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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Clatsop Beach (Clatsop Plains), Oregon"
Includes ... Clatsop Beach ... Clatsop Plains ... Columbia Beach ... Sunset Beach ... Seaside ... Peter Iredale shipwreck ...
Image, 2003, Pacific Ocean at Sunset Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pacific Ocean, Sunset Beach, Oregon. My Corps of Discovery members, Gene and Riley. Image taken August 2, 2003.


Clatsop Beach (Clatsop Plains) ...
Clatsop Beach (officially known as Clatsop Plains) is the general name given to the 18-miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean extending south from Fort Stevens, Clatsop Spit, and Point Adams, and includes today's Columbia Beach and Sunset Beach. It extends down to Seaside and Tillamook Head. Clatsop Beach produces more than 90 percent of Oregonís harvested razor clams. In 1980 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Clatsop Plains" the official name for this long stretch of beach. Clatsop Plains includes not only the beach but the inland areas of Gearhart and Seaside.

Image, 2009, Clatsop Beach from South Jetty, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clatsop Beach from South Jetty, Oregon. Image taken September 27, 2009.


Early Clatsop Beach ...
From the 1858 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

"... The beach around Point Adams and to the southward some distance is usually called Clatsop beach. Upon it, many years ago, before the whites occupied the country, a Chinese or Japanese junk, with many hands and a cargo of beeswax, was cast ashore and went to pieces; but the crew were saved. In support of this Indian tradition, there are occasionally, after great storms, pieces of this wax thrown ashore, coated with sand and bleached nearly white. Formerly a great deal was found, but now it is rarely met with. Belcher mentions having a specimen [Belcher, 1839]. Many people on the Columbia possess them, and we have seen several pieces. ..."

From the 1889 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

... Stretching out from Point Adams is the great shoal known as the Clatsop Spit, whose normal direction points towards Cape Disappointment. It frequently stretches more than half way across the mouth of the irver, and is then usually marked by the breakers around its whole extent, except in exceedingly smooth weather and at high water. But there have been periods when its northern edge stretched straight out to sea, and then swept in far to the southward of Point Adams. ...

The beach around Point Adams and to the southward for some indefinite distance is locally known as the Clatsop Beach. ..."

From the 1917 U.S. Coast Survey "Coast Pilot":

"... Clatsop Spit is a low sand beach extending from Point Adams, a distance of 2 1/2 miles toward Cape Disappointment. It was formerly subject to extensive shifting, but the construction of the south jetty has fixed it in postion.

Flavel, on the northeast side of Point Adams, is the terminus of a line of large steamers plyling between the Columbia River and San Francisco. It has railway connection with the interior. The wharf, which has deptsh of over 30 feet at low tide, is marked by a light (fixed white) at its outer end. ..."

In 1980 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Clatsop Plains" the official name for this long stretch of beach. Clatsop Plains includes not only Clatsop Beach but the inland areas of Gearhart and Seaside.


Image, 2009, South Jetty, Clatsop Spit, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
In the fog, Clatsop Spit, South Jetty, and Clatsop Beach, Oregon. Image taken October 18, 2009.


Wreck of the Peter Iredale ...
On October 25, 1906, during a heavy southwest wind, the four-masted British vessel, the Peter Iredale, ran aground at Clatsop Beach, off the west coast of Fort Stevens. Parts of the skelton of the Peter Iredale are still visible today, with access to the beach from Fort Stevens.
[More]

Image, 2012, Peter Iredale shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Peter Iredale shipwreck, Pacific Ocean, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Sunny, windy, late afternoon. Image taken November 26, 2012.
Image, 2009, Peter Iredale shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Peter Iredale shipwreck, Clatsop Beach, Pacific Ocean, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon. Weather overcast and grey, but surprisingly no rain. Image taken August 8, 2009.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website, 2006; NOAA Office of Coast Surveys website, 2006; U.S. Board of Geographic Names website, 2009.

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 2009