|White Bluffs Settlement Cabin|
Hanford Reach National Monument. Washington. October 13, 2016.
Copyright © 2017 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved
My visit to this monument looks like it was a lot briefer than Brent Rose's visit. No time on the water, just checking out a couple sites in the Wahluke Unit of the monument, directly across the Columbia River from the old, historic nuclear plants, and a bit above, at one point, Rose's location on the water.
On my visit, it was a gray and misty day and I arrived at sunset (for what it was... nothing but increasingly dim and gloomy light). I do have some more photos that I'll share in a later post, but I am trying to make tracks through as many monuments as possible today.
A couple quick notes... This is the first monument to be managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Most of the land was already established as a National Wildlife Refuge before it was declared to be a national monument, so they retained the managment of the new monument. It is the best preserved sagbrush step biome in Washington (and most of the west, for that matter) and contains the only "free-flowing," wild segment of the Columbia River left in the United States above the first dam. For the rest of the river, it is just one reservoir backing all the way up to the next dam above...
There is very little development here. A boat launch, a couple dirt roads, the viewpoint... In fact, much of the monument is off limits to the public, including the entire Rattlesnake Unit.
The cabin at the top of the post is one of the oldest remaining structures in Franklin County, Washington. It was a part of a settlement that built up at a natural crossing on the river, and was an important hub for steam ship, peaking between 1858 and 1870. By the 1900s, most of the town was located across the river here, and was one of the towns wiped off the map completely with the establighment of the Hanford Project during World War II.