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The Lake Roosevelt Destination is situated in the northeast corner of the state of Washington in the United States. Named after Lake Roosevelt—otherwise referred to as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake—the destination is home to sizable forested regions, multiple bodies of freshwater, and cities such as Spokane, Medical Lake, and Davenport. Much of the recreation that occurs in the destination is centered around outdoor attractions such as fishing, boating, hiking, and visiting parks. Spokane, the largest city in the Lake Roosevelt Destination—is home to over 200,000 residents and an assortment of activities such as the River Park Square, the Riverfront Park, and the Spokane Convention Center.[4] Lake Roosevelt itself stretches upriver for approximately 150 miles depending on how full it is. The reservoir averages a width of 4,000 feet and a depth of 375 feet, meaning that the body of water has a deceptively large volume. Some of the lake's primary functions include providing hydropower at the Grand Coulee Dam, containing water storage for flood control, and housing hatcheries for rainbow trout and kokanee. Both species of fish have populations of over 500,000 in the reservoir that are replenished annually.[6]

What Spokane is known for

As a section of the Columbia River dammed behind the Grand Coulee Dam, Lake Roosevelt is the namesake of the Lake Roosevelt Destination. The reservoir's more formal name is Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, named in honor of the president of the United States that authorized the construction of the dam, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[6] Apart from the lake—in addition to a sizeable proportion of the Columbia River—the area is home to the Colville National Forest and Spokane, Washington. The entire destination is within Washington's state boundaries, with the eastern edge of the Lake Roosevelt Destination perfectly following the border with Idaho.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake has a maximum height capacity of 1,290 feet above sea level, and at that volume, it stretches approximately 150 miles upriver. The average width of the lake is 4,000 feet, while the average depth is roughly 375 feet. Owing to its deceptively deep waters, the body of water has a volume that would mean that "if all of the water in the lake were divided evenly among all Americans [in 1949], each would receive an amount equivalent to two-and-a-half railroad tank cars."[6] This contrast in width and depth has caused the National Park Service of the United States to call the reservoir "A long lake with a deep story."[9] 

The primary roles that Lake Roosevelt fulfills in the area are to provide water storage for flood control and the hydropower generated at Grand Coulee, as well as other dams further downriver. Regarding recreation, the reservoir is home to hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout and kokanee, in addition to more than 30 other species of fish. This has caused the lake to become "something of a playground for public fishing and boating." These recreational activities, among others, help to drive the economy of the area. In particular, the Colville Tribe operates a houseboat rental service for the lake that "is popular with summer tourists."[6]

Apart from the namesake of the region itself, Spokane to the southeast is one of the bigger draws for tourism in the area. In 2018 there were an estimated 9.44 million visitors to the city who spent a combined $1.3 billion. Generally speaking, the town saw tourism increases of between 4 and 5% each year from 2015 to 2018.[8] Though many of the city's attractions are based on outdoor experiences—boating, fishing, visiting parks, and hiking, to name a few—Spokane is home to various theaters, bistros, spas, museums, concert houses, and casinos. The River Park Square Shopping Center is described as being located "at the heart of downtown" and contains merchandise from recognizable retailers such as Nike, Apple, and Nordstrom. Finally, Spokane Falls cuts directly through the city and allows for "natural beauty" to integrate with the "bustle of the city."[3]


The entirety of the Lake Roosevelt Destination is within the state borders of Washington in the United States. Much of the destination is comprised of the state's dense northeast forests, with a selection of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs as well. The boundaries of the region follow Washington's eastern border with Idaho and the northern border that the state shares with the province of British Columbia in Canada. The southern point of the designated region encompasses towns such as Spokane, Cheney, and Davenport before curving upward to include the majority of the Colville Reservation. Many of the cities in the Lake Roosevelt Destination are small communities, with Spokane being the largest urbanized area.

Eastern Washington is home to a variety of wildlife and plants that are indigenous to forested environments. Black bears, coyotes, elk, moose, and cougars are some of the largest mammals that can be found in the general area, though a mix of birds, insects, and reptiles are also present. With regard to trees and other native flora, eastern Washington is a breeding ground for Ponderosa pine trees, daisies, desert parsley, Bonneville shooting stars, and quaking aspen.[7]

Spokane, Washington, is a city in the Lake Roosevelt Destination with extensive climate data. On average, the city experiences 17 inches of rain per year and an estimated 44 inches of snow. Over half of the days in a year in Spokane are cloudy to some degree, and roughly 115 days contain some form of precipitation annually. Temperatures in the Lake Roosevelt Destination vary fairly extensively from season to season, with low winter temperatures below freezing and high summer temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit on occasion. Tourists who have visited the area—Spokane in particular—rate the climate to be quite favorable (9.2/10) in the summer, though much less so in winter (4/10). Though such ratings are subject to opinion, it is reported that, on average, people consider August, July, and September to be the "most pleasant months in Spokane."[5]


Created in 1941 as a result of the Grand Coulee Dam's impoundment of the Columbia River, Lake Roosevelt (more formally known as Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake) is the namesake of the Lake Roosevelt Destination. The original name for the body of water was Columbia Reservoir, and some people at the time referred to it as Empire Lake. It wouldn't be until 1945 that the lake would be renamed following the passing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States. He had "championed" the Grand Coulee Dam and was a strong advocate for any legislation involved in its creation. Today, the reservoir remains the largest of its kind in the state of Washington.[1]

Much of the history regarding the immediate area can be linked to Spokane, Washington, another city within the destination. Acting as the county seat of Spokane County, the city is home to over 200,000 residents. The town was created as a result of fur trapping expeditions initiated by the Northwest Fur Company in the early 1800s. Two men, Finan McDonald and Jacques Raphael Finlay were tasked with establishing a fur trading post on the Spokane River. These operations continued for 16 years until the Northwest Fur Company merged with other businesses. It would still be a number of decades before the post developed enough to be incorporated as a city on November 29, 1881. At that time, the town had a population of approximately 1,000 people, though later discoveries of gold, silver, and other precious metals would cause the region to see more extensive growth in the late 19th century.[4]

In modern times, the city of Spokane has begun processes to transition its economy to have an emphasis on services rather than physical goods. The "catalyst" for this change was the opening of the River Park Square in 1999, though since then, various large businesses have been established to continue these efforts, such as the Spokane Convention Center and the Big Easy Concert House.[4]