Journey on the Cowlitz

By The Chronicle & SeeSouthwestWA.com

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Patty Dills, who owns Cascade Peaks Campground with her husband, Fred, points to a map of where the Cowlitz River has eroded away at their property on Saturday afternoon east of Randle.

Cozy Camping at Cascade Peaks on U.S. Highway 12

Facilities: Park Along the Cowlitz Offers Freedom and Ease

Patty and Fred Dills

Patty and Fred Dills

Cascade Peaks Family Campground gives people an opportunity to take in the slow pace of the wilderness.

The owners, Fred and Patty Dills, are a kindly couple in their 70s, who rather than rest on their laurels in their twilight years, decided to purchase the 83-acre RV resort about three years ago and turn it into a true campground. Even though they could have relaxed in their later years, buying a campground was a longtime dream for Patty.Read More

Victor Khvoroff stands amongst wooden debris that floodwaters from the Cowlitz River has deposited onto his ranch.

Cowlitz River Continues to Wander, Causing a Rancher Woes

“ … I don’t want the money, I want the dirt. It’s more valuable to me than money. I would build a critter pad for the floods … ”

Victor Khvoroff stands amongst wooden debris that floodwaters from the Cowlitz River has deposited onto his ranch.

Victor Khvoroff stands amongst wooden debris that floodwaters from the Cowlitz River has deposited onto his ranch.

Nothing along to the Cowlitz River is safe from the water’s corrosive tendencies, and few people know that as well as Victor Khvoroff.

Khvoroff’s land sits on what are called government lots, meaning that as the river moves, the boundaries of his property changes, unlike those of surveyed lots which are static no matter what a waterway may do.Read More

Dena Niemi, of Glenoma, left, and her friend, Kim LaFrance, of Mineral, were planning on going paddle boarding on Riffe Lake on Tuesday evening, but their plans were altered because of the choppiness of the water. Instead the pair set out lawn chairs and enjoyed the sunset.

Journey on the Cowlitz: From Randle to Riffe

Monday, June 8: Randle to Scanewa Is Hot, Flat, Beautiful and Tiresome

Editor’s Note: Reporter Dameon Pesanti and Visuals Editor Pete Caster are traveling from the headwaters of the Cowlitz River to its confluence with the Columbia River in Longview. Follow their journey online on Twitter (@JourneyCowlitz) and Instagram (journey_on_the_cowlitz).

Damean takes a break from rowing on Monday afternoon to check his phone for service while outside of Randle. Monday's hot weather mixed with the river current slowing to a near halt and a nasty headwind made for a tough day on the river.

Damean takes a break from rowing on Monday afternoon to check his phone for service while outside of Randle. Monday’s hot weather mixed with the river current slowing to a near halt and a nasty headwind made for a tough day on the river.

Read More
Cowlitz Falls Dam is seen on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cowlitz Falls Dam: Low Flows, High Fish Counts

Near-Record Numbers: Lewis County PUD’s Cowlitz Facility Generates a Third of Power Used by Customers

Project manager of the Cowlitz Falls Dam, Joe First, shows the blueprint for the project. The dam became operational in 1994 and supplies about 30 percent of Lewis County PUD's power.

Project manager of the Cowlitz Falls Dam, Joe First, shows the blueprint for the project. The dam became operational in 1994 and supplies about 30 percent of Lewis County PUD’s power.

COWLITZ RIVER — There’s a fine balance to the work being done at the Cowlitz Falls Dam.

The facility, owned by the Lewis County Public Utilities District, generates enough electricity for 30 percent of the county’s PUD customers while also striving to help salmon recovery efforts through a number of partnerships.Read More

USGS hydrologic techinicians Tom McKenna, left, and  Dan Restivo, collect information on the water flow of the Cowlitz River below the Cowlitz Falls Dam on Tuesday morning.

USGS Measurements Help Inform on Cowlitz River Flows

On the River: Information Used for a Broad Array of Applications

USGS hydrologic techinicians Tom McKenna, left, and  Dan Restivo, collect information on the water flow of the Cowlitz River below the Cowlitz Falls Dam on Tuesday morning.

USGS hydrologic techinicians Tom McKenna, left, and Dan Restivo, collect information on the water flow of the Cowlitz River below the Cowlitz Falls Dam on Tuesday morning.

COWLITZ RIVER — About a quarter of a mile below the Lewis County Public Utility District’s Cowlitz Falls Dam, three workers from the U.S. Geological Survey slowly comb from one side of Riffe Lake to the other, blanketing the water with sound.… Read More

Scanned photo 1

Underwater Towns of the Cowlitz River

Beneath Riffe Lake: Several Formerly Thriving Communities Are Now Submerged Memories

Scanned photo 1Underneath the waters of Lewis County’s largest lake lie the former townsites of Kosmos, Nesika and Riffe, the town that gave the lake its name (although it took a few years. More on that later).

For the better part of the 20th century, until construction of the new direct highway between Mossyrock and Randle in the 1960s, the town of Riffe was the crossroad between Mossyrock, Morton and the Big Bottom country of the upper Cowlitz. Read More

Boats are moored in the marina of the Mayfield Lake Resort on Thursday afternoon near Silver Creek.

Lake Mayfield Resort Offers Ample Opportunities in a Small Space

Oasis: The Resort Near Mayfield Dam Accommodates Gatherings and Boaters Alike

Diane Harris, of Chehalis, takes a picture of a Tiger Muskie hiding underneath the bow of a moored boat at the Mayfield Resort on Thursday afternoon.

Diane Harris, of Chehalis, takes a picture of a Tiger Muskie hiding underneath the bow of a moored boat at the Mayfield Resort on Thursday afternoon.

During a long career as a globe-trotting helicopter pilot, Dannie Richardson stayed at a lot of RV Parks.

He liked them so much, he thought it would be fun to own one himself. Now, a little more than a year after officially retiring, and about four years into owning the Lake Mayfield Resort and Marina, he’s just as busy as ever.Read More

A Great Blue Heron takes flight from a stump along the Cowlitz River in the gorge below the Mossyrock Dam on Thursday afternoon.

Journey on the Cowlitz: A River Tamed, But With a Wild Spirit

Thursday and Friday, June 11-12: Below Mossyrock Dam Is a Canyon So Stunning

Editor’s Note: Reporter Dameon Pesanti and Visuals Editor Pete Caster are traveling from the headwaters of the Cowlitz River to its confluence with the Columbia River in Longview. They reached the Barrier Dam near Salkum Friday, and will continue their trip beginning Monday. They are also posting regularly to Twitter (@JourneyCowlitz) and Instagram (journey_on_the_cowlitz).

Dameon checks his phone while we were being towed across Riffe Lake on Wednesday morning.

Dameon checks his phone while we were being towed across Riffe Lake on Wednesday morning.

Read More
Larry Burnett, Cowlitz River Project Manager points to a crane atop the Mossyrock Dam during a tour on Thursday morning.

Mossyrock Dam Upgrading, Still With Room to Grow

Electric: Tacoma Power Dams Produce Enough Energy to Power More Than 135,000 Homes

The front of Mossyrock Dam is seen on Thursday morning

The front of Mossyrock Dam is seen on Thursday morning

The city of Tacoma relies on hydroelectricity for more than half of its power supply. Of its four projects, none produce more electricity than those on the Cowlitz River.

The Mayfield and the Mossyrock dams produce enough power for more than 135,000 Pacific Northwest homes. The two dams work in synchronicity to ensure the right amounts of water are moving through the system to keep power production and water levels where they’re supposed to be.Read More

One of the former Mayfield bridges is seen in this photograph from the early 1900s.

Remembering Mayfield, the Town Beneath the Lake

In the Deep: Before the Lake, Area Was Home to Ghosn’s Blackberry Packing Plant and the Churning ‘Devil’s Eyebrow’ Gorge

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part series on the drowned towns of the Cowlitz River. See Part One at here.

One of the former Mayfield bridges is seen in this photograph from the early 1900s.

One of the former Mayfield bridges is seen in this photograph from the early 1900s.

Nearly 200 feet below the surface of Mayfield Lake, the contours of canyons and remnants of old towns trace the lines of memory for the former residents of this now-flooded region of the Cowlitz.Read More

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