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Catherine Creek Restoration Update

March 2, 2024
Catherine Creek. Photo by Cate Hotchkiss.

When Friends of the Columbia Gorge purchased the Catherine Creek property in fall 2020, the four-acre parcel was packed with structures. A half dozen outbuildings, including dilapidated sheds, barns, and a garage were removed in 2021. This reduced the visual impact of the property from nearby trails and allowed native vegetation to move into those areas.

In the next stage of restoration at Catherine Creek, the final building on site—a residential house (see photo below)—will be removed later this year. The residence was constructed around 2006 and has never been in compliance with building standards in the National Scenic Area. Its tall glass windows are visible from the Historic Columbia River Highway across the river, and the structure dominates the visual experience on some portions of the Catherine Creek Universal Access Trail. Removal of the house could take up to six weeks, and all suitable materials will be recycled or reused after deconstruction.

The final building on the site, a residential house, will be removed in 2024.

Once the house is removed (and the materials recycled), the western portion of the property will be planted with native vegetation that can thrive at this hot, dry site. Recognizing those conditions are only going to worsen with climate change, there will be an emphasis on planting and establishing Oregon white oak.

By the time the wildflowers bloom in 2025, people on the Catherine Creek trail system will enjoy the magnificent views—this time without the house for the first time in nearly 20 years.

To reach our $6.6 million goal for Share the Wonder, we’ll need the support of the entire Friends community. Our success requires action from each of us. By sharing the wonder with a gift today, you can help Friends make an even bigger impact on the lands, wildlife, plants, and communities of the Gorge.