| By Chilton Staff |
Called the “River of Life,” the Columbia River through the Cascade Mountains is an area of spectacular beauty. Flanked by forested hills misted by waterfalls, brimming with salmon, and home to millions of creatures from microbiota to beaver and bears, the Columbia Gorge has been sacred to the Chinook peoples for thousands of years.
About 400 years ago, colonists brought logging, fisheries, and development, degrading the pristine landscape. It was the invention of the road trip that aided an incipient movement to preserve the gorge. Efforts to plant trees and curb indiscriminate forest destruction began, while that same year, the state of Oregon built the Historic Columbia River Highway.
When Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, automobile travel became accessible to millions. Thousands flocked to Oregon’s gorgeous gorge, leading Governor Olcott to state in 1913 in a message to the legislature: “So prodigal has nature been with us; so lavishly as she spread her feasts at our banquet table, we have been apt to feel that these glories would be never-ending. We have become satiated, and it has required the thousands from the outside to come and express their wonderment before we actually have awakened to the fact that Oregon is blessed among the states.”
Now, nearly 100 years later, parts of the highway are still in use. The state is creating the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail from abandoned parts of the old highway and is working to preserve the majestic forest while also providing a nature experience and breathtaking vistas for visitors.
In 1986 Congress designated 277,000 acres along the Columbia Gorge a National Scenic Area. Land trusts and individual donations of land to the state for parks and preservation continue to increase protected areas.
ChiltonLibrary can help prepare for a road trip with specific preventive maintenance timing and procedures. Just select the year, make, and model of the vehicle and then choose “Maintenance.” Next, select the type of equipment on the vehicle as well as the operating condition: normal or severe. Surprisingly, most should select “severe,” as customarily driving in traffic or for short distances is considered severe operating conditions. Then choose the mileage interval closest to the miles on the vehicle. Here’s an example of a 2015 Dodge Journey.
Wherever your travels take you, access ChiltonLibrary online through your library for trusted information for your vehicle’s care and repair.