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Orofino ("fine gold" [ore] in Spanish) is a town in and the county seat of Clearwater County, Idaho, along Orofino Creek and the north bank of the Clearwater River. It is the major city within the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. The population was 3,142 at the 2010 census.
Nearby is the historical "Canoe Camp," where the Lewis and Clark expedition built five new dugout canoes and embarked on October 7, 1805, downstream to the Pacific Ocean. Some 4 miles (6.4 km) north of town is the Dworshak Dam, third-highest dam in the United States, completed in the early 1970s. Nearby is the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, started to try to compensate for the loss of migratory fish upstream after the dam was constructed.
Originally the name was two words, Oro Fino, applied to a gold mining camp established in 1861 two miles (3 km) south of Pierce; it is now a ghost town. When the United States government opened up the Nez Percé reservation to non-tribal settlers in 1895, thousands of European Americans rushed to lay claims to land. Clifford Fuller set up a trading post on his new homestead. The town (Orofino-on-the-Clearwater) was established the next year.
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