Wednesday, May 27, 2009

National Geologic Trail Press Conference

The Ice Age Floods Institute held a press conference today regarding legislation that was passed by Congress on March 25, 2009, authorizing the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. The legislation is the culmination of a multi-year effort. The primary sponsors of the legislation are U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings.

Link to Tri-City Herald coverage: Press Conference

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail Press Conference speakers Gary Kleinknecht (Ice Age Floods Institute President), U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

Congressman Hastings and Senator Cantwell hold small ice-rafted erratics that were presented by the Ice Age Floods Institute.

Senator Maria Cantwell

“Since 2001, I have been working with communities in Central and Eastern Washington, the National Park Service, and community stakeholders to create an Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail through portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. “Visitors to the trail will not only provide an important economic boost to Central and Eastern Washington communities, but they will learn about an amazing, and often overlooked, part of our region’s history.”

Check out the huge erratic boulder above - left side of image. This boulder was ice-rafted to the Badger Mountain area during the Ice Age Floods. Material on the kiosk describes that the erratic was moved to this point during construction of homes a short distance away.

Congressman Doc Hastings

“I was proud to sponsor the legislation establishing the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail in the House of Representatives,” said U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings. “It is fitting that the first-ever National Geologic Trail should highlight the unique and dramatic landscape of the inland Northwest, which was shaped by these Ice Age floods. This trail will serve to inform local residents about our unique geologic history, attract and support tourism to the region, and do so by interpreting sites on existing public lands rather than adding new regulations to private landowners or through the costly acquisition of new federal lands.”

Lake Lewis Maximum Elevation 1,250 feet.

The press conference was held in Trailhead Park, (541 Queensgate Dr., Richland) on the slopes of Badger Mountain. As you hike the trail to the top of Badger Mountain, you'll pass this marker placed at the Ice Age Floods high-water line.

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Badger Mountain (lower left) and Queensgate Drive in Richland. Use Google's navigation tools to explore the area.

Bruce Bjornstad created this illustration to show approximate water level during major Ice Age Flood events. Click to enlarge and notice the summit of Badger Mountain became an island surrounded by temporary Lake Lewis.

Keith Dunbar is the National Park Service Chief of Planning for the Pacific West Region.

Kris Watkins, CEO for the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau describes tourism opportunities for communities along the trail.

Geologist/Author Bruce Bjornstad

I'm not sure what Bruce is describing here but he's probably explaining a flood feature or giving directions to a hike in the Channeled Scablands.

Bruce's book "On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods" is available at the Ice Age Floods Institute store.

Dale Middleton

It made my day to see Dale at the press conference. Dale has worked hard for many years to make sure that the story of the Ice Age Floods is told.

George Last

George deserves a ton of credit for the Ice Age Floods kiosk and high-water marker along the Badger Mountain trail. George serves as President of the Lake Lewis chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute.

Terry Hurd is President of the Columbia Gorge chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute. I'll always appreciate Terry's help and advice when Nick Zentner, Karl Lillquist and I were starting the IAFI chapter in Ellensburg.

Ice-rafted erratic along bike path to Badger Mountain.

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

The Trail will become part of the network of existing public highways through Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, enabling the public to view, experience, and learn about the features and story of the Ice Age floods through the collaborative efforts of public and private entities.

The Ice Age Floods were the largest documented flood events known to have occurred on Earth. The discharge of water from Glacial Lake Missoula as the ice dam failed equaled ten times the flow of all of the rivers on Earth. The Glacial Lake Missoula contained over 500 cubic miles of water when the ice dam failed.

Learn more about the trail at the Ice Age Floods Institute site:
IAFI Trail Page


Bruce Bjornstad said...

Thanks for great coverage of this event. NPS representative is misidentified as Kevin Dunbar; his first name is Kieth. Tri-City Herald made this error also.

Ron Hall76 said...

Hi Tom,

Meeting today with Melanie Bell about using various free Google offerings to help in trail awareness. See you are using Google Maps api in this story, and Blogspot.

Will be talking with Melanie about a Google group and Google sites.

Wondering if you are using Picasa and Panramio

Make it a good day

Ron Hall