Trust for Public Land, Partners Announce Acquisition of Spence Mountain

Trust for Public Land, in partnership with Klamath County and the Klamath Trails Alliance announced today the acquisition of Spence Mountain.

“The acquisition of the 7,500-acre Spence Mountain Forest and its network of hiking and biking trails has truly been a community effort and would not have been possible without the support of the Klamath County Commissioners and Klamath Trails Alliance,” said Kristin Kovalik, Oregon Director of Land Conservation for Trust for Public Land. “Expanded permanent public access to the property for various types of outdoor recreation will not only strengthen the local economy but will help improve health outcomes, allowing both businesses and residents to benefit from this shared community asset.”

Located 15 miles north of Klamath Falls, adjacent to two state wildlife areas on the shores of Upper Klamath Lake, the 7,500-acre forest provides important habitat for fish and wildlife within the Klamath Basin.

Klamath County will own the land while the Klamath Trails Alliance, which built the trails on Spence Mountain, will continue to maintain the trail network. Klamath Trails Alliance, which has already built over 47 miles of trails on the property will continue their efforts to make Spence Mountain a regional biking and recreation destination.

“This is a huge win for our community and KTA is proud to have been involved,” said Drew Honzel, Klamath Trails Alliance Board Treasurer. “I would like to acknowledge the Wendt family, former owners of Spence Mountain, for allowing us to build trails on this beautiful tract of land and supporting KTA at every step. Most rewarding is seeing folks, both local and out-of-towners, enjoying the trail system and coming back for more.”

Sustainable timberland management will also be incorporated into the overall plan for the property to improve the health of the forest and strengthen forest resilience to prevent and mitigate catastrophic wildfires.

“I would like to thank the Trust for Public Land for all of the great work from so many individuals that helped bring the acquisition together,” said Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot. “We look forward to restoring the health of this forest to provide for generations of Klamath residents and the many visitors that it attracts.”

The Spence Mountain project was made possible, thanks to the historic permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund enacted in the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020. The project received $4.6 million in federal funding from the Forest Legacy Program of the U.S. Forest Service as well as generous funding from Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

“The conservation of Spence Mountain is a significant achievement for all the parties who worked together to make this project possible,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Wildlife habitat is protected while access for recreation is secured and the land will continue to produce sustainably managed timber. This is exactly the kind of community-led project that NFWF and Walmart are proud to support through the Acres for America program.”

“Oregon’s public lands and forests are iconic and vital in supporting the state’s economy, as well as addressing climate chaos,” said Senator Merkley. “I am pleased to see the economic and environmental benefits this project will bring to the communities in Klamath County by supporting sustainable timber harvesting, providing public recreation such as mountain biking, and preserving habitats for endangered species.”

In 2016, Klamath Falls announced its participation in the Blue Zones Project, which prioritizes transforming communities across the U.S. into areas where the healthy choices are made easy and people live longer with a higher quality of life. The Spence Mountain trail project supports Klamath Falls’ vision for its future, combining a healthy community with a growing local economy and protecting the region’s natural beauty and is one of the reasons Oregon Parks and Recreation Department provided a Local Government grant to help fund the project.

Trust for Public Land and community partners have been honored to have the unanimous support of the Klamath County Commissioners and the support of from U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for the project’s appropriations from the Forest Legacy Program.

About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit