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Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area -- Day 13


After leaving Lake Couer D'alene it's.... Washington! We finally hit Washington! We've been on this road trip from Pennsylvania for what seems like forever now! I had no idea what to expect really with Lake Roosevelt NRA, I just knew we had a week more of time to burn until our apartment was ready to move in so I picked an itinerary that snaked around Washington state a bit. So we landed on Lake Roosevelt NRA first. It was pretty neat to see, not that we had time or the ability (with the two dogs in tow) to do a whole lot.

The Grand Coulee Dam Lake Roosevelt NRA
The Grand Coulee Hydroelectric Dam

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (NRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service. Situated in the state of Washington, the NRA is centered around Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, a reservoir created by the Grand Coulee Dam. It's really just a big ol dammed up Columbia River.  The dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world, serving multiple functions such as hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, and flood control. It is also, by generating capacity, the largest generating plant in the area...oh and the world! Pretty crazy!

Grand Coulee Dam Spillways
Check out those spillways rushing down with water!

The lake stretches approximately 130 miles and offers a plethora of recreational activities. Boating, fishing, swimming, and camping are among the most popular. Various boat launches and campgrounds around the lake accommodate a range of visitor preferences. The lake is also a fishing hotspot, home to a variety of fish species including walleye, rainbow trout, and sturgeon.

 Adding to its recreational appeal is Fort Spokane, a site near the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers. Fort Spokane served as a military fort in the late 19th century and later as a boarding school for Native American children. Today, it's a historical site where visitors can learn about the complex interactions between Native Americans and European settlers through museum exhibits and walking tours.

Fort Spokane Entrance -- Lake Roosevelt
Fort Spokane entrance gate


The area is rich in cultural history, having been inhabited by Native American tribes like the Colville, the Spokane, and the Sanpoil for thousands of years. Petroglyphs and other cultural artifacts can be found throughout the area, offering glimpses into its rich cultural heritage.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, after whom the lake is named, was a key figure in the New Deal projects that led to the Grand Coulee Dam's construction. The dam and lake have been instrumental in the Pacific Northwest's economic development, especially in agriculture and energy. However, the dam's construction also had significant social and environmental ramifications, including the displacement of Native communities and changes to the Columbia River's natural flow and ecology.


Lake Roosevelt (Columbia River)
Check that lake view!


Ecologically, Lake Roosevelt NRA is home to diverse flora and fauna. Birds like osprey, eagles, and herons are common sights, and the surrounding land provides habitats for deer, elk, and other wildlife. The lake itself is an ecological system facing challenges related to water quality and natural resource management.

Lake Roosevelt NRA
Somewhere off of the Hawk Creek Trailhead


Educational programs and visitor centers offer further information about the area's natural history, geology, and cultural heritage. These centers often include exhibits, guided tours, and activities suitable for both children and adults.


Fort Spokane Bridge -- Lake Roosevelt NRA
Fort Spokane Bridge!


While the scablands are more commonly associated with the channeled scablands of Eastern Washington, carved by the Missoula Floods, Lake Roosevelt NRA does share some of the geological features characteristic of the larger Columbia Plateau, of which the scablands are a part.


We stayed in Kettle Falls, WA for the night at Columbia Point Resort. It was a quaint motel right on the outskirts of town, but it provided everything we needed. Including a shower. Oh man private showers were hard to come by on this trip. Well at the KOAs at least. We of course were here on a Monday so dining options were thin and ended up getting pizza Westside Pizza. For being in the middle of nowhere it was fine, for being pizza it was...not the best. Maybe it's my east coast roots showing. 
The area they allowed dogs to go to the bathroom was odd too. It was like behind the motel in a dimly lit lot with sparse grass growth. I thought the boys were gonna step on a rusty nail or something.


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