Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area


Management Plan

Click here to download a PDF of the current Management Plan


Congress called for the preparation of the Management Plan for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Management Plan) to ensure that land in the National Scenic Area is used consistently with the purposes and standards of the National Scenic Area Act. The Gorge Commission and Forest Service must revise the Management Plan at least every 10 years. The Gorge Commission and Forest Service first adopted the Management Plan in 1991 with input from Indian tribal governments, county and city governments, state and federal agencies, citizens, and non-governmental organizations. In 2004, the agencies completed the first 10-year revision. In 2020, they completed the second revision. The Gorge Commission may amend the Management Plan between revisions if it finds that conditions in the National Scenic Area have significantly changed. The Secretary of Agriculture must concur with revisions and amendments to the Management Plan.

The Management Plan contains the land use and resource protection standards, non-regulatory programs, and actions for protecting and enhancing Columbia River Gorge resources, as well as a description of roles and relationships of governments and agencies responsible for implementation of the National Scenic Area Act. The Forest Service develops the land use regulations for federal land and land in the “special management areas.” The Gorge Commission develops the land use regulations for the general management area. The management plan does not directly apply to the 13 urban areas. 

The current Management Plan incorporates revisions to the Management Plan adopted in 2020. The Commission adopted a National Scenic Area Land Use Ordinance that applies to new developments in Klickitat County, which went into effect in May 2022. Clark, Hood River, Multnomah, Skamania, and Wasco Counties incorporated the revised Management Plan into their own Land Use Ordinances, all of which went into effect in July 2022.

Previous versions of the Management Plan are available electronically, on request, or physically at the Gorge Commission office in White Salmon, WA.

The Management Plan is organized into four parts:

  • Part I identifies goals, objectives, policies, and guidelines for resource protection and enhancement. Individual chapters cover scenic resources, cultural resources, natural resources, and recreation resources. 
  • Part II addresses land use designations. Individual chapters identify the goals, objectives, policies, and guidelines for each land use category: agricultural land, forest land, open space, residential land, commercial land, and recreation designations. These six chapters are followed by a chapter on general policies and guidelines that affect all uses in the Scenic Area, regardless of land use designation.
  • Part III outlines an action program, with chapters devoted to climate change, the recreation development plan, economic development, enhancement strategies, and interpretation and education.
  • Part IV focuses on the role of the Gorge Commission, the Forest Service, and Indian tribal treaty rights and consultation