Hanford Reach National Monument x Morgan

Protected by Presidential Proclamation in 2000, the Hanford Reach National Monument is a place of sweeping vistas and stark beauty, of towering bluffs and delicate flowers. Wildlife abounds in this harsh landscape—rare is a trip along the river that doesn't produce mule deer, coyotes, bald eagles, great blue herons, or white pelicans. A large elk herd hides in the canyons, and incredibly, porcupines are a common sight. Rare plants defy the desert, wind and heat. Beautiful spring wildflower displays delight the visitor who ventures into the field.

The Monument is also a reminder of our history as a nation. Plutonium reactors stand along the river, remnants of WWII and the Cold War. Plutonium from B Reactor fueled "Fat Man," the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945. No longer in production, these reactors are now being dismantled, but their legacy remains in now radioactive clams. 

I visited the monument a few years ago hoping to go on a hike. Sadly, I couldn't find any of the hiking trails, but I did find beautiful views and a few cool rocks to take home.  I was an amateur photographer at the time, but I continued to think about the beauty of the reach for the years to come.  Morgan, the model, is leaving for New York soon.  So, what better way to go out than with a bang? 

The Hanford Reach has the last free-flowing stretch of the 1,243-mile Columbia River and contains some of the most productive salmon spawning areas in the Pacific Northwest.  In surveys conducted by the Nature Conservancy in the 90's, dozens of plants and insect species previously unknown to science were found in this tiny sector of Eastern Washington.  The sedimentary rocks that surround the reach are full of fossils, from mammoths to leaves. Last year, the protection status of this region was up for debate.  Luckily, Washington decided to continue to protect the biodiversity and beauty of the Hanford Reach.  The day will come when its status will be up for debate again, but I hope that through these photos and these words, you will come to appreciate the Hanford Reach as much as I do.  It is a beautiful place that needs to be protected and defended. 

Model: Morgan Bowden, @morgan_9_ on Instagram

Clothing and Accessories: Threads Boutique, @threadsboutique.wa on Instagram

Jewelry: Fugio Designs, @fugiodesigns on Instagram 

Makeup Artist: Jacquelyn Ochoa, @jackieo_mua on Instagram 

ALL photos taken in natural light with a Canon 6D and a Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART lens 

 

Emily McLaughlin