The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Act turns 25 years old on November 17. OREGON FIELD GUIDE marks the anniversary with an hour-long special airing on that day at 8pm on the stations of OPB. “Columbia Gorge: The Fight for Paradise” examines how the Scenic Act has balanced the stresses of tourism, recreation, wind energy development and a population boom in the Gorge.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Scenic Act on November 17, 1986. From that moment on, Gorge land managers had a dual mandate: protect an 85-mile stretch of incredible scenery and encourage economic development in the Gorge.

The FIELD GUIDE team looks at the path to getting the law passed by Congress, the race to save prized parcels of land from bulldozers, the rise of high-tech and recreation, and new threats from wind development and haze that obscure the beauty of the Gorge.

Policy and land-use controversies are part of life in the Columbia Gorge. But for the tribes the issues run much deeper. The program also examines the evocative Confluence Project by artist Maya Lin that spans the Scenic Area, and what the Gorge Act means to the tribes that have long called it home.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at or watch entire programs at

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In its 23nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB

OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 115,000 contributors.