BLM acquires 647 acres in Yakima River Canyon, Washington

Spokane DO
Media Contact

Lands important for wildlife and recreation acquired through LWCF

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Bureau of Land Management today announced the acquisition of 647 acres in the scenic Yakima River Canyon near Ellensburg, made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The acquisition consists of grassy uplands adjacent to river access at the BLM Umtanum Camp Site.

These new public lands include three parcels—Bighorn, Beavertail, and Umtanum—spanning both sides of the Yakima River. The canyon offers valuable recreational opportunities such as wildlife watching, rafting, hiking, and camping. Canyon crevices and cliffs are home to nesting hawks, eagles, and falcons, while the river includes habitat for Middle Columbia steelhead and bull trout as well as fishing for blue ribbon trout.

“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to add these parcels to the 9,000 public acres BLM already manages in Yakima River Canyon,” said Wenatchee Field Manager Curtis Bryan. “Incorporating this property empowers BLM to manage the land for multiple uses, including recreation and conservation, and maintain the health and diversity of the landscapes to benefit local wildlife.”

The BLM plans to prepare the Bighorn and Umtanum parcels for initial visitor access later this spring while working with local partners and the public to evaluate long-term management options. BLM has no immediate plans for improvements to the Beavertail parcel. Updates will be posted to the Yakima River Canyon website as they become available.

The BLM acquired the land from the Western Rivers Conservancy, which purchased Yakima Canyon Ranch in December 2021 with the intent of transferring it to the BLM to ensure a more uniform management of the area for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.