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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough, Oregon"
Includes ... Clatskanie River ... Beaver Slough ... Wallace Slough ... "Fannys Bottom" ... Clatskanie/Beaver Slough Floodplain ... Clatskanie ... Port Westward ... April 13, 1949 Earthquake ... Point Adams Fish Station ... Andunde Island ... Campsite of March 25, 1806 ...
Image, 2005, Mouth of the Clatskanie River-Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie River at Point Adams. The Clatskanie River merging into Wallace Slough. View from Point Adams Road bridge, with the Westport Slough floodplain on the left and the northwestern tip of Anunde Island on the right. Image taken February 21, 2005.


Clatskanie River ...
The Clatskanie River is a tributary of Beaver Slough. The mouth of Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough enters Wallace Slough near the upstream end of Wallace Island, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 50. Wallace Slough separates Wallace Island from the Oregon shore. Four miles upstream on the Columbia is Port Westward and Crims Island. Four miles downstream is Puget Island. The Oregon community of Clatskanie lies at Clatskanie River Mile (RM) 3.

Image, 2012, Clatskanie River near Wallace Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie River near Wallace Slough. View of the main branch of the Clatskanie River (often seen labeled "Beaver Slough"), just upstream from where it merges with the Wallace Slough. View from Erickson Dike Road looking towards the northeastern tip of Anunde Island. Image taken August 28, 2012.


Beaver Slough ...
Beaver Slough is a major slough meandering through this Oregon section of the Clatskanie floodplain. Beaver Slough merges with the Clatskanie River approximately 2 miles upstream from the Clatskanie merging with Wallace Slough.

Views of Beaver Slough ...

Image, 2012, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beaver Slough, Oregon, looking west. View from Erickson Dike Road. Image taken August 28, 2012.
Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beaver Slough, Oregon, looking northwest. View from Collins Road. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beaver Slough, Oregon, looking northwest. View from Collins Road. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beaver Slough, Oregon, looking northeast. View from Beaver Dike Road. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Beaver Slough, Oregon, looking southwest. View from Beaver Dike Road. Image taken October 17, 2013.


Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough Floodplain ...
The Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough floodplain stretches from approximately Columbia River Mile (RM) 50 to RM 57. The Oregon development of Port Westward, once the location known as "Oak Point", lies in the middle at RM 53. The floodplain contains many sloughs, wetlands, and grassy fields, levees and dikes as is used primarily for farming and lumber activities. Lewis and Clark called this floodplain "Fanny's Bottom". The Westport Slough floodplain lies west of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough floodplain, stretching from RM 43 to RM 50.

Image, 2012, Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie floodplain, Oregon, looking north. View from the road to Mayger. Image taken August 27, 2012.


Lewis and Clark and the Clatskanie area ...
Lewis and Clark passed the Clatskanie area on November 6, 1805, on their way to the Pacific Ocean. The set up camp across from the floodplain at Cape Horn, Washington. On their return they came through the Clatskanie area and set up camp on March 25, 1806, where they camped on the western bank of "a Small Creek", located in the area of today's Clatskanie/Beaver Slough mouth. They called the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough floodplain "Fanny's Bottom".

"Fanny's Bottom" ...
On the Lewis and Clark journey maps, Crims Island is shown as a single island and called "Fanny's Island", while the large "eligant bottom on the South side" is part of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough/Westport Slough flood plain. It is shown on one map as "Fannys Valley" [Moulton, vol.1, map#81] while another map [map#89] leaves the island and the bottom unnamed. In their text, Lewis and Clark call this area "Fanny's Bottom".
[More]

Campsite of March 25, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of March 25, 1806, was on the western bank of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough (altho possibly a different slough/mouth of the Clatskanie River in 1806, across from the upstream end of Wallace Island). Across the river on the Washington bank was Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 6, 1805, at Cape Horn (Wahkiakum County).

"... it was with some difficulty that we could find a spot proper for an encampment, the shore being a swamp for several miles back; at length late in the evening opposite to the place we had encamped on the 6th of November last; we found the entrance of a small creek which afforded us a safe harbour from the wind and encamped.     the ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. ... " [Lewis, March 25, 1806]

"... the winds in the evening was verry hard, it was with Some dificuelty that we Could find a Spot proper for an encampment, the Shore being a Swamp for Several miles back; at length late in the evening opposit to the place we had encamped on the 6th of Novr. last; we found the enterance of a Small Creek which offered us a Safe harbour from the Winds and Encamped.     the Ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. ..." [Clark, March 25, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was at Aldrich Point, Oregon, and their campsite of March 26, 1806, was on Walker Island.


"Tlatskanai" ...
"Clatskanie was named after the Tlatskanai tribe of American Indian, who lived in the hills south of the Clatskanie River in the upper Nehalem Valley. The Tlatskanai, linguistically an Athapascan tribe, originally lived in the flat lands bordering the Chehalis River in Washington State. As game became scarce and their food supply diminished, they left the area, heading south, and crossed the Columbia River to occupy the hills traditionally occupied by the Chinook Indians, who were a large Indian tribe living along the Oregon Coast. After driving away the more peaceful Chinook Indians, the Tlatskanai established themselves within the Clatskanie-Westport area, and extended their numbers into the head of the Nehalem. The word "Tlatskanai" was used by these Indians to denote the route they took to get to a particular meeting place, applying to particular steams and not to others. White men carelessly applied this work to the name of the steam. One source lists "Tlatskanai" as meaning "swift running water." The Clatskanie is indeed a swift beautiful steam. Other names that existed for the Tlatskanai were the Clackstar, Klatskanai and Klaatshan, among others."

Source:    Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce website, 2004.

Views around the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough Floodplain ...

Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Scenic, Beaver Slough floodplain, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Scenic, Beaver Slough floodplain, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Floodplain, Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Scenic, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough floodplain, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Floodplain, Clatskanie River and Beaver Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
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"Collection", Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough floodplain, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2004, Reflection, Clatskanie River-Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Boat and reflection, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, at mouth. At Point Adams Station. Image taken February 21, 2004.


Clatskanie River, etc.

  • Anunde Island ...
  • Clatskanie River at Clatskanie ...
  • Point Adams Fish Station ...
  • Wigwam Burner ...


Anunde Island ...
Anunde Island is a marshy island at the mouth of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough drainage. Point Adams is located on its northwestern tip.

Image, 2012, Southeastern tip of Anunde Island, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Southeastern tip of Anunde Island. View of the main branch of the Clatskanie River (often seen labeled "Beaver Slough") and the southeastern tip of Anunde Island, just upstream from where it merges with the Wallace Slough. View from Erickson Dike Road. Image taken August 28, 2012.


Clatskanie River at Clatskanie ...
The Oregon community of Clatskanie lies three miles upstream on the Clatskanie River, where Oregon Highway 30 crosses the Clatskanie.
[More]

Image, 2004, Clatskanie River from Clatskanie City Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie River, Oregon, looking downstream from Clatskanie City Park. Image taken February 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Clatskanie River from Clatskanie City Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie River, Oregon, looking upstream from Clatskanie City Park. Image taken February 11, 2004.


Point Adams Fish Station ...
Once the location of a fishing station.

Image, 2005, Point Adams Station, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Point Adams Fish Station, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, at mouth. View from the Point Adams Road bridge looking at the northwestern tip of Anunde Island. Image taken February 21, 2005.
Image, 2005, Point Adams Station, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Salmon, Point Adams Fish Station, Clatskanie River, at mouth. Image taken February 21, 2005.


... 2012 ...

Image, 2012, Point Adams Fish Station, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Point Adams Fish Station, Clatskanie River, at mouth. View from the Point Adams Road bridge looking at the northwestern tip of Anunde Island. Image taken September 17, 2012.
Image, 2012, Point Adams Fish Station, Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, click to enlarge
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Clatskanie River at Point Adams Fish Station, looking upstream. View from the Point Adams Road bridge looking upstream. Image taken September 17, 2012.


Wigwam Burner ...
A wigwam burner, also known as teepee burner or beehive burner, is a free-standing conical steel structure used in logging mills to dispose of waste wood and sawdust. The wigwam burner along Beaver Slough near Clatskanie, Oregon, was part of the Benson Timber Company, a company which began operations in 1902 and closed it doors in 1936. Simon Benson, along with partner O.J. Evenson, were the originators of the unique cigar-shaped ocean-going log raft, known as the "Benson raft". From the mill in Clatskanie, these rafts of logs were then assembled on the quiet waters of Wallace Slough and towed to San Diego, California.

Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Wigwam Burner, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Wigwam Burner on Beaver Slough, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Wigwam Burner on Beaver Slough, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clatskanie, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Wigwam Burner on Beaver Slough, Clatskanie, Oregon. Image taken October 17, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 25, 1806 ...
Last night and this morning are cool wend hard a head and tide going out, after an early brackfast we proceeded on [from their camp near Aldrich Point] about 4 miles and came too on the south side to worm and dry our Selves a little. Soon after we had landed two Indians Came from a War kia cum village on the opposite Side with 2 dogs and a fiew Wappato to Sell neither of which we bought. Som Clatsops passed down in a Canoe loaded with fish and Wappato. as the wind was hard a head and tide against us we Concluded to delay untill the return of the tide which we expected at 1 oClock, at which hour we Set out ...     we crossed over to an Island [Puget Island] on which was a Cath lahmah fishing Camp of one Lodge; here we found <one> 3 man two woman and a couple of boys who must have for Some time for the purpose of taking Sturgeon which they do by trolling. they had 10 or 12 very fine Sturgeon which had not been long taken; [White Sturgeon] ...     we remained at this place about half an hour and then Continued our rout. the winds in the evening was verry hard, it was with Some dificuelty that we Could find a Spot proper for an encampment, the Shore being a Swamp for Several miles back; at length late in the evening opposit to the place we had encamped on the 6th of Novr. last [near Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we fouond the enterance of a Small Creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs/drainages of the Clatskanie River system, near Wallace Island and Wallace Slough] which offered us a Safe harbour from the Winds and Encamped. the Ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number, who had established a temporary residence for the purpose of fishing and takeing Seal ...     here we found Drewyer and the 2 Fields' who had been Seperated from us Since Morning; they had passed on the North Side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearest. the bottom lands are Covered with a Species of Arspine, the Growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the under brush red willow, broad leafed Willow, Seven bark, Goose berry, Green bryor, and the larged leaf thorn; the latter is Now in blume, the nativs inform us that it bears a <leaf> fruit about an Inch in diamieter which is a good to eate. the red willow and 7 bark begin to put foth their leaves. The green bryor which I have before mentioned retains leaves all winter. made 15 Miles.



Lewis, March 25, 1806 ...
The morning being disagreeably cold we remained and took breakfast. at 7 A. M. we set out [from their camp near Aldrich Point] and continued our rout along the South Coast of the river against the wind and a strong current, our progress was of course but slow. at noon we halted and dined. ...     after dinner we passed the river to a large Island [Puget Island] 2 and continued our rout allong the side of the same about a mile when we arrived at a Cathlahmah fishing cam of one lodge; here we found 3 men 2 women and a couple of boys, ...     they had a good stock of fish on board, but did not seem disposed to sell them. we remained at this place [Puget Island] about half an hour and then continued our rout up the Island to it's head and passed to the south side. the wind in the evening was very hard. it was with some difficulty that we could find a spot proper for an encampment, the shore being a swamp for several miles back; at length late in the evening opposite to the place we had encamped on the 6th of November last [Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we found the entrance of a small creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs of the Clatskanie River system] which afforded us a safe harbour from the wind and encamped. the ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number who had established a temperary residence for the purpose of fishing and taking seal. ...   :  here we found Drewyer and the Feildses who had been seperated from us since morning; they had passed on the North side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearer. the bottom lands are covered with cottonwood, the growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the underbrush red willow, broad leafed willow, sevenbark, goosburry, green bryer & the larged leafed thorn; the latter is now in bloom; the natives inform us that it bears a freut about an inch in diameter which is good to eat.-





Clark, March 26, 1806 ...
The wind blew So hard untill 8 A M. that we detained [at their camp on the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough, across from the upstream tip of Wallace Island], we gave a Medal [Jefferson Peace Medals] to a Man by the name of Wal-lal-le a principal man among the Cath lah mahs, he appeared very thankfull for the honor Confured on him and presented us with a large Sturgion [Columbia River White Sturgeon]. we Continued our rout up the river to an old Village on the South Side where we halted for dinner. we met on the way the principal Chief of the Cathlahmahs, Sh-hh-wh-cop, who had been up the river on a trading voyage, he gave us some Wappato and fish, we also purchased Some Wappato Soon after halted for dinner at an Old Village <at> on the South point [today's Port Westward, originally was called "Oak Point"] opposit the lower pt. of Fannys Island [Crims Island]. ...     here our hunters joined us haveing killed 3 Eagles and a large Wild goose. I had now an oppertunity of Comparing the bald <and> with the grey Eagle; I found the grey Eagle about 1/4 largest, its legs and feet were dark which those of the bald eagle were of a fine orrange yellow; the iris of the eye is also of a dark yellowish brown, while that of the Grey is of a light Silvery colour with a Slight admixture of yellow.     after dinner I walked on Shore through an eligant bottom on the South Side [Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough Delta] opposit to Fannys Island [Crims Island]. This bottom we also Call fannys bottom it is extensive and an open leavel plain except near the river bank which is high dry rich oak land [Oak Point]. I saw Some deer & Elk at a distance in the Prarie. we continued untill late in the evening and encamped on a Small Island near the Middle of the river [Walker Island] haveing made 18 Miles. 2 Indians Visited us this evining.





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce website, 2004;    "HistoryLink.org" website, 2012, Earthquake hits Puget Sound area on April 13, 1949, Washington's Online history website;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press;    NOAA Nautical Charts, U.S. Coast Pilot for the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake River, adapted from the U.S. Coast Pilot 7, 31st Edition;    Oregon State Archives website, 2009, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    The Clatskanie Chief, April 15, 1949;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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October 2013