Recreation - Plankhouse & Cultural Resources
Along the Oaks to Wetlands Trail of the Carty Unit, see the cedar Cathlapotle Plankhouse. Archaeological evidence, historic documents, and the Lewis and Clark journals suggest that the plankhouses of the lower Columbia River were magnificant structures, standing for hundreds of years. In 2005 the Refuge, its partners, and volunteers united to construct a replica Plankhouse to interpret, educate, and recover the natural and cultural hertiage of the Refuge. The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is generally staffed on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 pm during the summer. Arrangements can be scheduled for group and educational tours throughout the year. Please visit www.plankhouse.org for a scheduled hours of operation and other special events.
Cathlapotle - Ancient Village on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Many years before Europeans arrived to the lower Columbia River, the area's rich natural resources such as those found on present day Ridgefield NWR had been sustaining people for thousands of years. Over the last decade, archaeological research on the Refuge - conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Chinook Tribe and Portland State University - revealed fascinating information about the area's ancient environment and the importance of the plants and animals to the native people. Scientists uncovered the remains of a large ancient village bearing testimony to an enduring and intimate relationship between people and the land.
Explorers Lewis & Clark documented the village of Cathalpotle
(Cath-la-poo-tuhl or Cath-la-poe-tuhl) in their journals while on
their way to the Pacific Ocean on November 5, 1805. They counted
14 cedar plankhouses belonging to the people of the "Quathlapotle
nation" and estimated some 900 inhabitants. From the shore,
seven canoes of Indians from the village paddled out to inspect
the strangers and trade with them. Returning in March 1806, Lewis
and Clark stopped again at Cathlapotle for several hours.
Follow these links to learn more about recreation opportunities on the Refuge: