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Write a poem celebrating the Columbia River Gorge as part of a Friends of the Gorge challenge

COURTESY PHOTO: JOHN RUSSELL FOR WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Dream about getting back to the Columbia River Gorge by writing a haiku.

Pandemic restrictions have closed the popular Columbia River Gorge to hiking and other activities, so

Friends of the Columbia Gorge is asking folks to write a haiku to celebrate the beloved area.

"The gorge has always brought people together, and even though trails might be closed, we wanted to bring the wonder of the gorge to everyone through the beauty of words," said Friends executive director Kevin Gorman.

The Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge coincides with National Poetry Month in April and International Haiku Poetry Day Friday, April 17. The deadline for submissions is April 15.

To help launch the challenge, Oregon's Poet Laureate, Kim Stafford, created a short video (youtube.com/watch?v=c3uJ_MEqPAQ) exploring what the gorge and haikus have in common, as well as offering some tips on writing a haiku.

The challenge is designed to provide members of the public with a way to remain connected to the gorge and celebrate its wonders while supporting the recent closure of public lands — including Friends' Mosier Plateau and Lyle Cherry Orchard preserves – in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area due to public safety concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group said in the announcement.

To participate in the Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge, Friends invites gorge and poetry lovers to write and share their passion for the area with a haiku. All writers should follow the traditional haiku format which has three lines with 17 syllables (5-7-5 syllable structure).

To submit a haiku, post the poem on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (please tag @gorgefriends with the hashtag #HaikuPoetryDay) or email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 15. Friends staff will select a number of favorites to share on its website and social media channels on April 16-17.

For more information about Friends' Spring Gorge Haiku Challenge, please visit gorgefriends.org.


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