I wrote the following article early this year for the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 2020 Visitors Guide. Please enjoy!
96-years of Memory Making at Lake Sacajawea For almost a century since 1924, Lake Sacajawea, Longview’s crown jewel, has been a memory keeper for Longview’s citizens. From generation to generation memories have been made including the ones of my father, who took his homemade pole to his favorite fishing hole across from RA Long High School from early spring to late fall, or the one of him twirling around frozen Lake Sacajawea in the late 1940’s on his Minnesota ice skates, or of him playing catch with his dog, Rusty, on the banks of the lake. Fast forward to the 80’s and my memories. I lived in a home on the westside and spent many afternoons running the lake with my own dog Rusty. A few years later on a crisp fall evening outside the banks of Martin’s Dock, I was thrilled with a wedding proposal from my sweetheart. Spring, summer, winter, fall, no matter the season, this gem, located beneath a canopy of trees awaits its daily visitors that come to enjoy the over three and a half miles of walking trails, playgrounds, bridges, benches and lush lawns.
On a recent stroll around the lake I discovered an unassuming otter, numerous squirrels, geese, ducks, dogs, an opossum curled up high on a tree branch, and a stunning bald eagle soaring overhead that landed on a perch overlooking the Japanese Gardens. He sat ever so quietly scanning his surroundings. Birds of all varieties, blossoming bushes, old-growth trees and ornamental grasses accent and embellish the lake. I continue to marvel at many of the additions that have appeared throughout the years: the freshly-paved Nichols Blvd in 2019, new playground equipment at Martins Dock in 2010, the reconstructed Washington Way bridge and addition of the Solar System Walk in 2001, the North Lake fountain (installed the day my last son was born – June 24, 1999), the Elks Memorial “Pirate Ship Park” in 1998, where I spent many an hour swinging my children and watching them play, the Japanese Gardens in 1990, squirrel bridges extending from the park and endless Legacy Trees and Benches scattered about the lake trails.
Since the 60’s, Longview’s Go Fourth firework celebration has brought throngs of people to Lake Sacajawea’s banks. Just how many elephant ears have been consumed at vendor booths? How many cross-country miles have been run? How many announcements, pronouncements, discussions, prayers, tears, picnics, parties and proposals have graced this place? What a memory keeper the Lake continues to be for all of us in Longview. Bring your kids, dog, frisbee, bicycle, yoga gear, fishing pole, book, picnic lunch, or just yourself to soak in the moments at the lake. Lake Sacajawea has an amazing effect on people, and continues to be the living breathing keeper of our precious memories.
Be well, safe, and happy out there!
Many blessings to you all,
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis