As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
Under this proposal, 50.32 acres were acquired and included in the Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve (NAP). This site is located on the crest of the Columbia Hills at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It contains the largest remnant of one of Washington’s rarest types of grassland ecosystems, as well as the state’s largest populations of three rare plant species: obscure buttercup, Douglas’ draba, and hot-rock penstemon. Oak-pine woodlands, basalt cliffs, and a number of natural springs add to the diversity of habitats found on this large site. A rich and well-documented history, as well as exquisite panoramic views contributes to this site’s significance.