County and Cowlitz Indian Tribe kick off partnership to improve recreational opportunities and restore habitat

Image courtesy Clark County Public Works
Image courtesy Clark County Public Works

The property was formerly part of the Cedars on Salmon Creek golf course

VANCOUVER – Clark County and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe are starting a fish habitat and recreation master planning process for the Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area. The property was formerly part of the Cedars on Salmon Creek golf course. The planning effort will focus on restoring fish habitat in Salmon Creek, removing fish passage barriers, and improving natural-resource based opportunities like walking, birdwatching, fishing, picnicking and cultural and environmental education. 

“As the Cowlitz Indian Tribe furthers its legacy of environmental stewardship, we are grateful to partner with Clark County on the Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area restoration plan,” said Cowlitz Indian Tribe General Council Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser. “By prioritizing the restoration of critical spawning habitat for endangered salmon species and providing neighbors with more recreational, educational, and cultural learning opportunities, we are not just preserving the legacy of the land — we are actively contributing to a healthier future for our community.”

Fish habitat and restoration improvements may include increasing floodplain resiliency and improving shoreline stability, focusing on fish passage improvements along two miles of Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek provides critical spawning and rearing habitat for populations of fall chinook, coho and chum salmon, and winter steelhead. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe secured grant funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to develop a preliminary restoration design. The design process will begin this year with preliminary data collection and surveys assessing the site’s conditions, limiting factors, stream flow dynamics and surrounding infrastructure. 

The county will work closely with the tribe to incorporate the restoration design into the natural area’s master plan. Master planning is anticipated to take one to two years and will involve public engagement and communication with community stakeholders. The natural area’s future recreation amenities and public access improvements will be identified in the master plan.  

“The partnership with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe will allow us to complete the planning process to successfully transition this site to a natural resource treasure several years earlier than we would otherwise be able to,” said Rocky Houston, Parks and Lands division manager for Clark County Public Works. “This is a wonderful partnership that will create long-term benefits for the community and Salmon Creek.”

While 2024 will consist mostly of preliminary planning and design, the public engagement process will begin in late 2024 or early 2025. The plan is anticipated to be finalized by 2026. Construction timeline will be determined by funding availability. 

Project updates and information can be found on the project webpage at

For information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

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Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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