Historic Highway scene
August 2011
 In This Issue:
~Get your History Fix


~Taking Back the Views


~Trail Construction Looms


~A Big "Hoo Hah" for Art Carroll


~Old Cars on the Old Road

~Friends of the Historic Highway Update













The Historic Columbia River Highway News is your source for updates and information regarding efforts to remember, restore and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail--A world class adventure from Portland to The Dalles.  

   Historic View of Vista House 

 "An observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite."


Sam Lancaster describing the outcropping where Vista House is located today.  

Get Involved in the Preservation of the

Historic Columbia River Highway


Join us at the next Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee meeting on September 8, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Corbett Fire Station at 36930 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR. 

Highlights of the meeting will include....

  • Angie Brewer, planner for the Gorge Commission, will provide the committee with an overview of the Vital Indicators Project and how this work relates to Historic Highway
  • Sandra Koike, ODOT, will provide and update on the Viewshed Management Plan
  • Chris Collins from the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership will share efforts to restore Oneonta and Horsetail Creeks
  • Trail construction updates

The full agenda can be viewed here.

For more information on the Advisory Committee, click here  

To learn more, check out the Milepost 2016 Reconnection Strategy here or watch a 9-minute video about this project here


The minutes from the June 2011 meeting are available here

 Get Your History "Fix"


As part of the Oregon Encyclopedia project, Robert Hadlow, George Fekaris and David Sell will present at McMenamins Edgefield Power Station Theater on Tuesday, October 25, at old comic6:30 pm. The presentation includes historic photos and the full history of the historic highway, including its destruction during construction of Interstate 84 and the restoration and reconnection work that has occurred since the highway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

 Taking Back the Views

 As America's first scenic highway,  winding its way through our nation's only National Scenic Area, the views of the awesome scenery from Historic Columbia River Highway are worthy of protection. As years pass, our view  of  the "beauty spots" (Samuel Lancaster's term) are being impaired by fast growing vegetation, mainly dense undergrowth (blackberries , native shrubs, saplings) and some larger deciduous trees (Big Leaf Maples) growing in conspicuous places along the road. Views to the Columbia River, geologic features such as Beacon Rock, and an array of waterfalls are obscured by these trees and shrubs. Visitors to a popular viewpoint at Portland Women's Forum are forced to climb up onto the stone walls to capture the perfect shot of Vista House with the magnificent Gorge as a backdrop. 


Viewshed high
Simulations of current and proposed conditions near Crown Point.

Last winter the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee put Viewshed Management at the top of their project priority list. Over the past several months, a team of representatives from Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Department of Transportation, and US Forest Service, led by Sandra Koike has been scoping out views along the highway. The project prioritizes the six most important views in need of vegetation management and assesses the impacts to natural and cultural resources. The plan provides a guide for ODOT, OPRD, and USFS on how to sensitively restore key views along the Historic Highway. The next steps include working Multnomah County to obtain a National Scenic Area permit to complete the projects and garnering public support. ODOT is also looking for grants to supplement funding for viewshed enhancement as much of the work goes beyond ordinary maintenance.




New Trail Construction Looms 

JB Yeon Trail Tour 


Once construction is complete hikers and bikers will no longer be forced to shoulder of I-84 between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. Just imagine, soon you can safely ride your bike from Cascade Locks to Multnomah Falls avoiding I-84 completely. Check out the project web site here

On Friday August 12th, a contingent of the HCRH Advisory Committee members and the Friends of the Historic Highway hiked the proposed trail alignment between Moffett Creek and John B. Yeon State Park. The construction phase is fully funded, thanks to the Public Lands Highway Discretionary Program (PLHD).  This 1.6 mile section of the trail will be going out to bid this fall and construction will be underway late winter/early spring 2012. The PLHD Program  provides funding for transportation planning, research, and engineering and construction of projects on federal land.

A Big "Hoo Hah" for Art Carroll

The Historic Columbia River Highway gave Art Carroll a big "Hoo Hah" for his dedication and commitment to the restoration and reconnection of the Historic Highway. Art served on the Advisory Committee since 2004 as the Governor's nominee from Hood River County. His experience, knowledge and passion for the Gorge, in particular, his in-depth understanding of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Management Plan has been instrumental in many recent projects. Art is always eager to get in the field and "make things happen".

 Art Carroll Checking Slope

In recent years, he spearheaded the restoration of the Chenoweth Pit. This was an unsightly gravel pit popular for target shooting, located just west of The Dalles at the doorstep to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. Under Art's leadership the shooting has ceased and the site has been restored and is essentially indistinguishable from the surrounding landscape. Art, with help of his fellow Advisory Committee members, scouted out the 10 miles of proposed trail that is now detailed in the State Trail Plan. When he discovered pavement, he was sure to let out a big "Hoo Hah".


Art's term may be up, but his dedication to the Committee will continue. He has agreed to continue to participate as an "Advisor Emeritus" and official moss kicker. We look forward to working with him as we remember, restore and reconnect the Historic Highway.   

Old Cars on the Old Road

On July 27, 2011, more than ninety pre-1916 cars descended on the Historic Highway. There were Cadillacs, Buicks, Ford Model T's and at least one Overland, a REO, a White, a Simplex, and possibly a Locomobile. It was a beautiful day and the cars looked right at home on the old road. The Horseless Carriage Club has been visiting the Gorge every twenty years since 1971. Charming is a great word to describe the scene at Vista House as the parking lot filled with these beautiful cars. With the drivers and passengers decked out in their finest period clothes, it was a treat to witness. 


As the convoy made its way past Multnomah Falls, the toot of the horns and the smell of exhaust delighted visitors taking in the beauty of  

old cars

the falls. The Oneonta Tunnel once again was opened to four-wheeled vehicles for this special event. Plan ahead and mark your calendars for the next Horseless Carriage Club event in July 2031, a day not to be missed on the Historic Highway. 

Friends of the Historic Highway Hit the Road

 Gorge Ride Logo

This year, 449 riders participated in the Gorge Ride raising over $10,000 for the Friends of the Historic Highway.  The sixth annual Gorge Ride will be June 16, 2012.


Additionally, The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway is now a "Charity of Choice" for participants in the Echelon Gran Fondo Hood River Bike Ride for charity on September 24, 2011 click here for more information. 


Lindsey Creek State Park Walking Tour


25th anniversaryOn a perfectly clear summer day in the Gorge, the advisory committee members, Multnomah County commissioner, Diane McKeel, past Gorge Commissioners and those passionate about the HCRH joined Kristen Stallman, ODOT Scenic Area Coordinator on a tour to a section of the moss covered Historic Highway at Lindsey Creek State Park. We climbed a short, steep, gravel road owned by the Bonneville Power Administration and entered into the forest where the trees were towering over 50 feet over head. Kristen's infectious enthusiasm for the future state trail project echoed through the forest and affected all those that followed behind in her footsteps. We visualized what the experience must have been like driving on the HCRH 80 years ago when the road was newly built. With Kristen's help, we saw remanants of old pull-outs and significant trailheads that we would have otherwise missed. We were all eager to see the terminus of the trail, which was marked by a distant opening in the forest. When we arrived at one of the several grand vistas, the wind from the lookout was strong, but the heat of the sun and the blue reflection of the river and sky made the climb worthwhile.

Your Thoughts

Tell us what you think of this update.  What would you like to see in future issues? 


Email Kristen
Share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues by clicking on the Forward email link below.  Please email Kristen if you want to be added to the mailing list. Names are not shared. 
Contact Info
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
ODOT Region 1