Exploring Lake Sacajawea: The Heart of Longview, Washington
Lake Sacajawea, nestled in the vibrant city of Longview, Washington, serves as a verdant oasis of leisure and entertainment for its residents. Spanning a generous 127 acres, this tranquil gem provides a myriad of year-round activities for all ages. From fishing and kayaking to outdoor movies and music festivals, there's always something exciting to do at Lake Sacajawea.
Lake Sacajawea Longview, WA
A Walk through Time: The Evolution of Lake Sacajawea
The birth of Lake Sacajawea is an intriguing tale. It came into existence when the water flowing between the mighty Cowlitz River and the Columbia River took a different course. Today, the water level is preserved by pumping water from the Cowlitz River into a ditch that seamlessly merges into the northern end of the lake. The overflow then exits into a diking system, ultimately reaching the Columbia River.
Historically, the lake was privately developed into a park in 1924 and was maintained for over a decade. However, the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s led to a transfer of ownership from the private owner to the City in 1938 due to property tax debts.
Photo Courtesy of the Cowlitz County Historical Museum
The City took over the responsibility of maintaining the lake, but the maintenance efforts were affected by the start of World War II in 1939. It wasn't until the war ended in 1945 that the City redirected its focus towards maintaining the lake. The lake underwent a chemical treatment in 1948 and 1949 to eliminate the indigenous carp that had populated it. By 1950, the City replenished the lake with 40,000 trout.
The lake faced another challenge in 1952 with the emergence of algae growth, low oxygen levels, and stagnation. To combat these issues, the City began pumping water from the Cowlitz River into the lake from 1953 onwards.
Embrace the Outdoors: Activities at Lake Sacajawea
The lake is girdled by the Lake Sacajawea Trail, a 3.6-mile lighted gravel trail that is a favorite among residents for walking, jogging, and biking. The trail is beautifully adorned with lush landscaping and gardens, making it a visual treat for all who traverse it.
Lake Sacajawea is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can engage in year-round fishing, seizing the chance to catch largemouth bass, trout, bluegill, and yellow perch. The lake also hosts an annual fishing derby for children, organized by Longview Parks and Recreation.
Boating and kayaking are popular activities on the lake. Residents can use electric boat motors of three horsepower or less. However, boats must be carried from the street down to the lake.
Families and friends can enjoy picnics at the various shelters and playgrounds scattered throughout the park. Whether it's enjoying a meal under a covered area, at an open picnic table, or on a blanket spread out on the lawn, the options are plentiful. Playgrounds can be found at the Hemlock Plaza, 17th & Nichols Blvd, and the Elk's building.
Lake Sacajawea is also a preferred venue for weddings. Several picturesque locations around the lake are available for booking. Residents can contact Longview Parks and Recreation for information on holding a wedding or event at the park.
Lake Sacajawea Trail
Cultural Celebrations and Events at Lake Sacajawea
Lake Sacajawea is home to the exquisite Japanese Garden, a brainchild of the former Longview Parks Superintendent, Al George. The authentic garden features a stunning array of plants, trees, ponds, and aesthetic structures.
The annual Movies at the Lake event is a big hit among residents. Usually held in August, the festivities commence at 6 pm, offering games, prizes, and delicious food. As the sun sets, a movie screening takes place at Martin's Dock, under the starlit sky.
Concerts at the lake are a beloved tradition during the summer months of July and August. Every Thursday, from 6 pm to 8 pm, visitors can relish live music while enjoying a picnic dinner. Local vendors also sell a variety of food and drinks.
The Go Fourth Festival is the largest event held at Lake Sacajawea each year. This Independence Day celebration kicks off on the 2nd of July and concludes on the 4th of July with a breathtaking fireworks display, the largest in Cowlitz County.
Japanese Garden Lake Sacajawea
Japanese Garden Bridge
Martin's Dock Lake Sacajawea
Living by the Lake: The Residential Experience
Four distinct residential neighborhoods surround Lake Sacajawea: the Old & New West Side, Olympic, and St. Helens. Prospective buyers will primarily find single-family residential homes, with a sprinkling of multi-family and condominium units.
While none of the homes are considered lakefront, residents living on Kessler and Nichols Blvd are privy to serene lake views. A short walk across the street opens up a world of recreational activities that Lake Sacajawea has to offer.
The Old West Side neighborhood, situated on the northeast side of the lake, is the closest to Lower Columbia College. The neighborhood is characterized by older, often updated, and well-maintained homes. The area is well-served by public transportation, making it conveniently accessible from anywhere in the city.
The Old West Side Neighborhood Longview
Lake Sacajawea, with its rich history, diverse recreational activities, and beautiful residential neighborhoods, truly serves as a cornerstone of the Longview community. It's not just a lake; it's a way of life.