Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Executive Director Celisa Hopkins stands on the peak of the Uplands Trailhead at Cowiche Canyon Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Yakima, Wash.

Yakima-area residents have long benefited from Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s stewardship of the land.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 1985, manages more than 5,000 acres and 30 miles of hiking trails northwest of Yakima and shares the wonders of the land — complete with breathtaking views — with tens of thousands of visitors each year. Besides intrepid hikers and bikers, the conservancy’s community outreach events draw students, families and awestruck individuals year-round for writing workshops, citizen science projects, lectures, special butterfly-related events and more.

The group’s mission, as written on its website, is direct: “to protect shrub-steppe habitat and connect people to the vanishing landscape.”

Which brings us to the conservancy’s most recent efforts to keep a swath of endangered shrub-steppe from vanishing.

CCC’s Uplands Capital Campaign is more than halfway toward its goal of raising $1.2 million to purchase a 245-acre plot that is adjacent to CCC and Bureau of Land Management-owned land and includes part of the historic Jeep Trail. It’s land that has long interested the group because of concerns it might be developed someday. Those development concerns were heightened in 2017 when Borton Fruit bought 200 nearby acres, thus spurring the capital campaign.

The $1.2 million target represents the negotiated sale price of $1.048 million — the land’s assessed market value — plus a cushion for long-term stewardship. The fundraising deadline is November.

This is a good investment. Offering an abundance of education and recreation opportunities, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy has proved itself worthy of public trust. Yakima Valley residents should feel confident that their financial support will be well-spent and that the land is in good hands.

For those who have questions — or just want to get a bit of exercise and take in the views — you’re invited to join a CCC guide at 10 a.m. Feb. 29 for a walk through the 245-acre property. Meet at the Scenic Drive Trailhead parking lot, and come prepared for the weather. The walk should take about an hour.

For more information on the conservancy, go to www.cowichecanyon.org.

Now, get out there and enjoy nature.

Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Bob Crider and Bruce Drysdale.