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On January 28, 2005 The Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, a Yakima area land trust, with help from the Trust for Public Land was able to purchase Snow Mountain Ranch from Carol Ann DeLaChappelle. The $1.1 million purchase was made possible with grants provided by the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and the Bonneville Power Administration. The Trust for Public Land helped bring the funding sources together and orchestrated the technical details of the purchase.

Shortly after world war II, well known Yakima fruit grower and shipper Elon Gilbert started the 1,700 acre ranch, where he raised Charolais beef cattle, and Arabian horses. Many local people recall that former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas would sometimes visit the ranch as a close friend of the family.

The Snow Mountain Ranch purchase protects an important community resource, and will eventually provide the public access to a remote and beautiful area in the Yakima Valley.

Snow Mountain Ranch is now open to the public. It is a wonderful area for bird watching, hiking, or simply enjoying the beautiful the Yakima Valley. Several trails and other projects are still underway at the ranch and are evident when visiting, we hope to have these projects completed sometime in 2006. Please use caution in these areas when visiting the ranch. The Cowiche Canyon Conservancy will be looking for volunteers during the development phase. If you would like to volunteer to help please contact the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy. 

Photo by Nancy Pinnell