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Olympic Peninsula, Wa

5 Facts about Lake Cushman You Might Not Know

Lake Cushman and the gateway to Staircase in Olympic National Park.

Lake Cushman and the gateway to Staircase in Olympic National Park.



Lake Cushman is located near the Staircase region of the Olympic National Park. It is an area that many know of, but few take the time to explore. Just an hour and a half from Olympia and miles from civilization, the region around Lake Cushman and the Skokomish River is some of the gorgeous terrain that makes the Olympic National Park so special. With rivers, mountains, giant trees and waterfalls in every direction, Staircase should be visited more often and Lake Cushman should be explored.


While we have already given you area trails and culture, we figured we would take a closer look at the area and give some more insight into just how rich and awesome in culture and history Staircase can be.

Link for more info on Hiking Staircase: http://bit.ly/1hNBvxD





1) Lake Cushman has Two Dams


The Dam

The Dam


In 1924, Tacoma City Light built a dam to provide much needed electricity to the fast growing city of Tacoma. The lines, spanning over the Tacoma Narrows, became active on March 23rd, 1926, when President Calvin Coolidge pushed a button at a ceremony in the White House.

The original dam on Lake Cushman was created by glaciers during the last ice age. The lake was carved out by the glacier, and while retreating, the glacier caused a moraine that dammed the Skokomish River and formed the lake.



2) Lake Cushman’s Name

A copy of the Treaty

A copy of the Treaty


Lake Cushman was named after Orrington Cushman, who served as a translator to Isaac Stevens during the Treaty of Point Elliot. The treaty created reservations for numerous tribes in the newly formed Washington Territory.

The original name, given by the Twana, was E’lo’at. This name was given to the region, including the name of Mount Ellinor. Link: http://bit.ly/1bKT8ds



3) The Antler Hotel

Antler Hotel on Lake Cushman with Mount Ellinor and Mount Washington

Antler Hotel on Lake Cushman with Mount Ellinor and Mount Washington


In 1895, The Antler Hotel was built on Lake Cushman, offering incredible views of the mountains of the region. Arriving by steamship, stage coach and boat, visitors to the region enjoyed the huge forests and beauty of the area. With stunning views of Mount Washing and Mount Ellinor, hiking and exploring really became popular in the region, thanks to the Antler Hotel.

Sadly, Tacoma’s growth as a city meant the end for the Antler Hotel, as the completion of the dam meant rising waters on the lake. The Antler Hotel became a casualty of rising water, and is no more.



4) There May Have Been a Monster in Lake Cushman

Lake Cushman

Lake Cushman


The Quinault Referred to the Skokomish People (the Twana) as “The people who live by the lake with the monster.” While limited information can be found to explain such a claim, long, narrow, deep lakes around the world are rumored to have monsters lurking in their depths.

In the Twana Language, the name for the regions means Fresh Water. More on the Skokomish: http://bit.ly/1h9ysUa



5) The Return of the Fishers



Fishers, a native species which is related minks, weasels, badgers, and otters, have returned to the Lake Cushman region. A study, currently being conducted by the National Forest Service and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, have captured images from remote cameras. This is great news, as the original population of Fishers had been killed off due to trapping for the fur.

Fun Fact: Fishers rarely eat fish. Their diet is mainly shrews, mice, squirrels, birds and even snowshoe hares!

More on Fishers: http://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/fisher.htm



So there you have it; five new and wonderful tales and factoids about Lake Cushman on the Olympic Peninsula. We could have added more, but we feel that those five should be enough to garner some interest to explore the region. Just think, you might see a fisher!


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