On March 29th, 2005, the Cathlapotle Plankhouse opened its doors to the public for the first time. On March 29th, 2015, it celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special celebration honoring the volunteers and community supporters that made the Plankhouse what it is today. We would like to thank the Chinook Indian Nation and the US Fish & Wildlife Service for making the celebration a success, and for your continued support of the Plankhouse and its programming over the years. Here’s to another 10 years! The Columbian wrote a lovely piece on the event, and you can read it online here.

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. Email contact@ridgefieldfriends.org to be added to the E news list.

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.

Open hours are based on volunteer availability, be sure to check the calendar before coming out. The Plankhouse also offers various programs and workshops, check the calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is Closed for the Season
Spring Opening Celebration is April 16th, 2016

The Plankhouse may be closed for Native American Heritage Month, but there are still a ton of opportunities to learn about Native Cultures in our area!
Native American 2015 poster