Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington"
Includes ... Franz Lake ... Arthur Lake ... Indian Mary Creek ... Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge ...
Image, 2003, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from overlook off of Washington State Highway 14. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge ...
The Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 138, and is one mile upstream of the St. Cloud Wayside and four miles downstream of Beacon Rock State Park. Just upstream of the Refuge is the small Washington community of Skamania Landing.

The Franz Lake Refuge is within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and is a popular place for wintering tundra swans. Its system of river streams and wetlands provide habitat for breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl and other aquatic migratory birds and raptors such as bald eagles. It may be viewed from an overlook located near Washington State Highway 14 at milepost 31. On a clear day Horsetail Falls is visible to the southeast across the Columbia on the Oregon side.

Franz Lake NWR is a part of the larger Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which also includes nearby Pierce NWR and Steigerwald Lake NWR.


Image, 2003, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from overlook off of Washington State Highway 14. Image taken October 25, 2003.
Image, 2003, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from overlook off of Washington State Highway 14. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Arthur Lake and Franz Lake ...
Arthur Lake and Franz Lake are located on the Washington side of the Columbia River. They are located in the Franz Lake NWR, at the lower end of the drainage of Indian Mary Creek. Originally there was one lake called "Arthur Lake". Today however the drainage has formed into two lakes, the lower lake being Arthur Lake and the upper lake being Franz Lake. Currently (2004) the shoreline of Arthur Lake is privately owned, while most of the shoreline of Franz Lake is within the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Attempts are being made to secure the entire area within the refuge.

Indian Mary Creek ...
Indian Mary Creek is the drainage creating Arthur and Franz Lakes.

Early Arthur and Franz Lakes ...
An 1860 Washington Territory cadastral survey (tax survey) of T1N R6E shows one large lake named "Arthur's Lake".

In 1948, the NOAA Chart No.6156, "Columbia River Vancouver to Bonneville" shows two lakes but left the area unnamed. The 1985 map (Chart No.18531) shows two lakes but has the area labeled "Arthur Lake". The current chart shows two lakes and has the area labeled "Franz Lake".


The Refuge ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established Franz Lake Refuge in 1990 under authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956. The purpose for establishing the Refuge is “to preserve biodiversity along the Columbia River by protecting diverse and now rare Columbia River floodplain wetland and riparian habitat and forested watershed buffer” The approved Refuge acquisition boundary encompasses approximately 695 acres, of which 552 acres (79 percent in 2004) has been acquired by the Service. The refuge is a part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge complex, along with Steigerwald Lake downstream (RM 126), and Pierce refuge upstream (RM 142).

Image, 2005, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from overlook off of Washington State Highway 14. Image taken February 26, 2005.
Image, 2006, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from overlook off of Washington State Highway 14. Image taken April 22, 2006.


Horsetail Falls from Franz Lake NWR ...
Horsetail Falls can be seen from the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the Washington side of the Columbia River.
[More]

Image, 2005, Horsetail Falls, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Horsetail Falls, Oregon, as seen from Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View from Washington State Highway 14. Image taken April 2, 2005.


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]-





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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: Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Trail, Timber Press, Portland; NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005; Oregon Bureau of Land Management website, 2005; "Recreation.gov" website, 2004; U.S. Department Fish and Wildlife website, 2004.

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