The Columbia River and The Snake River

 

I live about an hour away from the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and about an hour and a half from the Oregon coast. Although the political map of Oregon is skewed the scenic map offers some relief from the political world.

I have traveled across the western states to include Vancouver Island in Canada. Across the States of Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

In the days before satellite radio on a road trip through northern Arizona and southern Utah the digital seek search for a radio station just cycled up and down the scale between Page, AZ, and Moab, Utah. I could see thousands upon thousands of stars through the windshield on that night drive.

There are what is called Sky Islands in Arizona and unfortunately the west has what I call Woke Islands as well. I suspect that the cultural elites hate gasoline powered vehicles because they fear you will discover an America that they don’t want you to see for yourself. You might meet the wrong people in small towns across the United States.

The two videos in this post will show you the scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest.   

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Doug Watt: I suspect that the cultural elites hate gasoline powered vehicles because they fear you will discover an America that they don’t want you to see for yourself. You might meet the wrong people in small towns across the United States.

    I had never thought of it that way. Worth keeping in mind!

    • #1
  2. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s.  Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar.  All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then.  Absolutely gorgeous country there.  We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area.  Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River.  Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

    • #2
  3. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Some interesting facts about the Snake River:

    The Snake River is a major river in the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States. About 1,080 miles (1,740 km) long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, which is the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. Beginning in Yellowstone National Park, western Wyoming, it flows across the arid Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, the rugged Hells Canyon on the borders of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and finally the rolling Palouse Hills of southeast Washington. It joins the Columbia River just downstream from the Tri-Cities, Washington, in the southern Columbia Basin.

    Hells Canyon area of the Snake River:

    Hells Canyon is a ten-mile-wide (16 km) canyon in the Western United States, located along the border of eastern Oregon, western Idaho, and a small section of eastern Washington. It is part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area which is also located in part of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It is North America’s deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet (2,436 m), running deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

    • #4
  5. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    I have lived in the Portland area for 50+ years. I have been to every single place depicted in the first video, most of them many times. If there is a trail there, I’ve hiked it. The Columbia Gorge is a beautiful place.

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Not only do the dams generate electricity they provide water for irrigation. There is some idiocy in the salmon protection policies. Hatchery salmon have a fin notched. According to some experts these salmon are not as desirable or inferior to wild salmon.

    There are hatchery fish that make the trip back to the hatchery and some will make it past the hatchery. Those that make it past the hatchery are electrocuted. I don’t see that as a policy that increases the salmon population. Inferior in what way? That and endless lawsuits from different advocacy groups concerning the Snake and Columbia rivers that taxpayers end up funding screws up the parade.

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Al French (View Comment):
    The Columbia Gorge is a beautiful place.

    A candidate for “Understatement of the Year.” : )

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability?  I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC.  I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that. 

    • #8
  9. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability? I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC. I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that.

    They provide 1000 MW of electricity, the amount of a nuclear or large fossil fuel plant, of which Oregon has none. It would have to be replaced by buying electricity from other states.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Al French (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability? I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC. I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that.

    They provide 3MW of electricity, the amount of a nuclear or large fossil fuel plant, of which Oregon has none. It would have to be replaced by buying electricity from other states.

    Huh?  Isn’t 3MW off by a couple or three orders of magnitude?

    • #10
  11. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    See this article about dam removal executed – that’s a fitting term – on the Klamath River in CA and apparently planned for the Columbia Basin. (No longer living in CA I’d not paid any attention to this, like most maybe. Newsome got it done.) 1920’s engineering was a marvel and beautiful  and respectful  

    https://californiaglobe.com/articles/klamath-dam-removal-its-an-environmental-disaster/

     

    • #11
  12. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    EODmom (View Comment):

    See this article about dam removal executed – that’s a fitting term – on the Klamath River in CA and apparently planned for the Columbia Basin. (No longer living in CA I’d not paid any attention to this, like most maybe. Newsome got it done.) 1920’s engineering was a marvel and beautiful and respectful

    https://californiaglobe.com/articles/klamath-dam-removal-its-an-environmental-disaster/

     

    Horrifying!  A premium example of unintended consequences, and the perpetrators slinking away after the disaster they caused unfolded.

    • #12
  13. DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    See this article about dam removal executed – that’s a fitting term – on the Klamath River in CA and apparently planned for the Columbia Basin. (No longer living in CA I’d not paid any attention to this, like most maybe. Newsome got it done.) 1920’s engineering was a marvel and beautiful and respectful

    https://californiaglobe.com/articles/klamath-dam-removal-its-an-environmental-disaster/

    Horrifying! A premium example of unintended consequences, and the perpetrators slinking away after the disaster they caused unfolded.

    I’m not always sure these things are unintended.

    • #13
  14. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability? I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC. I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that.

    They provide 3MW of electricity, the amount of a nuclear or large fossil fuel plant, of which Oregon has none. It would have to be replaced by buying electricity from other states.

    Huh? Isn’t 3MW off by a couple or three orders of magnitude?

    Yes. Thank you for pointing that out. That’s what I get for googling something, then waiting to comment long enough to forget the number. Should be 1000 MW.

    • #14
  15. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    The Snake River valley from the Ontario (OR) / Boise area eastward is actually a gigantic burn scar, where the Yellowstone hot spot torched through the bedrock over millions of years, including burning holes through mountain ranges. The river is carved down into the lava beds, most dramatically in the Twin Falls area. 

    I need to take the drive up to the Owyhee Dam, been here ten years and haven’t done that yet. Another dramatic spot in the area is Succor Creek, with a bunch of weathered out volcanic rock plugs.

    • #15
  16. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Locke On (View Comment):

    The Snake River valley from the Ontario (OR) / Boise area eastward is actually a gigantic burn scar, where the Yellowstone hot spot torched through the bedrock over millions of years, including burning holes through mountain ranges. The river is carved down into the lava beds, most dramatically in the Twin Falls area.

    I need to take the drive up to the Owyhee Dam, been here ten years and haven’t done that yet. Another dramatic spot in the area is Succor Creek, with a bunch of weathered out volcanic rock plugs.

    If the water is high enough to go out the glory hole that dam is incredible.  Back in the day we could drive out and watch the B52’s doing low level runs down the river.  

    • #16
  17. db25db Inactive
    db25db
    @db25db

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability? I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC. I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that.

    In the Pacific Northwest, 75% of our power comes from hydroelectric plants.  

    • #17
  18. db25db Inactive
    db25db
    @db25db

    The other dam removal proposal that blows my mind is Hetch Hetchy in the Sierra Nevadas.  It provides 80% of San Francisco’s drinking water.  That hasn’t stopped San Fran Fundamentalists Environmentalists from trying to remove it to help a fish  in the river delta there.

    • #18
  19. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    db25db (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    I was stationed at a radar site on the side of the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border back in the late 70’s. Aircraft would do simulated bomb runs down the Owyhee River in Oregon to the Owyhee dam, and we provided simulated bomb scoring and anti aircraft radar. All overcome by technology now, but there were sites all over the US back then. Absolutely gorgeous country there. We once camped out in Hells Canyon, another little known scenic area. Three dams in a relatively short piece of the Snake River. Pictures are Hells Canyon and the Owyhee dam.

     

    The environmentalists want to tear out those dams (plus one additional) for the benefit of the salmon, and to the great detriment to electricity availability.

    Is it really a great detriment to electricity availability? I ask because the Hoover Dam, which was built to provide a lot of electricity to the southwest now serves only some backup needs, IIRC. I don’t think that’s because of low water levels in recent years, but I’m not positive about that.

    In the Pacific Northwest, 75% of our power comes from hydroelectric plants.

    I think not for long. 

    • #19
  20. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    db25db (View Comment):

    The other dam removal proposal that blows my mind is Hetch Hetchy in the Sierra Nevadas. It provides 80% of San Francisco’s drinking water. That hasn’t stopped San Fran Fundamentalists Environmentalists from trying to remove it to help a fish in the river delta there.

    They don’t care. 

    • #20
  21. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    See this article about dam removal executed – that’s a fitting term – on the Klamath River in CA and apparently planned for the Columbia Basin. (No longer living in CA I’d not paid any attention to this, like most maybe. Newsome got it done.) 1920’s engineering was a marvel and beautiful and respectful

    https://californiaglobe.com/articles/klamath-dam-removal-its-an-environmental-disaster/

    Horrifying! A premium example of unintended consequences, and the perpetrators slinking away after the disaster they caused unfolded.

    I’m not always sure these things are unintended.

    The ‘E’ in any cabinet level agency’s name may be assumed to stand for “Evil.”

    • #21
  22. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    Just the title reminded me of this:

    I liked it so much, that a high-res print of it hung in my office for years. That, and my family effectively lived on the Salmon, Willamette and Columbia for years.

    You can get it here: https://somethingaboutmaps.wordpress.com/river-maps/columbia-river/

    • #22
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