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News & Press: Community Spotlights

AIC Shines Its Community Spotlight on Cascade

Wednesday, September 11, 2019  
Posted by: Payton Grover
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The city of Cascade lies on the southeastern shores of Lake Cascade. The city and lake are at the southern end of Long Valley, a 35-mile-long and up to eight-milewide high-mountain meadow that extends north to McCall. Several creeks and two rivers, the North Fork of the Payette and Lake Fork, flow through the valley. The Boise National Forest lies within a few miles of the city. The ridgelines of the West Mountains rise to nearly 8,000 feet and border the lake’s western shoreline. development in recent years of Tamarack Resort across the lake from Cascade and west of Donnelly has advanced Cascade as a resort community. Boise is 73 miles south and McCall is 29 miles north of Cascade.

Historical Tidbits

For centuries, Long Valley and Payette Lake near McCall were the summer hunting and fishing grounds of American Indians. Around 1824 European fur trappers and trading companies began working the area. In 1834 the British Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Boise about 70 miles southwest at the confluence of the Boise and Snake Rivers. A manager of the fort was François Payette, a person whose name settlers gave to several of Long Valley’s natural features. In 1888 Tom McCall and his son Homer arrived in Boise. They had left the rest of the family in Missouri and had come west to find opportunity. Their plan was for Tom’s wife Louisa and the rest of the children to join them when they found the right place to settle. Tom and Homer were in Boise at the Overland Hotel when they heard a trapper give the following description of the land to the north: “I think the Long Valley country is the future cattle country. You just have to see the grass and the fine range up there. Bunch grass belly deep to a horse. And talk about hunting and fishing—why a man can just naturally live off the country if he has some bacon, flour and a few beans. Then there are simply miles and miles of the finest timber that I ever saw—huge yellow pines and firs—acres and acres of them...

Payette Lake at the head of Long Valley (is) the prettiest lake I ever saw in all my life—and just chuck full of big fish. Great big lake trout—and are they gamey. Simply aching to get caught. It’s a region of mountain lakes—just hundreds of them, and all of them great fishing. I never saw so many deer and other game. And the red fish and white fish run every fall—just millions and millions of them.” By early 1889 the family had gathered in Boise. With two wagons, two teams and harnesses, 25 head of cattle, chickens and household goods, they set out for Long Valley and Payette Lake. Ten other families came at the same time, but most staked their homesteads south of Payette Lake. On July 20, 1917, Cascade became an incorporated village.

Amenities and Attractions Today

Lake Cascade State Park is a major attraction bringing thousands of visitors from the Treasure Valley each year. They come to go boating, sailing, windsurfing, and fishing.Tamarack Resort offers skiers a 7,700-foot summit with 2,800-foot vertical drop... The Payette River is a popular river for kayakers seeking adventure shooting the river’s complex rapids. The Thunder Mountain Line offers Scenic Idaho Train Rides. The more prominent of the rides is along the Payette River between Horseshoe Bend and Cascade.


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