SPECIAL REPORT • The West's untapped treasures

Karl Samson

Located in southeastern Washington north of the Tri-Cities(Richland, Pasco, Kennewick), this newly established park preservesthe last nontidal free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River in theUnited States. The monument is within the Hanford Site, which wasestablished in the 1940s to help develop the first nuclear bombs.Hanford Reach includes some of the Columbia River's bestsalmon-spawning waters as well as shrub-steppe ecosystems and the400-foot-high White Bluffs. The best way to explore is on a jetboat tour.

WHERE: About 60 miles north of Richland off State 24.

WHEN: Open year-round; best spring through early fall.

COST: Free.

SERVICES: There's no visitor center; try the Tri-CitiesVisitor & Convention Bureau (800/254-5824 or www.visittri-cities.com).

ACTIVITIES: Columbia River Journeys (509/734-9941,888/486-9119, or www.columbiariverjourneys.com)offers jet boat tours out of Richland. Cruising to the WhiteBluffs, you're likely see deer, coyotes, herons, and whitepelicans.

CONTACT: (509) 371-1801.

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