May 17, 2016

Senate Passes Wyden, Merkley Resolution to Mark 100th Anniversary of Historic Columbia River Highway

Washington – A resolution co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Historic Columbia River Highway has passed the Senate.

“America’s first scenic highway offers both remarkable views of the Columbia Gorge and a uniquely historic example of innovative engineering,” Wyden said. “Today’s Senate action recognizes the importance of preserving and restoring this landmark so Oregonians can continue to enjoy its beauty and benefit from its role in our state’s booming outdoor recreation and tourism economy.”

“The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes in our country,” said Merkley. “The restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway is a testament to the vision and determination of many Oregonians, and I’ve been proud to partner with the local community and Senator Wyden to help bring federal support to this deserving project. It’s terrific that the entire U.S. Senate is joining us in celebrating 100 years of the Columbia River Highway, and I look forward to many more years ahead of sharing this amazing place with Oregonians and visitors alike.”

A National Historic Landmark, the 75-mile long scenic highway designed by Samuel C. Lancaster, runs through the Columbia River Gorge between Troutdale and The Dalles. It is the first scenic highway in the United States and the first modern highway in the Pacific Northwest. It is also a popular tourist destination in the Gorge, each year bringing thousands of visitors to hike and bike its trails and connecting travelers from one Oregon treasure to the next.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is working to connect existing highway segments with recreation trails to establish a continuous historic route through the Columbia River Gorge. Ten miles await reconnection to the main trail, which will open access to the Gorge for hikers and bikers.