Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Battle Ground Lake, Washington"
Includes ... Battle Ground Lake ... Boring Lava Field ... Maar Volcano ...
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battle Ground Lake State Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.

Battle Ground Lake, Washington ...
Battle Ground Lake (often erroneously seen spelled "Battleground Lake") is a small maar volcano of the Boring Lava Field. A maar volcano is the result of hot lava or magma pushing up near the surface of the earth and then coming into contact with underground water. This results in a large steam explosion, leaving a crater that later forms a lake.

Boring Lava Field ...

"The Portland area has its share of volcanic buttes, including Mount Tabor, Rocky Butte, and Mount Sylvan. These and dozens more local buttes are part of the Boring volcanic field, named for the town of Boring. They first developed about 2 million years ago as faulting pulled the Portland Basin apart, and may have opened the Willamette Valley to the south as well. However, many of these small volcanic vents have proven to be quite young. Rocky Butte, on the east side of Portland, erupted a mere 98,000 years ago. To the north, near Vancouver, Washington, Battle Ground Lake State Park protects a volcanic vent only about 105,000 years old. Some geologists regard the Boring volcanic field as still potentially active."

Source:    Ellen Morris Biship and John E. Allen, 2004, Hiking Oregon's Geology, The Mountaineers Books.

About the Lake ...
"A published study of the lake's sediments showed that the lake has been in existence for at least 20,000 years and has continuously accumulated sediment through most of that time (Barnosky, 1985). Researchers found that in recent history, the last 5,000 years, vegetation was represented by the extensive closed coniferous forests seen today, with hemlock and western red cedar dominating the areas of forest undisturbed by logging.

Battle Ground Lake has a surface area of about 26 acres and a perimeter of about 4,000 feet. Maximum depth is believed to be about 60 feet near the center of the lake, although a few lake users have reported deeper regions believed to be volcanic cracks in the bedrock supporting the lake basin. The lake has a very small watershed, only slightly larger than the surface of the lake itself. ...

With no permanent surface inflow or outflow, precipitation is likely the primary source of water for the lake. The lake's surface elevation is about 500 feet above mean sea level. Given the geologic setting, the topography of the area, and taking into account several surface springs that are reported in the region surrounding the lake, it is likely that Battle Ground Lake is essentially in equilibrium with the regional water table, with the direction of flow varying throughout the season (Rod Swanson, personal communication, January 2004). ...   Average annual percipitation and snow deposition is about 52 inches and 6 inches, respectively."

Source:    Ron Wierenga, 2004 ,Battle Ground Lake Assessment Technical Report, Clark County Public Works

Views of Battle Ground Lake ...

Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Dock, Battle Ground Lake State Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battle Ground Lake, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battle Ground Lake, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battle Ground Lake, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Battle Ground Lake, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.

Battle Ground Lake State Park ...
The 280-acre Battle Ground Lake State Park is located 21 miles northeast of Vancouver, Washington. The park offers five miles of horse trails and a primitive equestrian camping area. The spring-fed lake is stocked with trout and is a favorite of anglers

Reflections ...

Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Reflections, Battle Ground Lake State Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.

The "Battle" in Battle Ground Lake ...

"This area was named for a battle that settlers at Fort Vancouver expected to happen in 1855 between U.S. Army soldiers and some Klickitat Indians. The battle never occurred. Captain Strong, the post commander, allowed some Indians to leave the fort on the promise that they would return after burying their chief, who had been accidentally killed. Most fort residents believed a battle would ensue to get the Indians to return, and therefore dubbed the spot "Strong's Battle Ground." The Indians, true to their word, returned peacefully, but the name took hold. Later the area was simply referred to as "Battle Ground.""

Source:    Battle Ground Lake State Park website, 2013.

Miles of Trails ...

Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Miles of Trails, Battle Ground Lake State Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.
Image, 2013, Battle Ground Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Miles of Trails, Battle Ground Lake State Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2013.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].

The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.

this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30 W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10 W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60 E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.

Vancouver PlainsReturn to




*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:    Allen, 1975, Volcanoes of the Portland Area, Oregon: State of Oregon, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, The ORE-BIN, v.37, no.9, September 1975; Beeson and Tolan, 1987, IN: GSA Centennial Field Guide, vol.1; Biship, E.M., and Allen, J.E., 2004, Hiking Oregon's Geology, The Mountaineers Books. Norman, D.K., and Roloff, J.M., 2004, A Self-Guided Tour of the Geology of the Columbia River Gorge -- Portland Airport to Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources, Open-File Report 2004-7, March 2004. Swanson, et.al., 1989, IGC Field Trip T106: Cenozoic Volcanism in the Cascade Range and Columbia Plateau, Southern Washington and Northernmost Oregon: American Geophysical Union Field Trip Guidebook T106; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information Systems website, 2013; Washington State Parks website, 2013;

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