Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Duncan Creek, Washington"
Includes ... Duncan Creek ... Shahala Lake ... Duncan Lake ... Duncan Creek Dam ... Skamania Landing ...
Image, 2015, Duncan Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Duncan Creek as seen from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken February 14, 2015.


Duncan Creek ...
Duncan Creek lies west of Woodard Creek [Woodward Creek] and enters the Columbia River at RM 140.5, on the east side of Skamania Landing. Before reaching the Columbia River, Duncan Creek flows southeast and then northeast into Shahala Lake, the reservoir behind the 120-foot-long Duncan Creek Dam. Duncan Creek Dam was constructed in the early 1960s and then modified to help Chum Salmon migrate into the creek.

Lewis and Clark and Woodard and Duncan Creeks ...
Lewis and Clark spotted Woodard and Duncan Creeks on November 2, 1805.

"... passed three Islands covered with tall timber opposit the Beatin rock     Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, iimediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses, which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805]

On April 9, 1806, on their return upriver, Lewis and Clark stopped at the village between the two creeks. Today's Skamania and Skamania Landing are located near the location of that village.


Image, 2004, at Skamania Landing looking upstream, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River shoreline upstream from Skamania Landing, Washington. Drainage from Duncan Creek/Duncan Lake is visible on the left. View from the boat dock. Image taken August 1, 2004.


Early Duncan Creek ...
The 1911 U.S. Geological Survey's 1:125,000 topo map for "Mount Hood and Vicinity" has "Duncan Creek" and "Woodward Creek" named.

Image, 2015, Duncan Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Duncan Creek as seen from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken February 14, 2015.
Image, 2015, Duncan Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Duncan Creek as seen from Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken February 14, 2015.


Duncan Creek Dam ...
[to come]

Image, 2015, Duncan Creek Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Duncan Creek Dam as seen from Bridge, Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken January 25, 2015.
Image, 2015, Duncan Creek Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Duncan Creek Dam as seen from Bridge, Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken January 25, 2015.


Shahala Lake and Park ...
Shahala Lake is the reservoir behind the Duncan Creek Dam.
[More]

Image, 2014, Shahala Park, Skamania Landing, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Shahala Park, Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.
Image, 2014, Shahala Lake, Skamania Landing, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shahala Lake, Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.
Image, 2014, Shahala Lake, Skamania Landing, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shahala Lake, Skamania Landing, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-






Clark, April 9, 1806 ...
at 7 A. M. we Set out [from their camp in Shepperds Dell] and proceeded on to the Camp of Joseph & Reubin Fields [possibly near Dodson, Oregon]. they had killed nothing. here we did not delay but proceeded on to Wah-clel-lah Village on the North Side and brackfast [upstream of today's Skamania and Skamania Landing, between Duncan and Woodard Creeks] ...     This Village appears to be the wintering Station of two bands of the Shah-ha-la Nation. One band has already moved the Falls of the Multnomah which is the place they take their Salmon. The other band is now moveing a fiew miles above to the foot of the first rapid on this river, at which place they take their Salmon. 14 houses only appear occupied and the inhabitants of those moveing off hourly, they take with them in their Canoes independent of all their household effects the bark of their houses, and boards. 9 houses has been latterly abandened and 14 others is yet is thinly inhabited at present, and the remains of 10 or 12 others are to be Seen and appears to have been enhabited last fall. those people were not hospital and with Some dificuelty we precured 5 dogs and a fiew Wappato of them. ...    at 2 oClock P. M we Set out and passed under the Beacon rock [Beacon Rock] on the North Side of two Small Islds [Pierce and Ives Islands[. Situated nearest the N. side. at 4 P. M. we arived at the first rapid [beginning of the Cascades Rapids, also known as the "Lower Falls of the Columbia"] at the head of Straw berry island [Hamilton Island] at which place on the N W. Side of the Columbia here we found the nativs from the last village rebuilding their habitations of the bark of <from> their old Village 16 Huts are already Compleated and appear only temporrary it is most probable that they only reside here <in> dureing the Season of the Salmon. as we Could not pass with the large Canoes up the N. W. Side for the rocks, the wind high and a rainey disagreeable evining. our Smallest Canoe being too low to cross through the high waves, we Sent her up on the N W. side with Drewyer and the two Fields and after purchaseing 2 dogs Crossed and into the Sluce of a large high Island [Bradford Island] seperated from the S. E Side by a narrow chanel, in this chanel we found a good harbor and encamped on the lower Side [near Tanner Creek]. We Saw Some deer Sign and Collins to hunt in the mornig untill the Canoes were toed above the rapids. made 16 Miles to day. evening wet & disagreeable.





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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:    U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office Records website, 2008;    U.S. Geological Survey Board of Geographic Names 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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June 2014