This year’s challenge commemorates Friends’ 35 years of work protecting a unique American natural treasure Friends of the Columbia Gorge is launching the 35 & Gorgeous hike challenge this month. This year’s challenge offers something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts and day-hikers to families and community groups! The challenge invites participants to hike 15 trails and complete 20 other activities (from visiting waterfalls to
identifying wildflowers) as a way of commemorating the 35 years that Friends of the Columbia Gorge has spent working to protect this unique American natural treasure. Challenge your friends and family to join you or compete
to see who can be the first to finish all 35 items on the list!
 
Long before Nancy Russell founded Friends in 1980, before the 1986 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act established federal protection for the region, Gorge lovers have strived to protect its natural, cultural, recreational, and scenic resources for future generations.
 
“This year’s challenge is especially exciting because we hope that folks of all ages and abilities will join us to celebrate both the Columbia River Gorge and Friends’ 35th anniversary,” said Friends Executive Director Kevin Gorman. “Whether you already love the Gorge or are just finding out about it, 35 & Gorgeous not only gets you out onto trails and into Gorge communities; we’ll also share the inspiring stories behind the places you’ll visit.”
 
In addition to the 15 hikes with conservation stories, which you can read at gorgefriends.org/35andgorgeous before hitting the trails, the challenge provides 20 additional ways to have a complete and enjoyable Gorge
experience. You’ll foray into the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness; participate in a land stewardship work party; visit Gorge communities and waterfalls; and perform simple but meaningful (and fun) acts like identifying five Gorge
wildflowers, enjoying a picnic at an established picnic area, and using a boot brush at a trailhead to prevent the proliferation of non-native plant species.
 
Those who complete all 35 items before Oct. 31 and are also Friends of the Columbia Gorge members will receive a prize courtesy of the Lyle Hotel, located in the eastern Gorge community of Lyle, WA, and be entered into a grand prize drawing of a white water raft trip for six on the Wild & Scenic White Salmon River, courtesy of Wet Planet.
 
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Participants must register through Friends’ website and be Friends’ members to be eligible for prizes. Don’t miss out on this fun, rewarding Gorge experience!
 
Friends of the Columbia Gorge works to ensure the beautiful and wild Columbia Gorge remains a place apart, an unspoiled treasure for coming generations. We’re the only conservation advocacy organization dedicated solely to protecting the Gorge. Secondly, we’re landowners. Our land trust owns over 1,000 acres, providing hiking and recreation opportunities, while managing our land for long-term protection. Thirdly, we’re educators. We lead more than 100 hikes a year, taking people to places they have never seen and learning things they never knew.
 
Lastly, we’re connectors. We connect the landscapes to the communities of the Gorge through projects such as Gorge Towns to Trails.

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