We hope this will be a beautiful and welcoming place for you,
as it has been for so many of us!
We’re looking forward to having you as our neighbor, and we’d like to help you get to know your new neighborhood. To do that, we’ve put together information on a few things you might find useful. We may not have thought of everything, but here’s a start.
Fire Protection – High Prairie is served by Klickitat County Fire Protection District #14 (aka High Prairie Fire District), which is manned by a group of dedicated volunteers and overseen by a 3-person Board of Commissioners. The main fire hall is at 701 Struck Road and has an attached community center. A second fire hall, on Schilling Road, was put into service in May 2019. The current Fire Commissioners are Philip Haner, James Amery, and Anthony Perry; and the Fire Chief is Tim Darland. The Fire District welcomes any new men or women interested in joining in this highly valued protection for our residents. For information about the Fire District or to volunteer, call Tim at 509-209-4381.
High Prairie Community Council (aka HPCC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health, welfare and education of the High Prairie community. The Community Council is responsible for operating the High Prairie Community Center attached to the main fire hall. It has been instrumental in helping the fire district buy needed equipment and gear, earning money mainly via large fundraisers. The Council rents out the community center, organizes and/or sponsors community events, engages speakers, and otherwise supports community activities. A Board of Directors governs the operations of the Council. The Board usually meets on the 3rd Monday of each month, and a general meeting is held on the 4th Thursday. Everyone in the community is a member by definition, and there are opportunities large and small to be involved. For more information about the HPCC, call Vice-President Sharon Aleckson at 509-365-4429 or Secretary Barb Parrish at 509-281-0933.
Our High Prairie Community Center, attached to the fire station at 701 Struck Road, is a gathering place for many social and fundraising events throughout the year. It can be rented for private occasions such as birthday or anniversary parties when a large space is needed, and it is available for memorial services for community members on a donation basis. A big asset is the full kitchen, which is certified as a commissary kitchen and can be rented along with the hall or by itself for commercial food preparation. The person in charge of rentals changes periodically, so if you ever want more information on possible use of the Community Center, go to Community Center. There is quite a bit of information on the website, and you will also find the most recent contact information in case you have questions.
The High Prairian is a community newsletter published four times a year, in January, April, July, and October. It is available free online to read or print, or for a $5.00 subscription you can have a copy mailed to you each time. The content is all submitted by community members and covers everything from need-to-know information to humorous stories (plus photographs, poems and recipes and more), all pertaining to High Prairie or of interest to the community. You can find current and back issues at The High Prairian. For more information, contact editor Gwen Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-281-1998.
The Community Directory is a handy compilation of participating community members’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and a little about personal interests. Being listed is completely voluntary, and only those listed have access to it. It’s updated once a year. There are two ways to add your information to the directory:
Keeping in Touch – In addition to the Community Directory, High Prairie has a website, a Facebook group, and an email information list.
- •The Website is www.highprairie.us. This has general information about High Prairie; past and current copies of the High Prairian newsletter; information about the Community Council; community center rental information; and more. The webmistress is Cindy Henchell, at email@example.com.
- The Facebook group is named “High Prairie Community.” You can get there by typing the name into thesearch box in Facebook and asking to become a member.
- The email information list is maintained by Barb Parrish, secretary of the Community Council. The list iskept private. To add your email to the list so you can be notified of important events and/or news, send an email to Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firewise – High Prairie is an official Firewise Community. The Firewise program helps individual landowners and entire communities take action to make their homes and neighborhood less vulnerable to wildfire. Since High Prairie is an area that historically has burned periodically, this is valuable information. For information, email Tom McMackin at email@example.com or leave a phone message at 509-365-2786.
Please note that burning in burn barrels is illegal at any time, and a complete outdoor burn ban is enacted by the county from early summer until at least the end of September every year. Outdoor burning regulations for when there is no burn ban in effect are General Information/Outdoor Burning Requirements.
Dark Skies – One magnificent thing we have here on High Prairie is the stars! It’s dark enough for us to really enjoy them, and many of us High Prairians are trying to use night lighting that is focused “downward” so it doesn’t interrupt the view of the night sky. That decision is even more relevant since we have the nationally recognized Goldendale Observatory practically in our backyard.
Library Services are provided by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system. The two libraries closest to High Prairie are in White Salmon and Goldendale, and there are book returns in Lyle, Klickitat, and Alderwood. In addition to traditional library services, the Fort Vancouver system offers many online resources and will mail library materials to homebound patrons or those more than ten miles from a library location. That means everyone on High Prairie can sign up for Books by Mail. A bookmobile stops at High Prairie when the regular routes expand in the summer.
Wildlife, Birds, Bugs, Etc. – High Prairie’s varied terrain and vegetation support a thriving wildlife population, with confirmed sightings of bears, cougars, bobcats, coyotes, black-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, striped skunks, short-tailed weasels, cottontail rabbits, California ground squirrels (greydiggers), and tree squirrels. In addition, residents have reported a badger, a fisher, a black-footed ferret, a wolf, a big horned sheep, and elk. We also have snakes (including rattlesnakes), several species of lizards, and lots of different birds. For the most part, wildlife encounters are harmless and fascinating. There are just a few exceptions to be aware of:
- Predators such as cougars and coyotes will take livestock and, sometimes, pets.
- Bears may get into garbage if it’s not enclosed, and then keep coming back.
- Deer can be dangerous to dogs when defending their fawns.
- Hitting (or swerving to avoid hitting) a deer can lead to serious injury. Slow down and watch for them. Remember that fawns or other deer may be following the one you first spotted.
- Rattlesnakes are a reality, especially in some areas of High Prairie. Avoid putting your hands or feet where you can’t see what’s there, like when you’re picking veggies in your garden or when you’re hiking.
- Bugs: we have a few mosquitoes in spring; and ticks can be a problem in some seasons.
- Sage bugs (aka grass bugs, wheat bugs, stink bugs, etc.) are harmless, but they will drive you nuts – first when they mass in the fall and find every little crack in your house to crawl into, and then in spring when they come out of the woodwork and try to find their way back out!
Ground Water Availability – High Prairie is surrounded by canyons and crisscrossed by faults, so all of our ground water comes from precipitation, which percolates into broken basalt structures underlying the High Prairie plateau. This unusual geography divides our water supply into a lot of small pockets of water rather than one large aquifer, so the adequacy of the supply depends on where a well is located. Klickitat County is monitoring wells in our area to gather accurate data on water level trends in various areas of High Prairie. Because of the unpredictability of our water sources, everyone in the community is encouraged to be conservative with water use.
Cattle and Open Range – Much of Klickitat County, including all of High Prairie and the surrounding area, is classified as “open range” under Washington State and Klickitat County law. Under this long-accepted law-of-the-West, livestock are allowed to roam free regardless of land ownership (in Klickitat County only cattle are still covered by the open range laws). Although this is not usually a problem, it means that if you don’t want cattle on your property it is your responsibility to fence them out; and if you hit one while driving you are liable for the cost of the animal. Potentially more important: Hitting a large animal like a cow can cause serious injury to you and your passengers. Slow down, especially at night, and watch carefully.
Klickitat County Emergency Notification System – You can receive alerts about emergencies and other important community messages. By signing up you will be quickly notified of important critical information such as severe weather, wildfires, floods, street and road closures, missing persons, law enforcement activities and evacuation notifications. You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. To sign up, go to http://www.klickitatemergencymanagement.com and click on the “Register Your Phone” icon at the top of the page.
Klickitat County Government – Klickitat County’s top executive body is an elected 3-member Board of Commissioners. The business of the county is carried out by eight boards or commissions and twenty-three county departments. The city of Goldendale is the county seat. Information about Klickitat County can be found at www.klickitatcounty.org.
State and Federal Representation (as of January 2020)
U.S. Senate – Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell
U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional District 3 – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
Washington State Legislators, District 14 – Sen. Curtis King, Rep. Chris Corry, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker