Restoring the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Seven Years of Reopening Trails After the Eagle Creek Fire

Photo by Maggie Kirkland

Only 30 miles outside of Portland, OR, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is beloved far and wide for its rushing waterfalls, dramatic cliffs, and stunning views of the Cascades. For the past seven years, the NFF has worked hand-in-hand with the community and our partners like Trailkeepers of Oregon to reopen trails after the devastating Eagle Creek Fire.

With over 36,000 hours of volunteer work and the support of 324 donors in over 28 states, we are proud to say that less than a decade later, nearly every mile of trail closed after the fire has been reopened.

Photo by Richie Graham

The NFF and Our Partners Step Up

A Community Rallies Around A Beloved Landscape

On September 2, 2017, loose fireworks sparked a devastating wildfire just outside of Portland, OR in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area that would burn nearly 3 months and 50,000 acres before it could be contained. In its wake, the Eagle Creek Fire left a burn scar, miles of impassable trails, a community grieving the loss of this beloved landscape, and those determined to bring it back to life.

Recognizing the need for a central fund donors could contribute to, the National Forest Foundation raised over $200,000 to restore damaged trails on the Gorge. The NFF then partnered with local organizations like the Trailkeepers of Oregon to engage volunteers and get work done on the ground.

Recreation recovery work for a burn this severe can easily take decades, but thanks to the NFF’s leadership and the dedication of our partners and community, only seven years after the Eagle Creek Fire, 102 of the 118 miles of trails closed after the fire have been reopened with the remaining work slated to be completed this year. The speed of the recovery is a testament to how special the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is to the people who live, work, and play there.

We can't change the fact that wildfires are going to happen, but we can be there once they are done. With your help, the NFF can make a difference in the health and resiliency of these beloved public landscapes.

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NFF's PNW & Alaska Program

The National Forests across the Pacific Northwest and Alaska boast remarkable diversity, ranging from coastal temperate rainforests to the arid Ponderosa pine forests in the interior West.

The NFF's project initiatives throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska focus on improving wildlife habitat and ecosystems, enhancing visitor recreation experiences, and mitigating the risk of severe wildfire through hazardous fuels reduction and community protection work while promoting healthy forests and watersheds.

These endeavors not only foster healthy forests and watersheds but also contribute to the overall well-being of the ecosystems and the communities they sustain.

Trailkeepers of Oregon

In 2007, a group of concerned hikers founded Trailkeepers of Oregon with a mission to protect and enhance the Oregon hiking experience through trail stewardship, advocacy, outreach and education.

Their work takes the form of trail maintenance projects and advocacy work to restore proper funding to a resource so beneficial and beloved by Oregonians.

Backed by the generosity of hundreds of donors and volunteers, Trailkeepers of Oregon is committed to making sure everyone has access to Oregon’s most special places for years to come.