Over the course of this past week, I completed a draft of my story map for the waterfall experience and conducted background research on human history in the Columbia River Gorge. Choosing which details to include or exclude for my brief historical background was a challenge because of how historically rich the area is. Considering that my project considers questions regarding tourism, components of the waterfall experience, and why people visit the waterfalls here, I guided my focus towards more recent historical details. Also, since my scholarly essay is by no means purely historical in nature, it was essential not to go overboard by relaying a full historical account of the Columbia River Gorge.
Looking into the building of key infrastructure like the construction of the National Scenic Highway, Interstate 84, and the Multnomah Falls Lodge was essential as these were the means by which early visitors could access the area. The Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway (built between 1913 and 1922) was particularly significant as it was the first planned “scenic” roadway built in the United States. Upon completion, it was considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be “a destination onto itself.” This highway allowed visitors to access notable landmarks like Multnomah Falls with ease and was a major step in solidifying the area as a tourist destination.
In consideration of tourist development at waterfalls in particular, The Multnomah Falls Lodge allowed visitors to stay overnight at the waterfall – offering plentiful amenities. Completed in 1925, the lodge was meant to provide visitors with a comfortable and luxurious stay. The footpaths to the waterfall and Benson Bridge were also completed at this time. To this day, the lodge is an essential stop for people visiting Multnomah Falls as they can buy food, souvenirs, and gain information from a visitor center. Aside from the history of key infrastructure, I will also describe the origins of the National Scenic Act which solidified much of the Oregon side of the Gorge as a National Scenic Area. This act goes hand in hand with the Columbia River Gorge Management Plan which was written by the Gorge Commission . This plan describes land management in the area, use of natural resources, rules for building construction, and fulfillment of the goals written about in the National Scenic Act.
With regards to my map, I’ve inserted the information needed and photos necessary for its layout. My map is in a “cascade” format which blends narratives, maps, and images. I enjoyed laying out the waterfall experience in such a visual and engaging way – particularly with regards to the integration of my own photographs. However, I’m still figuring out some components of the program regarding layout and the insertion of certain maps as a background image. The most pressing issue for me at the moment is comparing seasonal changes in people’s experiences at the waterfalls as I’d like to display my data and images from both seasons as a side by side comparison. Considering the “cascade” format of my map, this doesn’t yet seem possible but I’m experimenting with the program to arrive at a solution.