Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Burbank and Burbank Slough, Washington"
Includes ... Burbank ... Burbank Slough ... McNary National Wildlife Refuge ...
Image, 2005, McNary National Wildlife Refuge, Burbank Slough Unit, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Burbank Slough Unit, McNary National Wildlife Refuge, Washington: Image taken September 25, 2005.


Burbank ...
Burbank, Washington, is a small farming community southeast of Pasco which is bordered by the Snake River to the north and the Columbia River to the west. According to "Place Names of Washington" (Hitchman, 1985, Washington State Historical Society):

"Farming green 7 miles southeast of Pasco, near the confluence of Snake and Columbia rivers, extreme west Walla Walla Country. It formerly was the center of an irrigation district, which failed in the early 1930s. In 1907, it was named by Northern Pacific Railway officials for Burbank Power & Water Company, which had a power-house here. The company name had been applied by Will H. Parry of Seattle, in honor of the famous horticulturist Luther Burbank."

Burbank Slough ...
The Burbank Slough lies on the east side of the Columbia River and heads at the Snake River at Columbia River Mile (RM) 325 and stretches to RM 319, just upstream of Badger Island and three miles upstream of Wallula, Washington. The Burbank Slough is part of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge.

McNary National Wildlife Refuge, Burbank Sloughs Unit ...
Burbank Slough is part of the Burbank Sloughs Unit of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge.
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Image, 2005, Walla Walla River and McNary National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
McNary National Wildlife Refuge, Washington: View at Burbank Slough Unit. Image taken September 25, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 18, 1805 ...
This morning Cool and fare wind from the S. E. ...     Took our leave of the Chiefs and all those about us [from their camp, the location of today's Sacajawea State Park] and proceeded on down the great Columbia river     passed a large Island at 8 miles about 3 miles in length, a Island on the Stard. Side the upper point of which is opposit the center of the last mentioned Island and reaches 3 miles below the 1st. Island and opposit to this near the middle of the river nine Lodges are Situated on the upper point at a rapid which is between the lower point of the 1st Island and upper point of this; great numbers of Indians appeared to be on this Island, and emence quantites of fish Scaffold     we landed a few minits to view a rapid which Commenced at the lower point, passd this rapid which was verry bad between 2 Small Islands two Still Smaller near the Lard. Side, at this rapid on the Stard. Side is 2 Lodges of Indians Drying fish, at 2 miles lower and 14 below the point passed an Island Close under the Stard. Side on which was 2 Lodges of Indians drying fish on Scaffolds as above

[Today this reach has been inundated by the waters of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam. The Burbank Slough - part of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge - dominates the eastern bank of the Columbia and two islands which remain offshore of Wallula are Crescent Island and Badger Island.]    

at 16 miles from the point [junction of the Snake River with the Columbia, location of today's Sacajawea State Park] the river passes into the range of high Countrey at which place the rocks project into the river from the high clifts [Wallula Gap] which is on <both> the Lard. Side about 2/3 of the way across those of the Stard Side about the Same distance, the Countrey rises here about 200 feet above The water and is bordered wth black rugid rocks [Columbia River Basalt],     at the Commencement of this high Countrey [Wallula Gap] on Lard Side a Small riverlet falls in [Walla Walla River] which appears to passed under the high County in its whole cose     Saw a mountain bearing S. W. conocal form Covered with Snow [Mount Hood, Oregon].    passed 4 Islands, at the upper point of the <first> 3rd is a rapid, on this Island is two Lodges of Indians, drying fish, on the fourth Island Close under the Stard. Side is nine large Lodges of Indians Drying fish on Scaffolds as above [Yellepit area]; at this place we were called to land, as it was near night and no appearance of wood [Lewis and Clark are in the Port Kelley area, where today the islands offshore are under the waters of Lake Wallula.],     we proceeded on about 2 miles lower to Some willows, at which place we observed a drift log     formed a Camp on the Lard Side [Spring Gulch] under a high hill nearly opposit to five Lodges of Indians; Soon after we landed, our old Chiefs informed us that the large camp above "was the Camp of the 1st Chief of all the tribes in this quarter [Chief Yellepit], and that he had called to us to land and Stay all night with him, that he had plenty of wood for us &" This would have been agreeable to us if it had have been understood perticelarly as we were compelled to Use drid willows for fuel for the purpose of cooking, we requested the old Chiefs to walk up on the Side we had landed and call to the Chief to come down and Stay with us all night which they did;     ... we made 21 miles to day.





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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:    Hitchman, R., 1985, Washington State Place Names, Washington State Historical Society;   

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 2016