Natural link: The current and potential wonders of Powerdale Corridor

Portland might claim the fame of the largest urban park in America, Forest Park, but a new land deal announced this week gives Hood River a resource that could rival that beautiful place.

PacifiCorp has signed over 400 acres of waterfront property lining the lower Hood River to Columbia Land Trust and Hood River County.

“The transfer has been several years in the works and closes another chapter in the long process of decommissioning Powerdale Dam, which was built in 1923 and removed in 2010,” reports Adam Lapierre on page A1.

Congratulations to the Land Trust and its partners, the Hood River Watershed Group and Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District for pursuing and completing this all-important transaction in what is known as the Powerdale Lands Corridor.

It preserves a critical fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation area to the south and east of Hood River, and it runs parallel to the existing county park, the Indian Creek Trail. There exists great potential for a trail and preserve combining the trail route and Powerdale Corridor, with pedestrian access via Indian Creek trail in addition to the now limited Powerdale access off Highway 35.

The physical proximity of the Powerdale corridor to the farms and wineries of the mid- and upper valley suggests recreation and economic development opportunities linking Hood River and the rest of the valley.

Many individuals worked together to help this happen, but it is timely to acknowledge the significant role of Steve Stampfli, who had served as Watershed Group coordinator for the past eight years. The laconic conservationist had a way of bringing people together on many projects, Powerdale included.

A plaque will be placed at the Powerdale park honoring Stampfli. Chuck Gehling read the text Tuesday at Stampfli’s final Watershed Group meeting:

“For Steve Stampfli, who sustained and improved the Hood River Watershed through education, cooperation and stewardship. Thanks Steve, you’ve done it all, and you’ve done it well.”

May that spirit of cooperation endure as the partners continue planning to make the corridor into what it could be: one long link in a chain connecting three key ingredients that comprise the Hood River success story: nature preservation, recreational diversity and agritourism.

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