The beauty of the Pacific Northwest has been well documented since Lewis and Clark cruised down the great Columbia River on their way to the Pacific. Rolling grasslands, deep gorges and the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range tell a dynamic story of the geologic development of this region’s ancient past.
To learn more about the area’s geological history travel 230-miles east from Portland through the Basin to The REACH Museum in Richland, Washington. Their large displays and interactive exhibits take visitors on a journey back in time over two million years ago to the moment when a cataclysmic flood washed over the land and created the Great Columbian Basin.
Gallery One is filled with large displays and interactive exhibits that do a great job explaining how an ancient melting glacier broke through an ice dam, flooding 258,000 square miles from Canada’s Yukon to northern Nevada in the Great Missoula Floods.
A second gallery provides a comprehensive overview of the Hanford Engineering Works and it’s sometimes-controversial relationship with the Columbia River. While the bulk of the exhibits focus on the facility’s wartime activity, there are a few annexes within the gallery that go into Hanford’s second life as a center for nuclear production during the Cold War and the clean up efforts now taking place.
A smaller gallery hosting rotating exhibits focuses on smaller pieces of the Columbia Basin’s story. When I visited information and artifacts from the Pasco Naval Air Station, the wartime airport that serviced Hanford, were on display.
Next time you’re traveling east take a trip back to the region’s recent and ancient past at The REACH Museum in Richland, Washington for insight into the amazing geological history of the Columbia Basin.
Tuesday thru Saturday – 10am to 4:30pm
Sunday – 12pm to 4:30pm
1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352/(509) 943-4100
Students 6-18 & Seniors 65+ $6
Kids 5 and under free
REACH Members FREE