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As Palouse Falls. . .

OLYMPIA – Palouse Falls is officially the state water fall.

In a ceremony this afternoon with the Eastern Washington falls as a backdrop and dozens of Washtucna Elementary students around the table, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill that bestows the title on the geologic feature. The students came up with the idea as a way to draw attention to the falls and a handful of them traveled to Olympia to testify on behalf of the bill.

It was one of two successful efforts to name an official state something in the last session. The Legislature also named the Olympia oyster the official state oyster. 

Senate passes Palouse Falls designation

OLYMPIA — A plan to name Palouse Falls the official state waterfall passed the Senate and was sent to Gov. Jay Inslee this afternoon.

On a 46-3 vote, a plan devised by students at Washtucna Elementary School cleared its last legislative hurdle and seems likely to become law.

The falls is one of the nation's tallest, and the park around it is one of the few state parks that operates in the black, Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said. Nearby Lyons Ferry State Park, among those close because of budget constraints, will be one of the first to reopen and a hiking trail will link the two parks, he said.

"Let's show the kids in the Palouse area the process does work if it's a good idea," Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, said.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, said he grew up near the falls and has many fond memories of it. Next year he said he might introduce a bill to rename the state Flaming Geyser State Park for Roach.

Geologists lead hike through time in Palouse canyon

HIKING — Geologists with the Ice Age Floods Institute are organizing a rigorous full-day hike to explore the geology of the Palouse Canyon from Lyons Ferry  State Park upstream to Palouse Falls on March 15.

Gene Kiver and Lloyd Stoess will lead the eight-mile hike near Washtucna emphasizing the impact of the great Missoula floods in shaping the landscape as well as the history of native Americans and settlements in the area.

Pre-register by email lindakl@centurytel.net or call (509) 235-4251.

In addition:

Tuesday, March 18, 7-9 p.m. Spokane Community College,  Free Public Lecture “Geologic Crossroads in Central Washington” by Nick Zentner, Geology Professor at Central Washington University. 

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Science at Spokane Community College and the lecture is scheduled  at SCC’s Lair Auditorium, Building #6, 1810 Greene Street, Spokane.  Zentner will discuss that Central Washington is a crossroads for many important geologic forces—Ice Age Floods from the northeast, Columbia River Basalts from the southeast, and Cascades Ice, ash, and mudflows from the west.  Photos, maps, and short videos will be featured.

House passes Palouse Falls bill

Washtucna elementary students pitched Palouse Falls at House committee hearing last month.

OLYMPIA — Palouse Falls would become the official state waterfall under a bill receiving unanimous approval in the House today.

The proposal originated with students at Washtucna Elementary School as a way to call attention to the falls, which is a remnant of prehistoric floods that washed across Eastern Washington.

Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, the bill's sponsor, said, the falls draw so many visitors that the state park that surrounds it is one of the few that actually operates in the black.

Washington might be the only state to have an official state waterfall. HB 2119 was sent to the Senate for consideration.

Palouse Falls pitched for state recognition

Washtucna Elementary students ask House Government Operations Committee to name a state waterfall.

OLYMPIAWashington has a state bird, a state flower, a state tree, a state fossil and state song, and a host of other official state items.

Why not a state waterfall?

That’s what students from Washtucna Elementary School are wondering. They would like the Legislature to designate Palouse Falls, which is tucked away in an arid and remote part of Eastern Washington, to help out the underappreciated natural wonder practically in their backyard. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Palouse Falls stunning at 10 degrees

STATE PARKS — Jon Jonckers of Spokane found stunning contrasts at Palouse Falls State Park as mist from the 185-foot waterfall froze on the surrounding cliffs in the 10-degree temperatures on Saturday. 

Photographer finds ice framing Palouse Falls

STATE PARKS — Palouse Falls State Park is worth a trip any time of year. But Spokane photographer Craig Goodwin braved temperatures in the teens for a visit this week and likes what he saw.

"Palouse Falls probably gets most of its visits in the spring with the big runoff but I headed out Friday and with all the ice I found it arguably more beautiful than in the spring," he said, commenting on the photo above.

Photo captures fury of Palouse Falls at flood stage

RIVERS — Leave it to photographer Brian Jamieson of Spokane to capture Palouse Falls today with an image so telling you can almost hear the thunder of the river running at flood stage.  Big!

See more of Jamieson's photography in his photo album.

See another spectacular shot made today by Northwest Artistic Photography.

Region is flush with great spring hikes to waterfalls

STATE PARKS — The Palouse River is running flood-stage big this week, prompting prime time for a visit to Palouse Falls State Park.

The park is between Washtucna, Wash., and the Snake River at Lyons Ferry

The falls are chocolate brown and thundering about 185 feet in a billowing cloud, as the folks at Lyons Ferry Marina verify in the photo (left).

Palouse Falls State Park (Discover Pass required) has some sweet hiking trails leading out toward the falls.

BE CAREFUL if you hike. Some trails lead right to the edge of steep cliffs, and they are particularly slippery when wet.

Do you love hiking and waterfalls? Here are details on some sweet waterfall hiking destinations in this region.

Palouse Falls is a rage; prime time for a hike

STATE PARKS — The Palouse River is running big this week, prompting prime time for a visit to Palouse Falls State Park.

The park is between Washtucna, Wash., and the Snake River at Lyons Ferry

The falls are chocolate brown and thundering about 185 feet in a billowing cloud, as the folks at Lyons Ferry Marina verify in the photo above.

Palouse Falls State Park  (Discover Pass required) has some sweet hiking trails leading out toward the falls.

BE CAREFUL if you hike. Some trails lead right to the edge of steep cliffs, and they are particularly slippery when wet.

Do you love waterfalls? Here are some sweet area waterfall hiking destinations.

Photographer captures full moon on Upper Palouse Falls

RIVERS — Spokane photographer Wes Hedrick was at Palouse Falls State Park last week to take advantage of the full moon, snapping photos until midnight.

The photo above of the upper falls — just upstream from the iconic 185-foot Palouse Falls — was among several he made between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. using his Canon SLR digital camera.

Upper Palouse Falls worth a hike

HIKING — This is prime time to visit Palouse Falls State Park, where the water is rushing and the landscape is starting to get green.  But don't be content to view the falls just from the parking lot overlook.

Steve and Karen Heaps of Spokane had the right idea this weekend to hike to the cascade-like  upper falls above the main 185-foot tall falls.  Just head upstream from the parking area, down to the railroad tracks for a short way and cut down on the trail to the upper falls.

Note:  The railroad is active.   

Great weekend for waterfalls

HIKING — Reports from paddling friends say Hangman Creek had dropped too low for good canoeing over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Palouse River was flowing too big for safe paddling.

Time to put on the hiking shoes and just stand in awe of the sight at Palouse Falls State Park.

Palouse Falls has look of lace in bitter cold

OUTDOOR SIGHTS — Penny Lapsley of Moses Lake didn't let last weekend's bitter cold keep her from a sight-seeing tour to Palouse Falls State Park. 

Indeed, the icy conditions were the attraction, as you can see from her photo of the falls flanked by ice — a scene fair-weather visitors never enjoy.

Kayaker Describes Waterfall Plunge

Without warning, at about 2:30 p.m., Bradt’s red kayak appeared on the top left side of the falls from Schloss’ perspective at the park’s overlook. With a few quick paddle strokes, he steered the boat down a green tongue of water and quickly disappeared in the plummeting, billowing stream of white. “I got pictures, but he’s hidden in the whitewater,” Schloss said. “It happened so fast, but then it seemed like eternity before he popped up clear over on the right side. “He was OK, and everybody started cheering.” The 22-year-old professional paddler had set a record in the unofficial realm of waterfall bagging: He’d survived the highest known waterfall descent in a kayak/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: What is the most daring thing that you’ve done?