The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a full-scale Chinookan Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It was built based on archaeological evidence from the Cathlapotle archaeological site located on the refuge property. This archaeological site is what remains of the town of Cathlapotle, a Chinookan town encountered by Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
The Plankhouse and the objects inside of it offer a tangible link to those who lived here in the past and provides a unique site for the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage preserved on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington.
The Plankhouse is typically open from Noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-April to October, and by special arrangement. As much as we would like to keep the Plankhouse open more, open hours are based on volunteer availability, so please check the calendar before making a trip out. The Plankhouse also offers various programs and workshops, check the calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities. We invite you to explore this web site and come out to the refuge to explore the Plankhouse.
It was a great weekend: wonderful craft vendors, birding with Vancouver Audubon, Plankhouse activities at Abrams Park, Traditional Salmon Bake, Portland Audubon birds on display, kids’ crafts, awesome volunteers, amazing presenters, learning about Bird Language, sunny weather…FUN! It was unfortunate that we were not able to share the Refuge itself with you due to the government shutdown of all national parks and refuges. But, in a sense, the Refuge was brought to you in downtown Ridgefield, and we hope BirdFest 2013 was enjoyed by all!
Hayu Masi (Many Thanks) to the dedicated volunteer docents that made the 2013 Plankhouse season a success. Because of their enthusiasm and passion for sharing Chinookan culture with others, over 3,000 public visitors and thousands of school children visited the Plankhouse in 2013 and learned first hand about the First People of the Lower Columbia River. The Plankhouse is closed through the winter, and will reopen mid April 2014. Keep an eye out for the 2014 Second Sunday and Artist-In-Residence programs, and spring volunteer training opportunities.