fallcolorsA Welsh emigrant named this small community for his native home of Usk, Wales, U.K. The similarity of the locations was amazing; both communities were in the middle of the county approximately 16 miles north of a community called Newport and 1 mile south of Cusick.

Usk is in the beautiful Calispel Valley, the largest in Pend Oreille County, and is surrounded by the Selkirk Mountain range. In the spring when the camas are in bloom, a profusion of flowers appear as a sea of blue.

To the east, across the river, is the Kalispel Tribe of Indians’ Reservation. It is one of the smallest in the U.S., with a population of approximately 225 persons. The Tribe has been here for thousands of years, bringing its great heritage to the area and community. Kalispel means “Camas people,” and the tribe had territorial rights to some of the richest camas fields in the region. Camas bulbs provided much needed carbohydrates to the diet of the Indians. Cooked in earth ovens, they tasted like sweet, smoky figs. Remains of ovens found today at the Pioneer Park archeological dig along the Pend Oreille River date back more than 4,000 years. Today the Kalispel tribe operates a buffalo ranch that has an excellent viewpoint for visitors and a bass fish hatchery that may be visited by advance reservation.

There are two industrial operations and several small businesses that keep this little community on the map. Several historic buildings still remain after WWII and the flood of 1948. There is gas, a convenience store and US Post Office located in Usk.

Usk is an access point to recreation via Kings Lake Road and LeClerc Road via a bridge crossing the Pend Oreille River. Kings Lake Sno-Park & Recreation Area is a park that offers groomed and ungroomed motorized trails, cross country Nordic ski trails, snowshoe and dogsled trails and a snow play area. There is a day use shelter and restrooms with camping permitted in the parking large parking lot. The LeClerc Road can be accessed through Usk via the bridge. LeClerc Road parallels Hwy 20 on the eastern side of the Pend Oreille River and is a good alternate route for cyclists.