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 what used to be the security buffer surrounding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The area has been untouched by development or agriculture since 1943.

The monument is named after the Hanford Reach, the last free flowing section of the Columbia River, and is one of only two National Monuments administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. President Bill Clinton established the monument by presidential decree.

Geographically, the area is part of the Columbia River Plateau, formed by basalt lava flows and water erosion. The shrub-steppe landscape is harsh and dry, receiving between 5 and of rain per year. The sagebrush-bitterbrush-bunchgrass lands are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, and 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.


The monument is open two hours before sunrise to two hours after sunset; some areas are open to the public and others are not:

  • Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve - access permitted for ecological research, closed to the public.
  • Columbia River Corridor - shore and open water is generally open to the public.
  • McGee Ranch and Riverlands - public day use.
  • Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge - access permitted for ecological research, closed to the public.
  • Vernita Bridge - open to the public.
  • Wahluke Slope - open to the public.


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