Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Bateman Island, Washington"
Includes ... Bateman Island ... "Riverview Island" ... "Backworth Island" ...
Image, 2003, Bateman Island, upstream end, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bateman Island, view of upstream end. Bateman Island is the farthest point upstream on the Columbia River Lewis and Clark ventured. The mouth of the Yakima River is just out of view on the left. Image taken from Island View, Washington, September 29, 2003.


Bateman Island ...
Bateman Island is located on the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 333, between the cities of Richland and Kennewick, Washington. The island is located just downstream of the mouth of the Yakima River "estuary", and upstream of the Pasco-Kennewick "Blue Bridge" and Clover Island. Bateman Island is approximately 2 miles long and 1 mile wide (160-acres), and today is classified as an urban wildlife viewing area. Washington State Department of Transportation highway signs with "binocular icons" identify the area. The island is accessible via a small land-bridge. A 1.5-mile trail circles the island. Bateman Island is home to many species of migratory waterfowl and native animal life, and is a protected area -- collecting, digging or exploring for American Indian artifacts is not allowed.

Lewis and Clark and Bateman Island ...
Lewis and Clark arrived at the junction of the Snake River with the Columbia River on October 16, 1805. Here they set up camp at "a point" between the two rivers, today the location of Sacajawea State Park. On October 17, 1805, while Captain Lewis remained in camp, Captain Clark and a crew of 2 journey up the Columbia River, intending to reach the mouth of the Yakima River. Because of the hour, the crew journeyed as far as Bateman Island before turning around to make it back to camp before dusk, thus making Bateman Island the farthest upstream point of the Columbia River explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition.

"... I took two men in a Small Canoe and assended the Columbia river 10 miles to an Island near the Stard. Shore on which two large Mat Lodges of Indians were drying Salmon, ... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction - from this Island the natives showed me the enterance of a large Westerly fork which they Call Tâpetętt at about 8 miles distant, the evening being late I deturmined to return to the forks, at which place I reached at Dark. ..." [Clark, October 17, 1805]

Image, 2003, Bateman Island, Washington, dowstream tip, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Downstream tip of Bateman Island, Washington. Bateman Island is the greenery on the left. Treed area on the right is the northern bank of the Columbia River. During Lewis and Clark's journey, this area was treeless. Image taken from Columbia Park, Washington, September 29, 2003.

"... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction ..." [Clark, October 17, 1805]


Early Bateman Island ...
Bateman Island was the farthest upstream which the Lewis and Clark expedition explored. On October 17, 1805, Captain Clark and a few of the men journeyed up the Columbia River as far as Bateman Island before turning around.

Early names for Bateman Island is "Backsworth Island", "Backworth Island", or "Riverview Island".

The 1883 "Washington Territory" map, published by the U.S. General Land Office, has Bateman Island labeled "Backsworth I.". The 1897 "Map of the State of Washington", also published by the U.S. General Land Office, has Bateman Island labeled "Backworth Id". Cram's 1909 "Superior Map of Washington" has the island labeled "Backworth Island".

The 1917 topographic map for Pasco has Bateman Island labeled "Riverview I.".

Bateman Island was named after a pioneer family which lived on the island and raised cattle and turkeys. The cement foundation of the family home is still visible on the southeast side of the island. The Bateman Farm was one of many purchased in the early 1950s by the Corps of Engineers before the filling of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam. In 1959 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Bateman Island" the official name.

In August 1980 Bateman Island (Columbia Park Island Archaeological Site) was listed on the Washington Historical Register.


Views of Bateman Island ...

Image, 2003, Bateman Island, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bateman Island, view across. Image taken from Island View, Washington, September 29, 2003.
Image, 2003, Bateman Island, land-bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bateman Island, land-bridge. Image taken from Island View, Washington, September 29, 2003.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 17, 1805 ...
I took two men in a Small Canoe and assended the Columbia river 10 miles to an Island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Shore on which two large Mat Lodges of Indians were drying Salmon, ... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction - from this Island the natives showed me the enterance of a large Westerly fork which they Call Tâpetętt [Yakima River] at about 8 miles distant, the evening being late I deturmined to return to the forks [Snake River with the Columbia River, to their camp at today's Sacajawea State Park], at which place I reached at Dark.     from the point [Sacajawea State Park] up the Columbia River is N. 83° W. 6 miles to the lower point of an Island near the Lard. Side     passed a Island in the middle of the river at 5 miles [Clover Island] at the head of which is a rapid, not dangerous on the Lard Side opposite to this rapid is a fishing place 3 Mat Lodges, and great quants. of Salmon on Scaffolds drying. ...

[Today the Pasco-Kennewick "Blue Bridge" is located at the upsteam head of Clover Island and the "Cable Bridge" is located on the downstream side.]

The Waters of this river is Clear, and a Salmon may be Seen at the deabth of 15 or 20 feet. West 4 miles to the lower point of a large island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Side at 2 Lodges, passed three large lodges on the Stard Side near which great number of Salmon was drying on Scaffolds ...

[Today Columbia Park is located on the south side of the Columbia between Clover Island and Bateman Island, and stretches from Kennewick to Richland, with Pasco on the other side. Today these three cities are known as the "Tri-Cities".]

I Set out & halted or came too on the Island at the two Lodges [Bateman Island]. Several fish was given to me, in return for Which I gave Small pieces of ribbond from those Lodges the natives Showed me the mouth of Tap teel River [Yakima River] about 8 miles above on the west Side this western fork appears to beare nearly West, The main Columbia river N W.- a range of high land to the S W [Horse Heaven Hills] and parralal to the river and at the distance of 2 miles on the Lard. Side, the countrey low on the Stard. Side, and all Coverd. with a weed or plant about 2 & three feet high and resembles the whins. I can proceive a range of mountains to the East which appears to bare N. & South distant about 50 or 60 miles [Blue Mountains]. no wood to be Seen in any derection ...





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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: "Hanford.gov" website, 2006; Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society website, 2007; "REI.com" website, 2006, "REI-Recommended Family Hikes"; "Rootsweb.com" website, 2007; Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau website, 2003; U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006; Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation website, 2006; Washington State University website, 2007, "Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection".

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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September 2008