North Central Washington provides for one of the widest variety of recreation and scenic opportunities that can be found in one region. There are snow-capped mountains, glacier-fed lakes, rivers, and streams, and arid desert areas as well. Whether exploring the Okanogan highlands to the north, the Cascade Mountains to the west, or the sage covered coulees to the east there is plenty to see and do in North Central Washington. The communities of North Central Washington offer weekend festivals and holiday celebrations throughout the year and out of town visitors are welcome to be part of the excitement. There is a rich local history surrounding the entire region and dating back to before European settlers set foot in the area. The North Central Washington area invites visitors to explore its resources thoroughly, but here are fifteen things you may not have known about North Central Washington.
1. The Bavarian town of Leavenworth was named for Charles Leavenworth, president of the Okanogan Investment Company, who purchased the area that is present day downtown Leavenworth, WA.
2. The city of Cashmere was originally known as Mission, as it was a site of numerous religious settlements.
3. Before 1886, the area of land from Chelan to the Canadian border was called the Columbia Indian Reservation; President Grover Cleveland did away with this reservation in 1886.
4. The island that sits in Lake Wenatchee, just off the shore of the State Park, is named Emerald Island.
5. Lake Chelan measures 50.4 miles in length while averaging a width of only 2 miles.
6. Approximately 70% of the land in Okanogan County is owned by the State and Federal government.
7. The Grand Coulee Dam was used in the Harrison Ford movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
8. The Pacific Coast Trail (PCT), a hiking trail allowing continuous hiking from Canada to California passes through the North Cascades National Park.
9. In 1909, 60% of the sheep raised in Washington State were summered in the Wenatchee National Forest.
10. The community of Chesaw, located about 25 miles east of Oroville, is the only town in the United States named after a Chinese settler.
11. The first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean ended with a landing in a most unlikely of spots, East Wenatchee’s Fancher Field.
12. Okanogan County did not have its first stoplight installed until the early 1980’s.
13. The Columbia River has eleven dams on it from its beginning in Canada to where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. Five of those dams, almost half, lie in North Central Washington. (Grand Coulee, Chief Joseph, Wells, Rocky Reach, and Rock Island)
14. In 1880, the United States Army maintained Camp Chelan at the current site of the city of Chelan. Camp Chelan lasted one year and was abandoned as it was deemed too remote to conveniently get troops into and out of.
15. The Rock Island Dam was the first dam to be constructed on the Columbia River.
Experiencing all that North Central Washington has to offer in one visit is nearly impossible. From recreational opportunities like boating, camping, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, and more; to experiencing the scenic wonders of Lake Chelan, Dry Falls, Grand Coulee Dam, and others, there is something in North Central Washington for everyone.