Explorations is a recurring feature of Hometown Health. We like to highlight
destinations throughout our region which make our communities and surrounding
areas great places to live and play.
The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is located about five miles north
of Othello. To get there simply drive north on Broadway Avenue until it
turns into McManamon Road. Turn right on Morgan Lake Road into the Columbia
National Wildlife Refuge. You have entered a world of wetlands and uplands
to view birds and other wildlife, a diversity of habitats and the magnificent
geological features of Ice Age Floods.
Robert McCrorie, CBHA Physician Assistant, discovered this incredible sanctuary
when he moved to Othello during the summer of 2018. It quickly became
his favorite place to hike.
The floods occurred when Glacial Lake Missoula’s ice dam broke loose,
sending hundreds of cubic miles of water through Northern Idaho into our
region to scour out Washington’s scablands. The floods cut through
volcanic Columbia River Basalt within the Drumheller Channels just northwest
of Othello. Robert is amazed at the beauty of this area with giant basalt
columns, dry falls, plunge pools, waterfalls, seep lakes, fishing lakes
and hiking trails. He is looking forward to seeing the wild flowers which
dot the landscape this time of year.
Othello’s 22nd annual Sandhill Crane Festival was held recently.
This festival celebrates the spring return of the Lesser Sandhill Cranes
to the greater Othello area and the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.
These cranes stop off to rest and feed on their long journey from Southern
California to Alaska where they nest, and raise their young before returning
in the fall. Not all the cranes have migrated yet. Keep your eyes trained
upwards. If you see a very large white bird with a red eye patch, it is
probably a Sandhill Crane. They have a unique call which is certain to
catch your attention.
It is a rattle with a coo on the end. If you haven’t already done
so, treat yourself to a hike in the refuge. Wear your hiking books and
bring your binoculars!