Clark County is fortunate to have almost 80,000 acres of natural areas that are managed by public agencies for natural resources and recreation. Major landowners include the Washington Department of Natural Resources (60,000 acres), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (3,067 acres), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (6,243 acres), the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (1,239 acres), and local parks departments (7,433 acres).
Clark County Legacy Lands has protected 7,000 acres throughout the county using the conservation futures funds.
The program works with public agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, private landowners and the community to establish, restore, and maintain an interconnected system of parks, natural areas, trails and open spaces that:
- Contributes to our tourism and local economy
- Preserves natural areas for wildlife habitat and recreation
- Enhances our air and water quality
- Promotes health, fitness and personal well-being
- Connects our communities with trails and greenways
- Supports an ecologically sustainable metropolitan region
Resources from a variety of public agencies and non-profit conservation organizations are pooled to achieve Legacy Lands objectives. The primary county revenue source is the Conservation Futures levy. The county has also been very successful in securing grant funds. Since the levy was initiated in 1985, every dollar of local funds has been matched by approximately 80 cents of grant funding.
“Master Plans” or management plans are adopted for major conservation landholdings. They identify the management objectives for the property and the public access and use improvements that will be constructed when resources are available.
In most cases, yes, the public is free to walk the sites for passive recreational activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing and nature photography. Some sites currently do not have a designated access point without crossing private property. In those instances, we ask the public to respect private property rights. In some instances, the property contains critical habitat for species protection and may have limited access.