COLUMBIA RIVER JOURNEY—HANFORD REACH
Join us for an exhilarating tour of the Hanford Reach National Monument, the last free-flowing section of the Columbia River within the United States!
As our twin-engine, shallow draft jet boat motors upstream, signs of civilization disappear. You enter the seldom-seen lands and waters of the “Reach”, where coyotes outnumber people. Wildlife sightings are common. Giant White Pelicans (endangered in most portions of the West, but common on the Reach) gracefully glide by on ten foot wingspans. Trophy mule deer browse along the shores. Great Blue Herons, terns, beaver, porcupines and other species are often seen.
You will see the ghostly, monumental hulks of long-silenced nuclear reactors — the only visible signs of the top secret Manhattan Project, having the mission of producing bomb-grade plutonium during World War II and the Cold War.
You may feel like the first people to travel into this remote area, but Native Americans lived along the Reach since the beginning of time. You will learn about these people and about the first non-Native American to visit the Reach, Englishman David Thompson, who canoed the Columbia from the Rocky Mountains to the sea in 1811. You will also learn about the settlers who founded the towns of Hanford and White Bluffs in the early 1900’s, and those who followed.
This is a tour far from mainstream America, generally inaccessible by road, accessible only by shallow-draft jet boat. You will soon understand why in June of 2000, this 195,000 acre home to rare plants, wildlife and remnants of human history was named the Hanford Reach National Monument.