Washington State History and Scenic Beauty by Bonnie and Bill Neely

A drive through Eastern Washington State is lovely. For miles and miles we passed the rolling yellow wheat fields as far as we could see on both sides of Highway 261. Definitely, this is one of the bread basket areas of America, very impressive and unusual scenery. Starbuck/Lyons Ferry KOA is located at the historic site of the ferry which took passengers, animals, and wagons and cars across the Snake River for over a century, until the Lyons Ferry Bridge was opened in 1968. This has been a favorite fishing place for more than 100 years, with record catches of sturgeon, and other fish. The Monumental Dam creates the Herbert G. West Lake, and the Marina is located at this KOA. The setting is beautiful with rolling hills, rivers, lake and a beautifully kept KOA Kampground.
Jim, the owner, is so personable and we loved having a delicious meal prepared in the KOA restaurant. The menu was quite varied and really well prepared and yummy from early morning breakfast through a very good evening meal. Jim and Angela are terrific personalities who give a great welcoming feeling to their guests from March to October. Fishing here is legendary, and you can see salmon climbing the ladders near the fish hatchery in late summer. PHONE 509 399 8020 or EMAIL lyonsferrymarina@columbianet.com
There are many things to do in the area, especially the 1,000 acre Palouse Falls State Park just a short drive north of the Marina. The park is bordered by the Snake and Palouse Rivers, where you can enjoy swimming, a sandy beach, fishing, boating, or hiking. There are picnic tables and restrooms. The recently designated Palouse Falls is the official waterfall of Washington, and you’ll get great views of the very deep canyon from the park above, or you can hike along the river on a trail below. During the Ice Age a 2000 foot high ice dam was breached many times and this area flooded with water over 13 times the volume of the Amazon River (the largest river in the world today.)
This was a site where Lewis and Clark found Indians drying their salmon. The rocky bluffs are called Marmes Rockshelter, where in 1962 an archeological team discovered about a dozen skeletons of people who lived here 13,000 years ago. This is the oldest inhabited site in North America. This is also a good area for bird watchers, and many of the birds to look for are illustrated on placards in the park. There are especially large raptor birds in this area, but don’t let your children who saw Jurassic Park Movie think they should be frightened of being eaten by velociraptors!
We had fun watching the adorable and friendly little ground squirrels, who loved the wild wheat along the rim. Just downstream you can see the Joso Railroad Bridge, built in 1910-1914. At 3500 feet long and 180 feet above the water it was the longest and highest in the world for trains. Today it is still one of the longest and is operated by the Union Pacific Company.