Water has shaped not only the geological formation of the region, but its settlement and economic formation as well.Water’s formative role in the history of Latah County will be the focus of an all-day bus tour taking place Saturday. The tour is open to all ages and is held by the Latah County Historical Society. The tour will be led by Earl Bennett, historical society president, and Dulce Kersting, executive director.
The tour departs from Moscow, with a first stop at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. What’s unique about the Moscow facility, Kersting said, is that few people know where it is, despite being in a busy area. When it was first built in 1918, Moscow was one of the few area towns treating its wastewater.
The tour will then head to Potlatch, where the lumber industry played a significant role in the development of the local economy. When the mill site was being decided, Kersting said, Potlatch won out over Moscow because it had a river. It was only later that they learned that the river was too small to transport logs.
A stop at the Spring Valley Reservoir will offer both lunch and a history of the reservoir and its recreational value. In Troy, the group will visit a steelhead restoration site before heading to Genesee to see a wetland restoration site.
The tour’s last stop is at the north end of Nez Perce County with a view from the Lewiston grade down into the valley. The Snake River is one reason the region was settled from west to east — in contrast with the typical east-to-west movement, Kersting said. Many of those who settled in the region came from places near the West Coast like the Willamette Valley. When people heard about the rich, unadulterated land that was still available, the Snake River was a primary avenue used by those who settled the region.
The tour’s focus on the impact that water has had in the region is in anticipation of “Water/Ways,” a Smithsonian traveling exhibit that is coming to Moscow for six weeks, beginning in December. The tour is one of several water-themed events planned ahead of its arrival.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: “Water Marks: A historical tour of Latah and northern Nez Perce counties”
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Departs from and returns to Moscow, call (208) 882-1004 for specific location
COST: $70/person for non-members, $60/person for members; space is limited, reserve your seat by calling (208) 882-1004 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org