Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Plankhouse - Ridgefield NWR Friends_512x219

Built by more than 100 volunteers over the course of two years, this modern full-scale Chinookan plankhouse was built based on findings from the archaeological village site of Cathlapotle. The Plankhouse and the objects inside of it offer a tangible link to those who lived there and provide a unique site for the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage preserved on the Refuge. 

The US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge partner with the Chinook Indian Nation to offer an accurate representation of Chinookan culture both past and present inside the Plankhouse.

  • Visit

    Plankhouse programming is currently postponed until further notice. Visitors can still experience the exterior and learn about the Plankhouse by walking the Oaks to Wetlands Trail. You can also learn more about the Cathlapotle Plankhouse on this site and through the Friends of Ridgefield NWR

    **Please remember that the House is a very important part of current Tribal life and culture. Climbing on the house roof or other activities that cause damage to the structure in anyway are strictly prohibited and extremely disrespectful**

  • History

    The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a full-scale Chinookan Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It was built based on archaeological evidence from the Cathlapotle archaeological site located on the refuge property. This archaeological site is what remains of the town of Cathlapotle, a Chinookan town encountered by Lewis and Clark on their expedition.

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  • Additional Information

    The Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is the not-for-profit group that supports the Refuge in many ways including Plankhouse programming.  Workshops, lectures, demonstrations, hands-on student experiences, and cultural events interpret and emphasizes the tangible connection between environment and people. Find out more about the Friends, these programs and sources for additional cultural information on their website.

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