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Skamania County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 15 October 2014

Population:  11,274

Area: 1,684 square miles

County Seat: Stevenson

OVERVIEW

Skamania County is located on the Columbia River I the southwestern part of Washington State. The area of the county is 1,684 square miles with the population of 11,274. County Seat is Stevenson. Skagit County has always had close economy connections with Portland and Oregon. Many years ago logging was the main industry of the county, but it was replaced by tourism. No wonder, because Skamania County is home for such natural attractions as Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, etc. About 80% of the whole territory of the county is covered with National Forest.

HISTORY

First people on the territory of the present Skamania County were Chilluckittequw - Ruby and Brown. They lived along the rivers and spoke one of the Chinnokan dialects. These people were able to communicate with other tribes that lived along the Columbia River.

When Lewis and Clark expedition came here in 1805, they called these tribes Sahellellah, Shahala, Ninuhltidihs, and Kwikwuilits.

White settlements started to grow since 1850s. Americans who crossed the Oregon Trail settled and established their business here.

Skamania County was established in 1854, and was one of the first counties in the state.

COUNTY SEAT

The County Seat is Stevenson. The population of the town is about 1,500 people. Stevenson is home for the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center and to Skamania Lodge.

The town of Stevenson is named after an early settler George H. Stevenson. His family came here from Missouri and found the town on the Shepard donation land claim.

Stevenson was officially incorporated in 1907, and in 1908 the railroad arrived. The town was growing, the streets were graded and more settlers came here.

ATTRACTIONS

Beacon Rock State Park

Beacon Rock State Park is a 5,100-acre state park in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It got its’ name tanks to Beacon Rock which is located near the Columbia River. This monolith is 848 foot high and is considered to be one of the main attractions of the park. Here you will find more than 9.5 miles of hiking trails and 9,500 feet of freshwater shoreline.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses the territory of 292,500 acres. It runs from the mouth of the Sandy River to the mouth of the Deschutes. This scenic area is located between the State of Washington and Oregon. This gorge is a unique place with cultural history, natural beauty. This river gorge is fantastic with its 77 waterfalls.

Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Monument

Mount St. Helens  is very popular among the hikers for its interesting and not difficult hiking routes. It should be mentioned that this volcano erupted in May 1980 and caused a lot of damage. After the eruption the territory around Mount St. Helens and the mountain itself received the status of U.S. National Monument – Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.Photo from Skamania County The monument was established on August 27, 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. This territory of 110, 000 acre was conserved for research, education and recreation.

Coldwater Lake

Nowadays Coldwater Lake is a wonderful and peaceful 750-acre lake, but in 1980 this lake was created because of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. This day changed the mountain and the nearby territories forever.

Photo from Skamania CountyWhen the dust finally settled, the peak of Mount St. Helens had lowered about 1,300 feet. The eruption also created two new lakes at the base of the mountain. Castle Lake and Coldwater Lake were created because debris dammed up the flow of Coldwater Creek.

Coldwater Lake is located on the territory of Skamania and Cowlitz Counties in the surrounding of the Coldwater Lake Recreational Area. This is a very famous and popular place with wonderful picnic facilities and scenic hiking trails; one of them is a “Birth of the Lake” trail.

Coldwater Lake is also a popular fishing destination. When the lake was formed, it was stocked with rainbow trout. There is also a population of cutthroat trout. Visitors should also keep in mind that only electric motors are allowed on the lake.
The Coldwater Recreational Area can be visited only during the day, the nearest camping can be found at Seaquest State Park. This 475-acre park offer great possibilities for fishing, boating, swimming and hiking. One mile of Silver Lake’s shoreline is included into the park.

Information: Marina Petrova

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