Columbia River Gorge Commission

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016
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National Scenic Act

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act (1986):

To protect and enhance the scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge; and to protect and support the economy of the area by encouraging growth to occur in urban areas and allowing future economic development consistent with resource protection.   
 download the entire National Scenic Act

Why is the Columbia River Gorge Important?

· Formed by ancient volcanoes and cataclysmic floods, the Gorge carves a spectacular corridor through the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington.

· The Scenic Area stretches 85 miles on both sides of the Columbia River from Troutdale, Oregon and Washougal, Washington in the west to the Deschutes River in the east.

· The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Scenic Area) is home to an incredible combination of spectacular landscapes, rare plants, wildlife, recreational opportunities, farmland, ancient Indian rock art, and other cultural and historic sites. It is also home to more than 55,000 people and a place to visit for more than 2 million people each year.

· Millions of federal dollars have flowed into the Scenic Area as a result of Congress’ recognition of its importance as a national resource. Those dollars have gone to a variety of economic development, recreation, county, and other functions.

Who Manages the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (NSA)?

· The Scenic Area is managed on a partnership basis by the Gorge counties, states of Oregon and Washington, the US Forest Service and the Gorge Commission.

· The U.S. Forest Service sets policy for lands in the Special Management Area (approximately 115,000 acres), determines consistency with federal actions in the Scenic Area, and manages 71,000 acres of National Forest land in the Scenic Area.

· Five of the six Gorge Counties implement ordinances under the Scenic Area Management Plan, just as they manage other aspects of development.

· Thirteen urban areas (about 30,000 acres) designated by Congress are not subject to NSA regulation, and are solely under the jurisdiction of the applicable city or county government.

· Congress authorized $10 million for economic development grants and loans. The Washington and Oregon Investment Boards manage the funds and economic development planning.

· Four tribal governments with interests in the NSA play an important role in implementing the Management Plan and protecting cultural resources.

· The Gorge Commission is a bi-state Compact agency authorized by the Scenic Act and created by Washington and Oregon legislation in 1987. The Commission is funded equally by the two states and is comprised of twelve volunteers appointed by the counties and states.

Columbia River Gorge Commission
PO Box 730 | 1 Town & Country Square | 57 NE Wauna Avenue | White Salmon, WA 98672 | ph: 509-493-3323 | fax: 509-493-2229
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