National Forest Foundation

Mt Hood: Your Source for Water, Wildlife and Wonder

Mt Hood: Your Source for Water, Wildlife and Wonder


Working with local partners, we are creating better fish and wildlife habitat, enhancing recreational experiences and increasing the number and diversity of the stewards of the Forest into the future.

Comprised of more than one million acres of forested mountains, lakes and streams, the Mt. Hood National Forest is the backyard to approximately 2.5 million people in the Portland metro area, towns in the Columbia Gorge and other surrounding communities. “Mt. Hood” serves as a major destination for many to hike, fish, camp, raft, ski and enjoy many other recreation activities.

The verdant valleys and forested mountains of Mt. Hood host an array of amazing wildlife including salmon, steelhead, northern spotted owls, elk and more.

With so many opportunities for people to recreate and its proximity to Portland, Mt. Hood hosts a lot of visitors each year. This high use requires virtually constant upkeep and many beloved areas have fallen into disrepair. This heavy use has also generated interest from mountain bikers, horse riders and other users to increase the number of trails and other recreational sites. 

In addition to providing Portland and surrounding communities with critical connections to nature, Mt. Hood also provides life’s most essential component: clean water. But both humans and wildlife need a healthy and properly functioning forest to provide this critical resource. To maintain clean and abundant water into the future, we need to protect and restore the rivers and lakes on the Mt. Hood National Forest, which raises a key question that this project is addressing at every stage: How do we balance the need for recreation and the ability to maintain healthy watersheds in Oregon’s most popular backyard forest?

Unfortunately many beloved areas have fallen into disrepair.

The NFF believes that everyone should be able to enjoy what Mt. Hood has to offer and by increasing the number and diversity of people restoring the National Forest we are creating its future stewards. That is why we are partnering with the Forest Service and a variety of organizations to engage a diversity of people working to rebuild hiking trails, clean up campsites, plant native plants and participate in many outdoor work experiences. We are recruiting youth from underserved communities to provide outdoor employment opportunities to develop their work skills and provide a path for career advancement. 

We are improving the rivers and streams that provide drinking water for over one million Oregonians and habitat for populations of threatened salmon and steelhead. This work includes restoring these bodies of water to their original character and improving riparian areas for better functioning watersheds and wildlife habitat. Additionally, we are working to naturally store more water for increased summertime flows when both people and fish need it most.

To support this important work the NFF is partnering with local businesses and corporations. Like us they see Mt. Hood as a community asset in which we all need to invest. Contact us if you want to be a part of this holistic approach for the Mt. Hood National Forest and for our communities!