Calendar of Events (Sunrise/Sunset)
"How To" Set up a Balloon Instructions
75th Anniviversary Stratospheric Balloon Launch
Stratospheric Balloon History
Stratospheric Balloon Biographies
Local To Do (Eats, sleeps, hikes, wines, history)


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Morning Star Balloon Company and Clark County, WA have many adventures in store for you.  So many things to see, so many places to go, to eat, to drink, be merry, etc.  When planning on a balloon flight, how about spending the weekend and enjoying a little part of SW Washington.  Below is a little history of our flight area, along with a listing of accommodations, healthy eateries, cool things to do, and great wineries to visit.

Call us at (360) 601-2433.

Captain Crystal, Dr. Don, Charlie, & Kuma

(+ Travel to Launch Site)

Battle Ground Lake State Park, Battle Ground, WA
10 Mins East
Big Fir Campground & RV Park, Ridgefield, WA
(360) 887-8970
10 Mins West
Tri Mountain RV Park, Ridgefield, WA
(360) 887-8983
10 Mins West
Paradise Point State Park, Ridgefield, WA
(888) 226-7688
15 Mins NW
Woodland Shores RV Park - Woodland, WA
(360) 225-2222/
(800) 481-2224
25 Mins NW


Coyote Ridge B&B, LaCenter, WA
(360) 263-2521
20 Mins North
Lewis River B&B, Woodland, WA
(360) 225-8630
25 Mins North


Best Western Inn, Battle Ground, WA
(360) 687-8881
2 Mins East

Gateway Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Salmon Creek, WA
(360) 576-1040 or (800) HOLIDAY
15 Mins South


Laurelwood Brew/Pub - 1401 SE Rasmussen Blvd., (360)723-0937

Keo Thai Cuisine 
1800 S.W. 9th Ave, (360)666-6269

801 East Main Street, (360)666-4877


Myrtle's Teahouse, (360)887-9018 Reservations Req.

Pacific NW Best Fish Co.
24415 NE 10th Ave. (360)887-4268

Pioneer Street Cafe
207 Pioneer Str,  (360)887-8001


Tsushi Tsunami
7415 NE Hwy 99
(360) 695-0180

Salmon Creek Brew/Pub - 108 West Evergreen Blvd (360) 993-1827

WINERIES (By Proximity)


East Fork Cellars

Three Brothers



Rusty Grape

Olequa Cellars

Heisen House


Benke Cellars


Gouger Cellars

English Estates

HISTORY of our Flight Area

Battle Ground, WA

Morning Star Balloon Co. calls Battle Ground, WA her home-base for hot air balloon flights.  Battle Ground is located in middle Clark County, WA between the East Fork of the Lewis River and Salmon Creek and has a most unique historical background.  The Battle Ground area was first occupied by groups of thepics/img_2232.jpg (909498 bytes) Cathlapootle or Lewis River Indian tribe.  This tribe consisted of hunters and gathers who lived on fish from the nearby rivers and the streams, wild game, a tuber-like potato called wapato, huckleberries, blackberries and blueberries.  The origin of the City's name "Battle Ground" came from a battle that never took place.  The story goes in 1855 relations between white settlers and local Indian tribes were festering into deadly skirmishes in the Northwest.  A tribe of Klickitat Indians, who were in "protective custody", escaped Fort Vancouver along the Columbia River and traveled north 10 miles to the Battle Ground area.  Captain Strong headed an Army detail charged with bringing the Indians back in a peacemaking exercise.   After contacting the escaped tribe, Strong got the Indians to promise to return to the Fort.  One Indian brave was not satisfied with Chief Umtuch's decision to return and killed the Chief.  Strong allowed the Indians to perform a traditional burial of their dead leader while he returned to the Fort with their promise to return.    Upon the army's return without the Indians, the settlers at the Fort chided the solders for not waging a battled.  The Indians did return and for not forcefully bringing back the Indians Strong was presented a petticoat for "bravery and courage."  This area then became known as "Strong's Battle Ground."  

The amended Homestead Act of 1862 allowed urban homesteaders to own the land if improvements were made for a five year period.  In the 1870s a community had begun to form and regular mail service was established in 1871.  The first school was located at the entrance of Battle Ground Lake State Park.   The completion of the Vancouver, Klickitat, and Yakima Railroad took place in 1901 and created a surge of development.  In the 1900s a telegraph line linked Battle Ground with the rest of Clark County and Portland, OR. 

In 1903, the railroad finished construction of warehouses, storehouses, and a hotel. The town was first plotted in 1902-1903.  In 1904 Battle Ground boasted 101 in population including children and boarders.  By the 1920s, Battle Ground established several dairy cooperatives for processing milk and cheese, a cannery, grain elevator, and an ice plant.   Records show 1/3 of all dairy consumed by Portland came from this farming community.  By 1928  logging in northern Clark County was a way of life, as well as farming and improved transportation.  In 1942 incorporation was presented to the townspeople of Battle Ground and failed.  It was rekindled in 1950 and finally passed on May 28, 1951. 

Terrain in Battle Ground is relatively flat with few trees.  This is great for hot air ballooning and, since the landowners are so friendly, permission to launch and land is easy to acquire.  It is nestled at the foot of the Cascade Mountains with an elevation of 280' above sea level.  Average rainfall is 48 inches with mild to moderate winters averaging 42 degrees Fahrenheit.  Average summer temperatures are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once a hot air balloon is above 2,000', the view is spectacular with Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens to the north, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood to the east, and The Three Sisters and Mt. Washington to the south.  If you fly high enough, and the air is clear, a view of the Pacific coast beaches can be seen to the west.

Ridgefield, WA

Morning Star Balloon Co. flies on the east side of the Ridgefield area.  The original inhabitants of the Ridgefield area were a Chinook tribe whose village was located along the banks of Lake River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition visited the area twice, once in 1805 enroute to the Pacific Ocean and once in 1806 on the return voyage. The Chinook Indians stayed until 1876 when they relocated at the mouth of the Lewis River.  In 1840, a young Irish immigrant named James Carty filed the first Land Donation Claim in the area, a portion of which is in what is the present day northern part of Ridgefield's downtown. His nephew, James Carty, visited in 1860 and later settled in the area in 1872. History indicates that Mr. Carty was the only settler until 1853, when Frederick Shobert arrived to homestead 320 acres, which included in the southern portion of the city's current downtown. Most of this homestead was covered with heavy timber and family members say this was the reason that Mr. Shobert selected this land so that he could log the timber.   In the years that followed, more settlers were drawn to the gently sloping land extending from elevated highland to the banks of Lake River.

pics/img_2233.jpg (345168 bytes)The original name of the community was Union Ridge due to the number of residents originating from the Union Ranks of the Civil War. The name was changed to Ridgefield in 1890 after S. P. Mackay successfully circulated a petition to rename the area.  The Post Office was established in the home of Asa Richardson on September 15, 1865.  Commerce came to Ridgefield in 1882 when Stephen Shobert and J.J. Thompson opened the first store.  In 1892 the first schoolhouse opened and in 1893 the first telephone was installed.  On January 6, 1911 a larger 8 room school building opened which is today known as View Ridge Middle School.  At a special election held on August 20, 1909 the people voted in favor of incorporation. Ridgefield State Bank opened on February 21, 1910.  On January 1916 the first electric service was established by Bratlie Lumber Company and by December 27 that same year the steamboat "City of Ridgefield" was launched for a Ridgefield-Portland run. 

Ridgefield's main crop was potatoes and on May 12, 1928 the Clark County Potato Growers Associated was organized.  Hence why the local high school mascot is a "Spudder".  Unfortunately a blight stole through the area and forced the potato growers to move their operation to dryer climate in Idaho.   To this day, landowners who dig deep will find red clay pipes used for irrigation.

In the fall of 1945, L.S. Schoen built the first U-Haul trailer in a tool shed at the Carty Ranch.  This was the official birthplace of U-haul.  On April 26, 1946, the Old Liberty Theater opened and is still in existence today orchestrating traveling musical groups and offering a place to sit a spell, have a hot drink, and reminisce with locals.  Ridgefield also boasts of having the largest sequoia in Washington State located along Main and in plain view (please don't walk on the neighbor's front yard for pictures).  Ridgefield is a quaint town with a few intersecting roads.  Every October, a bird festival is held for the sandhill cranes who travel south from Canada enroute for warmer climate. 

LaCenter, WA

North of the Morning Star Balloon Co. flight area is LaCenter, WA.  In the 1870s, La Center was a business center and head of navigation on the east fork of the Lewis River, Sternwheeler Mascota tributary of the Columbia River downriver from Vancouver, Washington. In late summer, the regular schedules of the steamers "Mascot" and "Walker", paddle-wheeling to Portland, were often interrupted by low water. Passengers and freight were transferred to scows, which were poled up the river or towed by horses along the bank.  Steamboat Mascot, built in 1890, rebuilt 1908, and burned in 1911.  In the early part of the 1900s, sternwheeler business was dominated by the Lewis River Transportation Company, in which a prominent businessman Jacob Kamm was interested. By 1904, Leona was brought on as an opposition boat.   In 1912, Leona burned on the Lewis river near what is now the modern town of La Center, Washington. The wreck of the Leona is still visible on the Lewis River at low water during July and August.  The wreck site is reported to be on the west side of the Lewis River bridge at La Center, WashingtonPictured here is the Daisy Ainsworth very similar to the boats used up and down the Lewis River.  

With the arrival of railroads and highways, La Center lost importance and lapsed into a small village serving the surrounding farming district. La Center was officially incorporated on August 27, 1909. Its population in 1940 was 192.   The population was 1,654 at the 2000 census. The city is home to four card rooms (casinos) which allow gambling on card games and poker, but not slots. The four casinos are the New Frontier, The Phoenix, Chips and Palace.


Tri-Mountain Golf
Ridgefield, WA

Cedars Golf Course
Battle Ground, WA

Ft. Vancouver Historic Site
Vancouver, WA

Pearson Air Museum Vancouver, WA
The oldest operating airfield in the United States. A dirigible dirigible landed there in 1905 and the first airplane landed there in 1911. The world's first nonstop transpolar flight left Moscow and landed here on 20 June 1937, while Gen. George C. Marshall was the commanding officer of Vancouver Barracks.

Mt. St. Helens National Monument & Ape Caves Ape Cave is the longest lava tube in the US (12,810 feet), but you'll need a flashlight or a lantern if you want to see it.

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge
Ridgefield, WA

The 1876 Cedar Creek Grist Mill, 360/225-9552, located on Grist Mill Road off NE Cedar Creek Road, occupies the south side of Lewis River 10 miles east of Woodland and is still in operation. The mill is open on weekends in the summer, and volunteers demonstrate the way wheat is ground into flour.

The world's tallest single-tree totem polestands in Marine Park in Kalama, WA (30 mins north).  The Port of Kalama on the Columbia River can accommodate large oceangoing vessels.

Columbia River Waterfront Trail, a four-mile trail beginning at the Captain Vancouver Monument in Vancouver and going up-river to Tidewater Cove, passes a seven-foot bronze statue of a 19th-century Chinook, indigenous people of North America (Native American tribe of the Penutian linguistic stock).  The trail also passes Old Apple Tree Park "great grandfather of the Washington apple industry" and planted in 1826.   To this day the tree still bears fruit.  The trail also passes Marine Park, where Henry Kaiser built his "Liberty Ships" during World War II.

There are a lot of things to do in our Flight area.  Go to the city pages for calendars of upcoming events and lots of stuff to do in Clark County.

See Also:

Brush Prairie

Clark County "Sleep Country"

Clark County Event Center & Fairgrounds

Portland International Raceway (PIR)

Morning Star Balloon Co.
Battle Ground, WA
Celebrating over 25 Years of flying the skies of SW Washington & Beyond

(360) 601-2433 - airboss@nwplace.com

Established on the Web:  Dec. 1996