Designing a diverse impact network to care for the Columbia River Gorge


Advance the formation and effectiveness of the newly formed Columbia River Gorge Stewardship Network in a way that establishes an inspiring and replicable model for other outdoor recreation destinations.


Crosscurrent Collective picked up with the Stewardship Network in October 2021, shortly after its initial formation work with Travel Oregon, OSU’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy, and REI.

After meeting with founding stakeholders to review background information and establish an agenda, we got to work surveying network participants to gain a deeper understanding of their challenges, opportunities and priorities. Throughout these beginning stages, we focused on clarifying how a network approach could be applied to stewardship on the ground — including design, implementation and assessment.

The next step was to identify collective impact areas and prioritize focus areas. To that end, we facilitated a series of gatherings and work sessions that helped more than 20 public- and private-sector participants collaborate to identify the network’s highest-priority projects, and to put practical plans into place that would further progress toward these objectives.

The group agreed early on that the network itself is its greatest asset. Prioritizing the network’s health would be essential for accomplishing meaningful work in the region — so we worked to create a strong foundation by designing opportunities for network coordination and communication; building out a framework for including diverse perspectives and pursuing BIPOC-championed projects; implementing a clear leadership and decision-making structure to provide transparency and accountability; and identifying ways to diversify funding streams. The goal: A sustainable network of stakeholders, marked by their diversity, inclusiveness, communication and adaptability — and their deep love for the Columbia River Gorge.

With this first “impact area” in place, the network identified three more priorities: being known as a safe and welcoming destination; stewarding natural and cultural resources; and improving outdoor recreation experiences.


Crosscurrent’s work in this region is ongoing. Our initial strategy process resulted in a collaboratively drafted 15-year future vision of tourism in the region, plus identification of four strategic impact areas with well-articulated short- and medium-term outcomes. The network also took key actions toward advancing equity and inclusivity, such as implementing equity scholarships.

Crosscurrent continues to provide ongoing support for the Columbia River Gorge Stewardship Network in the areas of process design, facilitation, network bylaws development and general network coordination.



  1. Conducted a stakeholder assessment and discovery process
  2. Designed and produced a multi-year series of collaborative strategy sessions to help stakeholders arrive at a clear vision of success – with areas where they want to achieve impact, short- and medium-term outcomes, and priority projects to get started
  3. Facilitated small work groups comprising public and private organizations to launch action teams and develop governance systems for the impact network
  4. Supported the creation of a leadership team and governance bylaws in order to formalize the impact network
  5. Provide ongoing strategic guidance on impact network design and network coordination services.





  • Converge
  • Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy
  • REI


Crosscurrent makes the complex simple.

  • 01
    Set Up a Discovery Session
    Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute discovery session.
  • 02
    Create a Road Map
    Together we’ll sketch a road map to get a feel for the investment required.
  • 03
    Get to Work
    Once the road map is clear and the details agreed on, we’ll get right to work!