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Rattlesnakes at the lake?

Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend has been a haven for anglers, outdoor enthusiasts and high-school students looking to cool off during hot summer seasons for years. But if there are no poisonous snakes in Western Washington, how in the world did the lake receive its name?

Rattlesnake Lake received its name around 1850 from a survey group that included Arthur A. Denny, the great Seattle pioneer. As the story goes, the area was going by the name of Rattlesnake Prairie when one of the workers in the survey group heard the wind rattle camas seed pods. The worker, thinking he was hearing rattlesnakes, was sure he'd be attacked. The survey party included American Indian guides, who may have told him of "Rattlesnake Mountain."

According to the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed Web site, Indian oral tradition indicates that rattlesnakes once lived on the west side of the Cascades.

* For information on Rattlesnake Lake and the Cedar River Watershed, visit

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