Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area


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 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. 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 2016.

Download current Management Plan (as revised through 2016)

The Gorge Commission adopted the revised Management Plan in October 2020. The counties are currently working on amending their land use ordinances to incorporate the revisions to the Plan. The amended land use ordinances should be effective in the first half of 2022.

Download Revised (Gorge2020) Management Plan

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 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