When driving on Hwy 101 N. after crossing the Astoria Megler Bridge or from Highway 4, you find yourself driving up the most spectacular piece of highway bordering the Columbia River heading northwest towards Long Beach, Washington. You will encounter Fort Columbia State Park, 2 miles west of the bridge, right after you drive through the tunnel. Lots of people miss the grand entrance to this park. This beautiful photo that I found on Flickr is of the restored Officer’s Quarters at Fort Columbia.
Fort Columbia State Park is almost 600 acres of historical parkland with 6,400 feet of freshwater shoreline right on the Columbia River. As State Parks puts it, “The park celebrates a military site that constituted the harbor defense of the Columbia River from 1896 to 1947. The fort was fully manned and operational through three wars. The area was also home for the Chinook Indians and their famed Chief Comcomly.” It was chosen as a key military defense site because of the unobstructed views of the Columbia River. The town of Astoria, Oregon glimmers across the expanse of water. There is an interpretive center, five mile of hiking trails and picnic tables… This is a great spot for a wedding or family reunion or a quiet time for exploring and imagining the time when the mighty Chinook Indians lived on the land.
The State of Washington currently plans to close around 25% of their state parks. They plan to “mothball” Fort Columbia because it is one of the lowest income producing parks in the system. Mothballing means that the gates will be chained and the park closed. This is a tragedy for the State of Washington, for our visitors and for the residents who love this park. The historic significance of Fort Columbia is important–and the vista’s from the park are simply beautiful. Perhaps there will be a reprieve. When you come stay at Boreas Inn, you should visit Fort Columbia and revel in it’s beauty and hike on it’s trails. You will never forget it!