The WSU Bear Center in Pullman

Because we were so close to Pullman when we were in Moscow, ID, Ruth & I decided to go to Pullman, the main city in The Palouse region that includes Southwestern Idaho and Southeast Washington and should be seen to be appreciated. Ruth used to have an Aunt who moved from Missouri to Pomeroy, WA after she married. Aunt Ollie had 13 children, mostly males who became wheat farmers in The Palouse. We loved Aunt Ollie, who became a frontier midwife and lived to be 102, and we visited her as often as we could when we were newly married. One of my great and early travel experiences was being in The Palouse at harvest time and riding the combine that was harvesting wheat for shipment to Japan. This was an unforgettable travel experience that gave me a taste for travel early in life.

Since we were often in The Palouse but never made it to Pullman, we decided to go there after seeing the Appaloosa Museum in Moscow, ID on our recent trip. Pullman and Moscow are, after all, both university towns and very close to each other. In fact, the woman who helped us understand the Appaloosa Museum lived in Pullman and drove to Moscow for her job each day. A further inducement to go to Pullman was to see the WSU Bear Center on the campus of WSU.

There is more to do in Pullman than this bear center, which is all we had the time for on this trip. Just below are the treats we need to go back to Pullman to see in spring, 2023. Pullman is a town of almost 30,000 people just 9.3 miles from Moscow. Pullman sits at the confluence of 3 streams: the South Fork of the Palouse, Missouri Flat Creek, and Dry Creek. I like to think that one of the reasons why Aunt Ollie moved to The Palouse was because of its closeness to a stream called Missouri Flat Creek. She loved The Palouse and put down deep roots in Pomeroy where she raised 13 children.

The other attractions we want to see in Pullman include the many activities on the Washington State University campus. These include 2 art museums, a campus art museum of note and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at SWU, a renowned geology museum, and The Charles R. Conner Natural History museum which showcases 700 birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. We unfortunately were on this campus on the only day that Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe in the Food Quality Building is closed. There is a similar facility in Madison, WI that we love because of its delicious homemade ice cream. The girl at the Appaloosa Museum in Moscow tried to find this ice cream for us in a retail establishment but it’s only available on this campus in this shop. The woman finally gave up trying to find this ice cream for us.

George Pullman, the railroad sleeping car maker in Chicago, was looking for a university to endow when he learned about Pullman in 1884. Washington state officials visited this town in 1890 looking for a site for a new land grant college and eventually caused the renaming of this growing town to Pullman. The agricultural college that opened in 1892 became WSU Pullman where the Cougars play Pac-12 football in 33,000 seat Martin Stadium every year. Ruth and I have repeatedly visited the excellent Schnitzer Art Museum in Eugene, OR and would like to see the one on this campus. We have learned that visitor parking permits can be bought at the WSU Visitor Center at East Main and NE Spring Streets in Pullman where a 90 minute campus walking tour can also be arranged.

The WSU Bear Center that we visited is the only grizzly bear research facility of its kind in the United States. It was quite crowded on the day we were there. It does the work of zoos and is there for both bear conservation and information. As many as 100,000 grizzly bears roam an area that extends from Alaska to Mexico in the United States. These bears represent a rather low population in this habitat and are considered endangered or threatened especially in the North Cascades and Selkirk Mountains of Washington. Conservation programs like this one at WSU strive to increase their numbers. It was established in 1986 with 6 indoor/outdoor dens and an exercise yard for its hairy and hardy residents to roam freely. Grizzlies are always available and visible in this one-of-a-kind facility. This is a great opportunity to see living and thriving yet contained bears in Pullman.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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