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Lewiston is the farthest inland seaport in the Western United States. That might be an arcane distinction, but Idaho's many navigable rivers give it an advantage over dryer inland Western states. Despite Idaho's not-quite-landlocked status, boats going to and from the Pacific Ocean prior to the advent of big rigs didn't have an easy ride. They had to pass through Hell's Canyon—a geographical feature not known for its forgiveness.

Beginning at 7 p.m. at the Yanke Family Research Park at 220 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Idaho Humanities Council speaker Carole Simon-Smolinski will deliver a free address on the subject of mailboats that traversed Hell's Canyon just to deliver the mail. A river mail route between Lewiston and Johnson Bar was a lifeline to the miners and ranchers in the area—Simon-Smolinsky tells the stories of the people who lived there and the boats that kept them connected to the outside world.