Western Rivers Conservancy purchased one of the last three privately owned properties on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River in 1996. The Hanford Reach is the last non-tidal, free-flowing segment of the Columbia in the United States. The Hanford Reach provides critical spawning beds for fall Chinook salmon as well as migratory habitat for listed spring Chinook and steelhead.
When 78 acres of privately owned land came on the market, Western Rivers Conservancy responded quickly to protect endangered salmon and steelhead habitat. The lands are now owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Photo credits: Josh Kling, Mat Millenbach
The Columbia, Hanford Reach property is about 40 miles northwest of Richland, Washington. The turn from Washington Highway 243 is easy to recognize – you will see a paved road heading north to some low farm buildings. Take the opposite dirt road heading south and you will be on the property, where a network of dirt roads make vehicle access easy.
The 78 acre parcel sits between a State highway and the Columbia River, providing convenient access to the river for a great many recreational activities, the most popular of which is recreational fishing in the Columbia River. The river features fall chinook salmon, steelhead, and small mouth bass. It is also a good place to observe birds such as sandhill cranes, white pelicans, trumpeter swans, and loons.
Take care not not drive or walk on the gravel bars in the river, because Chinook salmon use the river bottom gravels for spawning.
The property is managed by the Bureau of Reclamation, Ephrata Field Office, 32 C St. NW, Ephrata, WA 98823-0815. The phone number is 509-754-0215.