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Riffe Valley

At the Riffe Lake overlook is an interpretive marker that tells the story of how Mossyrock Dam’s construction in 1968 flooded the last remnants of Riffe and Kosmos, which were located where Riffe Lake is now. The Riffe original town center marks the former town center.

Prior to construction of the dam, the valley featured farms that alternated with patches of second-growth timber and cutover lands, brilliant with flaming maple, fox glove, and fireweed. Some of the denuded hills already showed the deep gullies of erosion. Here and there were unpainted shacks of clapboard, the families of loggers employed in the near-by logging camps and mills lived. In the more fertile parts of the bottoms were well-cultivated farms, dating back to the late 1800s, with broad fields of grain and clover, meadow lands of timothy and redtop, and occasional orchards.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Riff

Riff was a town in the valley above the Cowlitz River that was flooded as part of the dam construction. Prior to flooding, the town supplied the needs of the adjacent farming and logging area. Here Thomas L. Blankenship fashioned crude ferry boats for early river passage.

Kosmos

Kosmos was a town in the valley that was flooded as part of the dam construction. Prior to the flooding, the town was founded in 1904 when Charles W. Hopkinson built a sawmill and established a post office. Both towns reached their heyday in the 1940s like other nearby railroad-tie milling and logging towns.

Nesika

Nesika was a town in the valley that was flooded as part of the dam construction. The point marks the town center, the town was located along the center of the former valley. The name was chosen by an early settler, Mrs. J. T. Chilcoat, and the source is reported to be the Native American name of the place. The Chinook Jargon designation is for “we, our, ours, us, or mine.” A post office operated from April 1898 to July, 1934.