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News / Clark County News

Columbia Land Trust transfers 112 acres back to Clark County

Director: Transfers are latest successes in a long partnership

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 2, 2024, 6:07am

Columbia Land Trust transferred 112 acres of natural landscape back to Clark County’s parks after years — in some cases decades — of being preserved.

Columbia Land Trust conserved the land knowing the parcels would be transferred to Clark County, which funded the organization’s original purchase through the county’s Conservation Futures Program. During this time, the trust would steward the land — monitoring dumping or removing noxious weeds — as the county found matching funds until it was able to care for the property.

All three properties in the transfer contain valuable wildlife habitat, connect scenic corridors and provide an escape into nature, said Cherie Kearney, Columbia Land Trust’s forest conservation director.

Eighty acres of forested slopes in the Lake Rosannah Natural Area were originally conserved in 1993. Trees surrounding canyonland sit adjacent to Lake Rosannah, a privately owned body of water. The site is close to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and provides scenes rife with nature and wildlife amid rapid developments in northern Clark County.

Farther east, 12 acres of Lewisville Regional Park, conserved in 2007, boast 1,000 feet of East Fork Lewis River shoreline that hosts steelhead and coho salmon. The trust also conserved the Optimist Club’s forested youth camp close to the park in 2023.

A 20-acre parcel in Whipple Creek Regional Park’s southern corner was conserved in 1997.

“I have been doing this work for 25 years and it is deeply gratifying to be part of the legacy of conserving so many places close to home,” Kearney said.

Clark County’s Conservation Futures Program is mainly supported by a county conservation levy, which has supported more than 100 acquisition projects, according to Clark County Public Works. The Washington Department of Natural Resources, the state and federal Departments of Fish and Wildlife, smaller municipalities and private entities also partner with the county to acquire land to preserve.

The Lake Rosannah Natural Area and Lewisville and Whipple Creek regional parks transfers are the latest successes in a long partnership between Columbia Land Trust and Clark County, Kearney said.

More than 5,000 acres of Clark County’s natural landscape are protected. To date, Columbia Land Trust has conserved roughly 1,800 acres, including Camas’ Camp Currie, Fallen Leaf Lake and Lacamas Lake Trail, as well as segments of the East Fork Lewis and Washougal rivers.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer