Timberline Lodge / Photo by Peter Marbach, courtesy of Mt. Hood Territory

Our Roots: A Pioneer Spirit

Abundant natural resources have drawn people to the Central Cascades for millennia, from many Native American tribes to Oregon Trail pioneers. The creative, can-do spirit early residents displayed in making a life here lives on as modern Cascadians explore new ways to live in harmony with each other and the land.

“The stories that those in the Northwest share about their communities are as compelling as the region’s amazing scenery. It may be the voice of a third-generation Latino describing how his family came to the Yakima Valley, or a leathery woodsman reciting logger poetry at a local gathering.”

— Jens Lund, Folk & Traditional Arts Program Coordinator,
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Olympia, WA

Examples of Our Roots

  1. McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival

    The McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival is a one-day celebration of the history of the wooden whitewater dory invented on the McKenzie River.  Each year hundreds of people attend this event to show and view historic boats and new boats from all over the Pacific…

    Location: 49198 McKenzie Hwy., Vida, OR 97488
  2. Butte Creek Mill

    Built in 1872, the Butte Creek Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the last commercially operated, water-powered flour mill west of the Mississippi. It’s a living treasure that stands rustically over Little Butte Creek, water pouring out of its hand-hewn…

    Location: 402 North Royal Ave., Eagle Point, OR 97524
  3. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

    Fort Vancouver is a historical site of national significance as the location of a major British fur-trading fort from 1825-1860.  It was the headquarters of the Columbia Department for the Hudson’s Bay Company.  In 1818, the United States and Britain agreed to share all of…

    Location: 612 E Reserve St, Vancouver, WA 98661
  4. Beacon Rock

    Beacon Rock is an easy, historic, and scenic hiking trail along the Columbia River Gorge located in the 4,650-acre Beacon Rock State Park . Climb the switchback trail to the top of this 848-foot-tall monolith for jaw-dropping views of the Columbia Gorge far below. Beacon Rock…

    Location: Beacon Rock State Park
  5. Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

    Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum brings to life the human stories and natural history of one our nation’s most compelling landscapes. After seeing the Gorge with your own eyes, the Museum tells…

    Location: 990 SW Rock Creek Drive, Stevenson, WA 98648
National Geographic