Skamania is home to Skamania Elementary School and the Skamania General Store. It is also, in Franz Lake, home to wintering grounds for tundra swans, and 35 acres (140,000 m2) of Wapato, previously extinct in Washington and endangered in Oregon, now scarce but stable in both states.
Skamania is situated at 45.61° north latitude, 122.05° west longitude, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
The Stevenson area has been home to Native American settlements for thousands of years. Their villages were focal points for commerce and social gatherings as they came to trade and fish along the riverbanks. Some of the first explorers and missionaries in the area included Lewis & Clark, David Thompson and Dr. Spaulding. They used the Columbia River to get through the Cascade Mountains on their way to the Pacific Ocean. In 1843, the Oregon Trail brought the first settlers there. Pioneers portaged around the Cascade Rapids on their way to the Willamette Valley. Some of these pioneering families chose to stay there. The Stevenson family, who settled there in the 1800s from Missouri, founded the town of Stevenson on the old Shepard donation land claim. Under the supervision of the Stevenson Land Company, George Stevenson purchased the original town site for $24,000 in 1893, building the town along the lower flat near the river. Settlers expanded the original dock to serve the daily arrivals of sternwheelers unloading passengers, cargo and loading logs.
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