Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge"
Includes ... Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge ... Columbia River Estuary ... Twilight Eagle Sanctuary ... Campsite of November 26, 1805 ... Cathlamet Bay ... Karlson Island ... Tronson Island ... Miller Sands ... Mott Island ... "Termination Islands" ...
Image, 2003, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Cathlamet Bay, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark NWR, Columbia River Estuary, Cathlamet Bay. Looking from the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary viewing platform, across Cathlamet Bay, part of the Columbia River Estuary and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken August 2, 2003.


Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge ...
The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge is located upstream of Astoria, Oregon, and extends from Tongue Point and Cathlamet Bay upstream to Welch Island which is just west of Tenasillahe and Puget Islands. The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbia White-tailed Deer lies on its eastern borders.

The Refuge ...
The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge includes most of the islands and open water in the Lower Columbia River Estuary between Columbia River Mile (RM) 18 and RM 25. The refuge boundary encompasses 35,000 acres of mostly tidelands and open water, and 8,313 acres of islands and sand bars. The islands are accessible by boat. Some of the islands are visible from U.S. Highway 30, five miles east of Astoria, Oregon. The refuge provides wintering and resting areas for estimated up to 1,000 tundra swans, up to 5,000 geese and up to 30,000 ducks. Other species include shorebirds and bald eagles. Estuarine waters provide vital food resources for juvenile salmon as they pause to become acclimated to salt water before entering the Pacific Ocean.

Islands and Sands of the Lewis and Clark NWR ...
Islands and Sands around Cathlamet Head and Knappa Slough
Brush Island  
Fitzpatrick Island
  • In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called an island "Capsize I.", located in the vicinity of today's Fitzpatrick Island.
Goose Island  
Grassy Island  
Horseshoe Island  
Karlson Island
  • The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Karlson Island" official in 1941.
  • Variations in names have been "Carlson" and "Carlsen".
  • Karl Karlson filed a Homestead Claim in 1892.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, show a Karl Karlson being issued a land title for 172.1 acres on February 7, 1893, for parts of T8N R7W Section 6, under the 1820 "Sale-Cash Entry".
  • Good views of Karlson Island can be had from the boat dock at Knappa.
Marsh Island --- Marsh Island Light  
Miller Sands
  • Once called "Snag Island Spit", the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Miller Sands" official in 1959.
Minaker Island  
Pillar Rock Island and Jim Crow Sands  
Quinns Island  
Snag Island  
Tronson Island
  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, show an Iver Tronson being issued a land title for 160 acres on October 31, 1893, for parts of T8N R6W Section 5, under the 1820 "Sale-Cash Entry". Plotted on today's maps that parcel is a little south of Tronson Island near the junction of Prairie Channel, Blind Slough, and Knappa Slough.
  • Good views of Tronson Island can be had from the boat dock at Aldrich Point
Welch Island
  • Early on seen as "Welches Island", the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Welch Island" official in 1915.
  • In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition had Welch Island as part of Tenasillahe Island and called the entire area "Katalamet I.".
Woody Island
  • "... Woody Island   [in 1889]:   This low island is the first fir-covered island near the main channel of the river. As soon as a vessel has rounded Tongue Point this island shows dark and distinct from the other islands to the southwest of it, which are covered with cottonwood and brushes. It lies one mile souteast from Jim Crow Point, and the main channel passes between them. The island is about one mile long, east and west, by half a mile wide. The fir trees are on its western end, with a few straggling ones on the eastern extremity. On the north shore of Woody Island was a fishing station in 1885. ..." [NOAA "Coast Pilot", 1889"]
Islands in Cathlamet Bay
Green Island  
Lois Island
  • The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Lois Island" official in 1976.
McGregor Island  
Mott Island
Russian Island  
Seal Island  

Views around the Lewis and Clark NWR ...

Image, 2004, Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark NWR, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Looking across from Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark NWR, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tronson Island, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Looking across from Aldrich Point, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2003, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Cathlamet Bay, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark NWR, Columbia River Estuary, Cathlamet Bay. Looking from the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary viewing platform, across Cathlamet Bay, part of the Columbia River Estuary and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken August 2, 2003.
Image, 2004, Knappa Slough, Karlson Island, Lewis and Clark NWR, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Knappa Slough, Karlson Island, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Looking upstream on Knappa Slough, with Karlson Island on the left. Image taken June 16, 2004.


Campsite of November 26, 1805 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 26, 1805, was within today's Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, along the south bank of Cathlamet Bay at the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary.
[More]

Early History ...
Lewis and Clark refered to the area of Cathlamet Bay and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Area as the "Seal Islands". See Cathlamet Bay for more information.

In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition grouped the islands of today's Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge together and called them "Termination Islands". His map of this area (Navigation Chart of the Columbia River, Sheet No.2, from Astoria to Katalamet Head) shows no islands near Tongue Point and a different array of islands off the west coast of Cathlamet Head.


Columbia River Estuary ...
The Columbia River Estuary is where the fresh water of the land mingles with the salt water of the ocean. As the Columbia River nears the Pacific, the slowing current deposits the river's silt load to form low, marshy islands and sandbars. Twice a day, the islands are part of the land, and twice they are reclaimed by the water where rising ocean tides slow the river's current. These estuary islands form a chain that begins just above Tongue Point, and follows the Oregon shore of the main channel through Cathlamet Bay and then upriver past Aldrich Point to Welch Island and Tenasillahe Island.

Image, 2004, Cathlamet Bay near Tongue Point, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cathlamet Bay, Oregon, just upstream of Tongue Point, with Mott Island. Mott Island is treed island in the background, and is part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken May 25, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 7, 1805 ...





Clark, November 26, 1805, first draft ...


Clark, November 26, 1805 ...


Whitehouse, November 26, 1805 ...
Tuesday Novemr. 26th    A cloudy wet morning, & we set out early. we proceeded about 1 Mile up the River & then crossed it. In doing of which we passed through several Islands. We proceeded on down the South side of the River, & came to an Inhabited Village of Indians. [Knappa, Oregon] We halted at this place for a short time; ... We continued on still down the River; the day being wet, cold and very disagreeable. We encamped in a thicket on the South shore [today the location of the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary]. ... We saw along the shore, a number of Islands that lay very low & marshy. The Geese, swan & Ducks are in the greatest plenty at this place, & our Hunters killed a number of them.





Clark, November 27, 1805 ...





Clark, March 24, 1806 ...




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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:
  • Astoria-USA website, 2004;
  • Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, "General Land Office Records";
  • Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website, 2004;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2004, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • NOAA's "United States Coast Pilot", 31st edition;
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website, 2004;
  • "TopoZone.com" website, 2006;
  • U.S. Board of Geographic Names website, 2006;
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, 2004;


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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August 2013