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Fatal Fall At Lava Canyon


July 18, 2016


On Sunday, July 17, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a subject being swept over the falls at Lava Canyon. The area in question is 20 miles northeast of Cougar, Washington off of the USFS 83 Road in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The incident occurred approximately ¾ of a mile down the Lava Canyon Trail #184.

Deputies and North Country EMS responded to the area and began an immediate search. The initial information received from witnesses and family members was that James Fowler, 25, of Beaverton, Oregon was attempting to navigate his way across the Muddy River, just above the Lava Canyon Falls. Upon stepping off a partially submerged rock, the swift water swept him over the 100’ falls.  A witness on scene observed Fowler’s body floating face down, below the falls. He attempted to reach him but was turned back by the rugged terrain.

The search continued into the evening hours and consisted of the Volcano Rescue Team with Arial support from a fixed wing aircraft. The search was suspended at 9:00 pm, to begin again in the morning.

At approximately 12:30 pm today, July 18th, the body of James Fowler was located and recovered by members of Volcano Rescue Team and Skamania County Sheriff’s Office. Fowler’s remains will be taken to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.

End of Release


Pat Bond