The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, it flows northwest and south into the US state of Washington turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles long, its largest tributary is the Snake River, its drainage basin is the size of France and extends into seven US states and a Canadian province. The fourth-largest river in the United States by volume, the Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific; the Columbia and its tributaries have been central to the region's culture and economy for thousands of years. They have been used for transportation since ancient times, linking the region's many cultural groups; the river system hosts many species of anadromous fish, which migrate between freshwater habitats and the saline waters of the Pacific Ocean. These fish—especially the salmon species—provided the core subsistence for native peoples.
In the late 18th century, a private American ship became the first non-indigenous vessel to enter the river. In the following decades, fur trading companies used the Columbia as a key transportation route. Overland explorers entered the Willamette Valley through the scenic but treacherous Columbia River Gorge, pioneers began to settle the valley in increasing numbers. Steamships along the river linked facilitated trade. Since the late 19th century and private sectors have developed the river. To aid ship and barge navigation, locks have been built along the lower Columbia and its tributaries, dredging has opened and enlarged shipping channels. Since the early 20th century, dams have been built across the river for power generation, navigation and flood control; the 14 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia's main stem and many more on its tributaries produce more than 44 percent of total US hydroelectric generation. Production of nuclear power has taken place at two sites along the river. Plutonium for nuclear weapons was produced for decades at the Hanford Site, now the most contaminated nuclear site in the US.
These developments have altered river environments in the watershed through industrial pollution and barriers to fish migration. The Columbia begins its 1,243-mile journey in the southern Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia. Columbia Lake – 2,690 feet above sea level – and the adjoining Columbia Wetlands form the river's headwaters; the trench is a broad and long glacial valley between the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains in BC. For its first 200 miles, the Columbia flows northwest along the trench through Windermere Lake and the town of Invermere, a region known in British Columbia as the Columbia Valley northwest to Golden and into Kinbasket Lake. Rounding the northern end of the Selkirk Mountains, the river turns south through a region known as the Big Bend Country, passing through Revelstoke Lake and the Arrow Lakes. Revelstoke, the Big Bend, the Columbia Valley combined are referred to in BC parlance as the Columbia Country. Below the Arrow Lakes, the Columbia passes the cities of Castlegar, located at the Columbia's confluence with the Kootenay River, Trail, two major population centers of the West Kootenay region.
The Pend Oreille River joins the Columbia about 2 miles north of the US–Canada border. The Columbia enters eastern Washington flowing south and turning to the west at the Spokane River confluence, it marks the southern and eastern borders of the Colville Indian Reservation and the western border of the Spokane Indian Reservation. The river turns south after the Okanogan River confluence southeasterly near the confluence with the Wenatchee River in central Washington; this C‑shaped segment of the river is known as the "Big Bend". During the Missoula Floods 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, much of the floodwater took a more direct route south, forming the ancient river bed known as the Grand Coulee. After the floods, the river found its present course, the Grand Coulee was left dry; the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the mid-20th century impounded the river, forming Lake Roosevelt, from which water was pumped into the dry coulee, forming the reservoir of Banks Lake. The river flows past The Gorge Amphitheatre, a prominent concert venue in the Northwest through Priest Rapids Dam, through the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Within the reservation is Hanford Reach, the only US stretch of the river, free-flowing, unimpeded by dams and not a tidal estuary. The Snake River and Yakima River join the Columbia in the Tri‑Cities population center; the Columbia makes a sharp bend to the west at the Washington–Oregon border. The river defines that border for the final 309 miles of its journey; the Deschutes River joins the Columbia near The Dalles. Between The Dalles and Portland, the river cuts through the Cascade Range, forming the dramatic Columbia River Gorge. No other rivers except for the Klamath and Pit River breaches the Cascades—the other rivers that flow through the range originate in or near the mountains; the headwaters and upper course of the Pit River are on the Modoc Plateau. In contrast, the Columbia cuts through the range nearly a thousand miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains; the gorge is known
Washington State Route 397
State Route 397 is a state highway in the U. S. state of Washington, serving the Tri-Cities region. It functions as a truck route through industrial areas in Finley and Pasco, running 22 miles between junctions with Interstate 82 and I-182; the highway crosses the Columbia River on the Cable Bridge, built in 1978 to replace an earlier bridge. SR 397 was added to the state highway system as a short route connecting Finley to Pasco. Two years the highway was extended further south into Finley; the remaining highway between I-82 and Finley in the Horse Heaven Hills was constructed by the state government and Benton County from 2004 to 2008 and was signed as part of SR 397 in 2009. SR 397 begins at an interchange with I-82 and U. S. Route 395 in the Horse Heaven Hills southwest of Kennewick; the highway runs east along the barren top of the ridge, arcing to the north, crossing several canyons and gulleys, traveling through several cuts in the hills. The road takes a turn north at Nine Canyon. SR 397 turns east to cross an irrigation canal and a section of the Fallbridge Subdivision railroad operated by the BNSF Railway, which carries Amtrak's Empire Builder service.
After passing several chemical plants and industrial facilities on the west bank of the Columbia River, the highway turns northwest onto Chemical Road and follows the railroad into Kennewick. The highway skirts the east side of downtown Kennewick, running along Gum Street through an industrial park on the north side of the railroad, its main connection to downtown Kennewick is Columbia Drive, which continues west to Clover Island and the junction of US 395 and SR 240 near Columbia Park. SR 397 crosses the Columbia River on the Cable Bridge, the first modern cable-stayed bridge to be constructed in the United States; the bridge's north end is in Pasco, where SR 397 turns east on Ainsworth Street and crosses over the BNSF Lakeside Subdivision before continuing north. The highway travels around the south and east edges of downtown Pasco on Oregon Avenue, serving the Port of Pasco industrial area and the east side of a railyard and the city's Amtrak station. SR 397 makes a gradual turn to the northeast before terminating at a cloverleaf interchange with I-182, US 12, US 395 near the Tri-Cities Airport.
SR 397 is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation, which conducts an annual survey on the state's highways to measure traffic volume in terms of average annual daily traffic. The highway's daily vehicle counts range from a minimum of 760 vehicles in Nine Canyon to a maximum of 18,000 on the north side of the Cable Bridge; the Cable Bridge, which carries SR 397 across the Columbia River, was opened on September 16, 1978, built using $30 million in federal and city funding. It replaced the "Green Bridge", built in 1922 and carried a section of the Inland Empire Highway until the opening of the Blue Bridge in 1954. Chemical Road was built in the late 1950s to serve a number of new industrial facilities in Finley, following the general path of the Spokane and Seattle Railway towards Kennewick; the county government had considered paving nearby roads as early as the 1910s. The county government constructed a $82,000 railroad overpass and several realigned sections of Chemical Road that were completed in 1965.
The state legislature designated a state highway on Chemical Road and the Cable Bridge in 1991, numbering it SR 397. The road and bridge were transferred to state control in April 1992 terminating at Game Farm Road in central Finley. SR 397 was extended south by one mile to Piert Road in 1993. An east–west road connecting Finley to I-82 in southern Benton County was first proposed by the county government in 1966 to allow truck traffic to bypass the Tri-Cities; the 10-mile highway, named the "intertie", was built with 12-foot lanes and 6-foot shoulders to accommodate truck traffic. The $15.4 million project was funded using a $5 million allocation from the legislature's 2003–05 transportation budget, as well as $4.3 million from the state gas tax, $3.7 million from Benton County, additional funds from the Port of Kennewick and the federal government. The first phase, a 3.24-mile section between I-82 and Olympia Street, began construction in March 2004 and was completed in October. The second phase, extending to Finley Road on the south side of Nine Canyon, began construction in 2005 and was completed in November 2006.
The final phase, connecting to SR 397 in Finley via a railroad overpass, was completed on October 8, 2008. The highway was signed as a county route until it was transferred to the state by a legislative action in 2009 extended SR 397 to the Locust Road interchange. Highways of Washington State
U.S. Route 12 in Washington
U. S. Route 12 is a major east-west U. S. Highway, running from Aberdeen, Washington, to Detroit, Michigan, it spans 430.80 miles across the state of Washington, is the only numbered highway to span the entire state from west to east, starting near the Pacific Ocean, crossing the Idaho state line near Clarkston. It crosses the Cascade Range over White Pass, south of Mount Rainier National Park. Portions of it are concurrent with Interstate 5 and Interstate 82, although the majority of the route does not parallel any Interstate Highway. Although US 12 was not extended into Washington until 1967, portions of it have been part of Washington's state highway system since as early as 1905; the last part of the highway to open was over White Pass in 1951, although it was added to the state highway system by the legislature in 1931. Most of the route had been part of the U. S. Highway System since its inception in 1926 as part of U. S. Route 410; the portion between Napavine and Grand Mound was designated a U.
S. Highway in 1926 as part of U. S. Route 99. U. S. Route 12 begins in Aberdeen on a pair of one-way streets, Heron Street eastbound and Wishkah Street westbound. At its western terminus, US 12 intersects US 101, which goes west along Heron and Wishkah, south across Grays Harbor to the south side of Aberdeen; the eastbound and westbound lanes of US 12 merge just east of the Wishkah River, near the Grays Harbor Historic Seaport. US 12 leaves Aberdeen to the east along the Chehalis River, where it passes through the towns of Central Park and Montesano. Between Aberdeen and Elma, US 12 is four lanes wide; the majority of the highway in Washington, however, is a rural two-lane road. In the town of Elma, US 12 exits the highway at a diamond interchange. From there, the main highway continues east to Olympia as State Route 8, US 12 heads southeast towards Oakville and Rochester. East of Oakville, US 12 runs north of the Chehalis Indian Reservation, it continues east through the town of Rochester, interchanges with I-5 at exit 88 in the town of Grand Mound.
US 12 continues south concurrent with I-5 through Chehalis and Centralia before exiting again at exit 68 south of Napavine. The highway heads east along the Cowlitz River and passes through the town of Mossyrock, where it intersects SR 122. East of Mossyrock, US 12 runs just north of Riffe Lake. In the town of Morton, it intersects SR 7, it ascends the Cascade Range, passing south of Mount Rainier, intersects SR 123, which serves the Stevens Canyon entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Twelve miles east of this intersection, US 12 crosses the Cascades over White Pass at an elevation of 4,500 feet. White Pass is the only crossing of the Cascades open year-round between I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass and SR 14 through the Columbia River Gorge. After it descends the mountains, US 12 intersects SR 410 west of Naches, which serves Chinook Pass, Cayuse Pass, the White River entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. East of Naches, US 12 widens once again to four lanes. There, it has an interchange with I-82 and US 97 at exit 31.
US 12 runs concurrently with I-82, bypassing the towns of Toppenish and Prosser and paralleling the Yakima River, until exit 102 near the Tri-Cities. At exit 102, it meets the western terminus of Interstate 182. US 12 and I-182 run concurrently east over Goose Gap and through the Tri-Cities. In Pasco, I-182 ends, US 12 intersects US 395. US 12 heads south to the town of Wallula, intersecting US 730 east to Walla Walla, north to Dodge, east to Clarkston before crossing the Idaho state line over the Snake River just outside Lewiston. US 12 through Walla Walla consists of a four-lane bypass known as Inland Empire Highway; the alignment of US 12 through Walla Walla County passes by a number of historical landmarks, such as Whitman Mission and Fort Walla Walla. The Washington State Legislature created the State Highway Board in 1905 and appropriated funds to construct—but not maintain—twelve highways in sparsely settled areas of the state. Main highways in more populated areas would continue to be under county control, though sometimes built with 50% state aid.
Six of these highways were east-west crossings of the Cascades, including one in the corridor served by U. S. Route 12—State Road 5, the Cowlitz Pass State Road, climbing east from a point near Salkum via the Cowlitz River, over Cowlitz Pass, down towards Yakima. A 1907 amendment renamed State Road 5 the Cowlitz-Natches Road, moved the Cascade crossing north to Carlton Pass, defined the portion east of the pass to follow the Bumping River and Naches River to a point near Naches. East of the mouth of the American River, this replaced part of State Road 1, defined in 1897 to cross the Cascades north of Chinook Pass and included in the 1905 appropriations. Under a 1909 law, the State Highway Board surveyed a connected network of proposed state roads. Included was a westerly extension of SR 5 via Chehalis to South Bend and Aberdeen and an easterly extension to Pullman. A route from Yakima southeast and east via the Tri-Cities to Idaho was surveyed as an extension of State Road 8; the legislature added most of these routes to the state highway system in 1913, when they formed a two-tiered system of primary and secondary roads.
Primary roads were controlled by the state, including maintenance, received only names, while secondary roads kept their numbers and county maintenance. The National Park Highway replaced State Road 5 w
Hanford Reach National Monument
The Hanford Reach National Monument is a national monument in the U. S. state of Washington. It was created in 2000 from the former security buffer surrounding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation; the area has been untouched by development or agriculture since 1943. Because of that it is considered an involuntary park; the monument is named after the Hanford Reach, the last non-tidal, free-flowing section of the Columbia River in the United States, is one of eight National Monuments administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. President Bill Clinton established the monument by presidential decree in 2000. In May 2017, the Interior Department announced that Hanford Reach was one of 27 National Monuments under review for possible rescinding of their designation. Ancestors of the Wanapum People, Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Colville, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and the Nez Perce used the land for hunting and resource collecting. Geographically, the area is part of the Columbia River Plateau, formed by basalt lava flows and water erosion.
The shrub-steppe landscape is dry, receiving between 5 and 10 inches of rain per year. The sagebrush-bitterbrush-bunchgrass lands are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, the Hanford Reach provides one of the Northwest's best salmon spawning grounds. Forty-eight rare, threatened, or endangered animal species have found refuge on the monument, as well as several insect species found nowhere else in the world. There are two main habitats in the Hanford Reach National Monument: river. Islands, gravel bars, oxbow ponds and backwater sloughs provide support to forty-three species of fish. Large numbers of fall Chinook salmon spawn in the Hanford reach. Federally threatened species such as the Upper Columbia River Spring Chinook, the Middle Columbia River Steelhead and the Upper Columbia River Steelhead use the reach for migration purposes; the refuge is famous for the elk located on the Arid Lands Ecology Area. Herd numbers vary by time of year with 150 seen during the spring/summer and 350 to 375 during the fall.
The elk population reaches its peak in the winter with an average of 670. Archaeologists believed. During the mid-19th century, first hand accounts mentioned the disappearance of the species. Rocky Mountain elk were reintroduced into the region during the 1930s; the dry, desert region is home to forty-two mammal species. Mice are the most abundant and include the deer mouse, western harvest mouse, northern grasshopper mouse. Mammals that inhabit this refuge include coyotes, beavers, mule deer, river otters, minks and badgers. Hanford Reach is home to nine nuclear reactors. Plutonium from the reactor was used in the first nuclear explosion at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico and in the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan; the reactor’s significance has led to many distinctions including a place on the National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, National Register of Historic Places, Nuclear Historic Landmark, National Civil Engineering Landmark and National Historic Landmark.
The monument is open from two hours before sunrise to two hours after sunset. Columbia River Corridor – shore and open water is open to the public. McGee Ranch and Riverlands – public day use. Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, located at 46°41′18″N 119°37′39″W – access permitted for ecological research, closed to the public. Vernita Bridge – open to the public. Wahluke Slope – open to the public; the Rattlesnake Mountain Public Access Act is a bill, introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress which would change some of the access to this site. The bill would require the United States Secretary of the Interior to provide public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument in the state of Washington; the bill is supposed to help with tourism and scientific undertakings. It was sent to the Senate. Several sites in the adjacent Hanford Site including the B Reactor are part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and are accessible on public tours.
Fws.gov: Official Hanford Reach National Monument website Landsat image overlaid with map White House Press Release Washington State precipitation map Pacific Northwest National Laboratory resource cards
Manhattan Project National Historical Park
Manhattan Project National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park commemorating the Manhattan Project, run jointly by the National Park Service and Department of Energy. The park consists of three units: one in Oak Ridge, one in Los Alamos, New Mexico and one in Hanford, Washington, it was established on November 10, 2015 when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz signed the memorandum of agreement that defined the roles that the two agencies had when managing the park. The Department of Energy had owned and managed most of the properties located within the three different sites. For over ten years, the DoE worked with the National Park Service and federal and local governments and agencies with the intention of turning places of importance into a National Historical Park. After several years of surveying the three sites and five other possible alternatives, the two agencies recommended a historical park be established in Hanford, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge.
The Department of Energy would continue to manage and own the sites while the National Park Service would provide interpretive services, visitor centers and park rangers. After two unsuccessful attempts at passing a bill in Congress authorizing the park in 2012 and 2013, the House and Senate passed the bill in December 2014, with President Obama signing the National Defense Authorization Act shortly thereafter which authorized the Manhattan Project National Historical Park; the Manhattan Project National Historical Park protects many structures associated with the Manhattan Project, but only some are open for touring. B Reactor National Historic Landmark – bus tours are available by advance reservation the previous Hanford High School in the former Town of Hanford and Hanford Construction Camp Historic District Bruggemann's Agricultural Warehouse Complex White Bluffs Bank and Hanford Irrigation District Pump House The Los Alamos visitor center for the Manhattan Project NHP is located at 475 20th Street in downtown Los Alamos.
This location is open daily 9-4 staffing permitting. It is in the Los Alamos Community Building on the front left as you face the building from the street. At the visitor center, visitors can learn about the Manhattan Project and related sites in the vicinity. There are 3 locations of park; these locations are not open to the public: Gun Site Facilities: three bunkered buildings, a portable guard shack. V-Site Facilities: TA-16-516 and TA-16-517 V-Site Assembly Building Pajarito Site: TA-18-1 Slotin Building, TA-8-2 Battleship Control Building, the TA-18-29 Pond Cabin; the American Museum of Science and Energy provides bus tours of several buildings in the Clinton Engineer Works including the: X-10 Graphite Reactor Buildings 9731 and 9204-3 at the Y-12 complex East Tennessee Technology Park, located on the site of the K-25 Building Official National Park Service website: Manhattan Project National Historical Park Official Department of Energy website: Manhattan Project National Historical Park
Klickitat County, Washington
Klickitat County is a county located in the U. S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,318; the county seat and largest city is Goldendale. The county is named after the Klickitat tribe of the Yakama Native Americans. Klickitat County was created out of Walla Walla County on December 20, 1859. Samuel Hill was an early promoter of the area, promoting better roads and building local landmarks such as a war memorial replica of Stonehenge and a mansion that would become the Maryhill Museum of Art; the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge across the Columbia River is named after him. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,904 square miles, of which 1,871 square miles is land and 33 square miles is water. Cascade Mountains Columbia River U. S. Route 97 State Route 14 State Route 142 Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Gifford Pinchot National Forest As of the census of 2000, there were 19,161 people, 7,473 households, 5,305 families residing in the county.
The population density was 10 people per square mile. There were 8,633 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 87.56% White, 0.27% Black or African American, 3.47% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 5.02% from other races, 2.75% from two or more races. 7.81 % of the population were Latinos of any race. 17.7% were of German, 14.0% United States or American, 11.1% English and 9.6% Irish ancestry. 90.3% spoke English and 7.8% Spanish as their first language. There were 7,473 households out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples living together, 9.10% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.00% were non-families. 23.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.99. The age distribution was 27.10% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 25.70% from 25 to 44, 27.00% from 45 to 64, 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 99.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.80 males. The median income for a household in the county was $34,267, the median income for a family was $40,414. Males had a median income of $36,067 versus $21,922 for females; the per capita income for the county was $16,502. About 12.60% of families and 17.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.50% of those under age 18 and 15.10% of those age 65 or over. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 20,318 people, 8,327 households, 5,626 families residing in the county; the population density was 10.9 inhabitants per square mile. There were 9,786 housing units at an average density of 5.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 87.7% white, 2.4% American Indian, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 5.6% from other races, 3.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 10.7% of the population.
In terms of ancestry,Of the 8,327 households, 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 32.4% were non-families, 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.88. The median age was 45.3 years. The median income for a household in the county was $37,398 and the median income for a family was $46,012. Males had a median income of $43,588 versus $31,114 for females; the per capita income for the county was $21,553. About 13.7% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over. Bingen Goldendale White Salmon Appleton BZ Corner Husum Wahkiacus Klickitat is located in Washington's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+2 and has been represented by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler since 2011.
In state government the county is part of the fourteenth district so is represented by representative Gina McCabe and Norm Johnson in the Washington House of Representatives and Curtis King in the Washington State Senate. In Presidential elections Klickitat is something of a "swing county." In 1988 Michael Dukakis narrowly won the county with 49.15% of the vote. Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush all won the county twice. In 2008 Democrat Barack Obama won Klickitat County over Republican John McCain by only 21 votes or percentage wise 48.85% to 48.64%. In 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney won the county by a greater margin than in the previous election, with 51.74% of the vote compared to President Obamas 44.75%, Donald Trump doubled Romney’s margin in 2016. National Register of Historic Places listings in Klickitat County, Washington Official County website Klickitat County, Washington at HistoryLink.org
Yakima County, Washington
Yakima County is a county in the U. S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, its population was 243,231; the county seat and largest city is Yakima. The county was formed out of Ferguson County in January 1865 and is named for the Yakama tribe of Native Americans. Yakima County comprises WA Metropolitan Statistical Area; the area that now comprises Yakima County was part of the Oregon Country at the start of the nineteenth century, inhabited both by fur prospectors from Canada, Americans seeking land for agricultural and mineral-extraction opportunities. Unable to resolve which country should control this vast area, the Treaty of 1818 provided for joint control. By 1843, the Provisional Government of Oregon had been established, although at first there were questions as to its authority and extent. During its existence, that provisional government formed the area north of the Columbia River first into the Washington Territory, into two vast counties: Clark and Lewis; the Washington Territory was formed as a separate governing entity in 1853.
In 1854, that legislature carved several counties out of the two original large counties, including Skamania County. In 1854 the new Skamania County was reduced in size by carving out Walla Walla County; this arrangement lasted until January 23, 1863, when Ferguson County was carved out of Walla Walla County. However, in 1865 the Ferguson County government and boundary was dissolved, on 21 1865 January the area was assigned to Yakima County. Since its creation, the Yakima County boundary has been altered two times. In 1883 a portion of its area was carved off in the creation of Kittitas County, in 1905 a further reduction added to the creation of Benton County; the Yakama Indian Reservation was created in 1855. However, several tribes felt the agreement creating this reserved area had been completed without sufficient native input, skirmishes and local war meant that the reservation was not operational for two decades; the Reservation is the 15th largest reservation in America, covering 1,573 mi², comprising 36% of the county's total area.
Its population was 31,799 in 2000, its largest city is Toppenish. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,311 square miles, of which 4,295 square miles is land and 16 square miles is water. Yakima County is the second-largest county in Washington by land area and third-largest by total area. Yakima County is reputed to be one of the most difficult places on earth to predict weather, because of its surrounding mountains; the county's area is larger than the states of Rhode Island combined. The highest point in the county is Mount Adams, the second tallest peak in Washington and the third tallest in the Cascade Range. Mount Adams, 12,281 feet Gilbert Peak, 8,184 feet Mount Aix, 7,766 feet Tieton Peak, 7,724 feet Cascade Mountains Rattlesnake Hills Horse Heaven Hills Yakima River Columbia River Naches River Tieton River Bumping River American River Interstate 82 U. S. Route 12 U. S. Route 97 Pierce County - northwest Lewis County - west Skamania County - southwest Kittitas County - north Klickitat County - south Grant County - northeast Benton County - east As of the census of 2000, there were 222,581 people, 73,993 households, 54,606 families residing in the county.
The population density was 52 people per square mile. There were 79,174 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 65.60% White, 0.97% Black or African American, 4.48% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 24.43% from other races, 3.48% from two or more races. 35.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.2% were of German, 6.4% United States or American, 5.9% English and 5.4% Irish ancestry. There were 73,993 households out of which 39.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.2% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.44. In the county, the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males. The median income for a household in the county was $34,828, the median income for a family was $39,746. Males had a median income of $31,620 versus $24,541 for females; the per capita income for the county was $15,606. About 14.8% of families and 19.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 243,231 people, 80,592 households, 58,790 families residing in the county; the population density was 56.6 inhabitants per square mile. There were 85,474 housing units at an average density of 19.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 63.7% white, 4.3% American Indian, 1.1% Asian, 1.0% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 26.1% from other races, 3.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 45.0% of the population.
In terms of ancestry, 15.8% were German, 8.0% were English, 7.3% were Irish, 3.6% were American. Of the 80,592 households, 42.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female househ