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ACCESS: guided only

Type of Project: Habitat Reserve

The Gaston family had owned 121 forested acres in the Crosel Creek watershed southeast of Astoria since World War II. Prior to this the original homesteaders, the Krosels, raised their family here. They had harvested some trees but had never logged heavily.

When staff at North Coast Land Conservancy first looked over the property at Helen Gaston’s invitation, they found a healthy mixed-age and mixed-species forest surrounded by state forest lands, few invasive plants, and a creek that emptied into Youngs River and provided habitat to a wide range of wildlife. The property is just minutes away from Astoria High School, whose biology program holds classes and practices field techniques at the Crosel Creek Habitat Reserve.

NCLC began working with Gaston to help her achieve her financial goals as well as her family’s desire to see the forested land remain intact. A combination of grant funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Columbia Land Trust and the Pacific Power Conservation Fund made the acquisition possible, with the landowners contributing a stewardship endowment to NCLC to help with the costs of caring for the land in perpetuity.

Today the property hosts an active beaver population whose wetlands engineering is creating ideal rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and, in so doing, is contributing to the biodiversity of this dynamic coastal ecosystem.