Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


This review first considers the historical conditions that coalesced in the late 1970s into the movement calling for federal protection of the Gorge. It then discusses the unlikely and convoluted scenario in which Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act in 1986.14 The review then turns to the institutions responsible for implementing the statute: the bi-state Columbia River Gorge Commission; the U.S. Forest Service; six county governments; those agencies’ chief watchdog, the persistent and influential Friends of the Columbia Gorge; and the state legislatures, which control the Commission’s budgets. It then spotlights several Gorge controversies, among them residential developments, commercial uses, a destination resort, a coal power plant, an Indian casino, wind farms, and dam removal. The review concludes with several observations about some enduring themes evident in Durbin’s important case study of this pioneering piece of federal legislation.

First Page



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