Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lost Coast of Douglas County


Alluvial fan building into Columbia River below Bigelow Springs

Lost Coast is a term applied to a section of the northern California coast where steep terrain and other factors have precluded road building and development. Washington State has numerous areas that the term lost coast could be applied, including areas in Eastern Washington. One of my favorites is the Lost Coast of Douglas County. 

Douglas County is bounded on the north and west by the Columbia River as the river flows through its big bend turning south from its westward flow when it erodes into the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. The river along this stretch is incised into a deep steep valley. The Lost Coast of Douglas County can be viewed from the Chelan County side of the river. 

The Douglas County side of the river is rugged rocky terrain with steep slopes rising up 2,000 feet to the Waterville Plateau.    

Alluvial fan at the mouth of Hendricks Draw

This area of the Columbia River valley has been glaciated. The Okanogan Ice Lobe covered the northern part of the Waterville Plateau and also extended down the Columbia River valley. This ice lob blocked the river forming a large lake up the river to the east.

Cliffs and rocky terrain of rising above the Columbia River

I bit further north glacial terraces and moraines and huge glacial erractics scatted across the landscape.

The Douglas County lost coast is not entirely undeveloped and roadless. A few jeep trails and dirt roads partially penetrate the area. The land ownership consists of a couple of very large ranch holdings, some BLM land, Washington State Trust Land managed by the DNR, and some areas of Washington State Fish and Wildlife land. The southern part, on the upper slopes, has been partially divided into rural home lots with some improved roads, but is far from being built out. It should be noted that the area is very susceptible to wildfire.  

1 comment:

susan said...

That's my very favorite alluvial fan!