Tribes has treaty rights to the lands and waters of the Gorge. In addition, there are the re-established Tribes of the Cowlitz and Grand Ronde and the unrecognized Chinook people. All of these Tribes represent the original caretakers of the Gorge and their efforts today benefit all of us for generations to come.

VIDEO: The Columbia Gorge, A Place Worth Protecting