It is true to say that people in general are fascinated by strange things and goings-on, yet the Hanford Reach on the bank of river Colombia surely has to go down as one of the strangest tourist attractions on the planet. If you heard that Chernobyl in Ukraine has become a tourist hotspot, then you would most probably think that it is erroneous information. However, Hanford Reach is growing in popularity at an impressive rate and some agencies are profiting from organising kayak trips and other tours to the dysfunctional nuclear reactor, whose history is probably what most visitors have the most interest in.
It was once notorious for being the most polluted part of America and evidence of the horrors of World War II. It was in Hanford Reach that the government, in the mid 1960’s introduced 9 nuclear reactors reminiscent of the bomb which destroyed Nagasaki during the Second World War. Tourists are clearly lured by being reminded of the famous mushroom images developing in the skies of 1940’s Japan.
The site was even close to being labelled a ‘no-go’ zone by the American government due to the extremely high levels of contamination. However, as the 100 surrounding acres of land have even begun to show signs of life in the last 40 years, the US government has come to the conclusion that Hanford Reach should be labelled a national monument. Local tourist organisations certainly agree. The kayak tours are increasing in popularity and the reputation of the site is positively changing. The Chernobyl analogy is beginning to look more and more likely to become a reality if the success story of Hanford Reach’s recent history is anything to go by.