Hanford Reach: A River Runs Through
The greatest and earliest civilizations have been founded along the banks of river systems. Man, along with all other wildlife, is dependent on the fresh, free-flowing waters of the river for sustenance, with the very first cities established parallel to the river’s path toward the sea.
Upon the Riverbanks, Hanford Reach
The triumvirate of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland is one such place. Built upon the confluence of three river tributaries, the Tri-Cities of Washington State, known for its flat, barren landscape is breathtaking in its desolation.
The austere landscape that characterizes Tri-Cities belies a wilderness that is home to a rich diversity of animals and plants, all seeking sustenance from the river.
The Hanford Reach is a section of the Columbia River that crosses the Tri-Cities region. In its path lies one of Washington State’s last bastions of unspoiled wilderness, which provides safe passage for migratory birds, and safe homes for many kinds of wildlife.
The Hanford Reach in the Tri-Cities is the last remaining section of the Columbia River that has not been dammed; the waters run free throughout its entire length. The unbridled, untouched waters of the Hanford Reach are home to a healthy population of aquatic life that has sustained both humans and animals for thousands of years.
The waters of Hanford Reach carry some of the healthiest populations of trout, carp, bass, and other freshwater fish. The Hanford Reach of the Columbia River is also one of the last stretches of river where the pacific salmon can swim freely, without any risk from man-made dams and polluted waters.
By the River’s Rise and Fall, Hanford Reach
Because of the crucial role of the Hanford Reach in sustaining the wildlife of the surrounding areas, the Hanford Reach of the Tri-Cities has been declared a state-protected area, together with all the lands that encompass its fifty-mile stretch.
The residents of the nearby Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland are part and parcel of the ecosystem of the Hanford Reach. In fact, they have the biggest role to play in the future of this magnificent environment.
Man’s destiny has always been parallel to the river’s run. Across the centuries, we have created homes along the river banks, and have survived and flourished. The irony is that while the river has faithfully sustained us through our collective history’s ups and downs, we have been the river’s greatest threat, contaminating its waters and suffocating the lives of those who live in it.
The Tri-Cities residents live along one of the world’s last unspoiled river runs. How long that will remain depends on how long we want it to stay that way. We have become so in control of our environment that we can dictate what happens to it.
But no matter how powerful we become, we are still dependent on the graces of nature, and we are totally helpless without it. The cycle of life at Hanford Reach involves an interdependence among all living things, and by the rise and fall of the river, so too shall we rise and fall.
Related Resources for Along the River's Path:
- Land of Three Rivers
- Kennewick's Rivers
- The Columbia River
- The Snake River
- River Recreation
- Port of Pasco
- Richland Steelhead Fishing
- Kennewick Water Follies
- Hydroplane Races
- Naturalist's Paradise