Snake River

Snake River

The Snake is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest in the United States. At 1,078 miles (1,735 km) long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. Rising in western Wyoming, the river flows through the Snake River Plain then rugged Hells Canyon and the rolling Palouse Hills to reach its mouth at the Tri-Cities of the state of Washington. Its drainage basin encompasses parts of six U.S. states, and its average discharge is over 54,000 cubic feet per second (1,500 m3/s).

Rugged mountains divided by rolling plains characterize the physiographically diverse watershed of the Snake River. The Snake River Plain was created by a volcanic hotspot which now lies underneath Yellowstone National Park, the headwaters of the Snake River. Gigantic glacial-retreat flooding episodes that occurred during the previous Ice Age carved out many topographical features including various canyons and ridges along the middle and lower Snake. Two of these catastrophic flooding events significantly affected the river and its surrounds.

More than 11,000 years ago, prehistoric Native Americans lived along the Snake. Salmon from the Pacific Ocean spawned in the millions in the river. These fish were central to the lives of the people along the Snake below Shoshone Falls. By the time Lewis and Clark crossed the Rockies and sighted the valley of a Snake tributary, the Nez Perce and Shoshone were the most powerful people in the region. Contact with Europeans introduced horses to some tribes, reshaping their lifestyles for the next few hundred years before outside settlement. Later explorers and fur trappers further changed and utilized the resources of the Snake River basin. At one point, a hand sign made by the Shoshones representing fish was misinterpreted to represent a snake, giving the Snake River its name.

By the middle 19th century, the Oregon Trail, a pioneer trail of which a major portion followed the Snake River, had been established. Steamboats and railroads moved agricultural products and minerals along the river throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The powerful, steep flow of the Snake has been utilized since the 1890s to generate hydroelectricity, enhance navigation and provide irrigation water from fifteen major dams that have transformed the lower river into a series of reservoirs, several of which have been proposed for removal to restore some of the river's once tremendous salmon runs.

Read more about Snake River:  Course, Geology, Watershed, Biology, Tributaries

Other articles related to "snake river, river, snake, rivers":

List Of National Natural Landmarks In Idaho
... A 2,500 ft Rhyolitic dome that rises over the Eastern Snake River Plain ... developed of the large springs discharging into the Snake River from the Snake River plain aquifer system ... lavas that represent successive flows on the Columbia River Basalt Plateau ...
Snake River - Tributaries
... See also List of tributaries of the Columbia River The Salmon river is the second largest tributary ... to about 11,000,000 acre feet (14 km3) annually for the Clearwater river ... The Snake River has over twenty major tributaries, most of which are in the mountainous regions of the basin ...
Salmon Conservation - Dam Removal
... The creation of many dams along the Snake and Columbia Rivers have blocked Salmon access to some of the most pristine habitats available, preventing them for being able to ... to assist salmon in their journey up the river, many salmon often die on their return to their birthplace ... a resolution that "The four lower Snake River dams are a significant threat to the continued existence of remaining Snake River salmon and steelhead ...
Shoshone (Snake River Sternwheeler)
... The Shoshone was the first steamboat built on the Snake River, Idaho, above Hells Canyon and the first of only two steamboats to be brought down through Hells Canyon ...
Sports In Idaho - Geography
... at 2.3 million acres (9,300 km2), the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental United ... The waters of the Snake River rush through Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in the United States ... The major rivers in Idaho are the Snake River, the Clark Fork/Pend Oreille River, the Clearwater River, the Salmon River ...

Famous quotes containing the words river and/or snake:

    The murmurs of many a famous river on the other side of the globe reach even to us here, as to more distant dwellers on its banks; many a poet’s stream, floating the helms and shields of heroes on its bosom.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The great snake lies ever half awake, at the bottom of the pit of the world, curled
    In folds of himself until he awakens in hunger and moving his head to right and to left prepares for his hour to devour.
    —T.S. (Thomas Stearns)