It’s difficult to fit all of the interesting facts about life in Clark County on one page.
Graphic designer Marsha Matta asked me to give her more data to update this year’s How We Live page in Clark County Portrait. While trying to refresh and increase the amount of info on county life, my research yielded an embarrassment of riches. Here are some of the facts and figures that didn’t make it into print.
You may not know that 18.9 percent of Vancouver’s population speaks a language other than English at home. Or, that Yacolt is the youngest area in Clark County, with a median age of almost 27. In your day-to-day activities around the county, have you seen Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and maybe even Mount Rainier? All four are visible from here.
Did you know that Portland International Airport, the closest major airport, offers nonstop flights to 77 cities? Also, Pearson Field in Vancouver is the oldest continuously operating airfield in the Pacific Northwest.
Clark County has one national park, two national wildlife refuges, three state parks and six off-leash dog parks. Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, by the way, is the oldest public square in Washington. And, Battle Ground Lake is considered to be a miniature version of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon.
Clark County Portrait includes the fact that Lacamas Lake Regional Park has 9.5 miles of interconnected trails, making it the longest trail system in the county. But, there wasn’t room to note that the city of Camas is named after a blue lily found in the fields of the park. Camassia lilies should bloom in mid-April.
Clark County is named after William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Vancouver is named after British explorer Capt. George Vancouver. Another historical factoid that I wanted to include was Clark County’s founding date. Turns out, after asking a “quick question,” a particular date is hard to come by.
Brad Richardson, curator at the Clark County Historical Museum, said there are several dates that could be considered the “founding” of the county. He cited some key dates from Ted Van Arsdol’s book “Vancouver on the Columbia: An Illustrated History” and Carl Landerholm’s “Vancouver Area Chronology.”
• June 27, 1844: The Oregon Provisional Legislature established the District of Vancouver. (Van Arsdol)
• June 15, 1846: A treaty between the United States and Great Britain gave the territory south of the 49th parallel to the United States. (Van Arsdol)
• Sept. 3, 1849: The Oregon Territory Legislature changed the name of Vancouver County to Clark County. (Van Arsdol)
• July 1, 1850: Regular county government was established in Clark County, then in Oregon Territory. (Landerholm)
If you want to read more, Arsdol’s book is available at Fort Vancouver libraries and Landerholm’s chronology can be viewed on the historical museum’s website.
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