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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"North Bonneville, Washington"
Includes ... North Bonneville ... "Cascades" ... "Lower Cascades" ... "Moffett Springs" ... "Table Rock" ... "Wacomac" ... Captain Bonneville ... Bonneville Hot Springs Resort ... Hamilton Creek ... Clahclehlah Village ... North Bonneville Archaeology District ... National Register of Historic Places ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2011, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Welcome sign, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken August 22, 2011.


North Bonneville ...
North Bonneville, Washington, is located on the northeast side of Hamilton Island at Columbia River Mile (RM) 146, just downstream of the Bonneville Dam. Across the river on the Oregon side is the community of Bonneville. North Bonneville came into existence in 1933 with the development of the Bonneville Dam, and was re-located in the 1970s with construction of Bonneville's North Powerhouse. Today North Bonneville can be reached from an exit off of Washington State Highway 14.

"Cascades" to "Moffett Springs" to "Table Rock" to "Wacomac" to "Moffetts" to "North Bonneville" ...
"The Post Office now known as North Bonneville, Washington, was established under the name of Cascades at the lower end of Hamilton Island on November 5, 1851 ...   [until] April 16, 1907 when the name was changed to Moffett Springs, with Thomas E. Moffett as Postmaster. Earl G. Koon succeeded Thomas E. Moffett on August 31, 1908 and was instrumental in having the name changed to Table Rock on October 31, 1908. With the completion of Cascade Locks in the year 1898 and steamboats could navigate the rapids, the settlement at Hamilton Island began to dwindle and the office was discontinued on August 31, 1910, to be reestablished on July 18, 1917 under the name Wacomac, for one of the early Indian Chiefs ...   The name was again changed from Wacomac to Moffetts on March 29, 1922 and remained so until the beginning of the Bonneville Dam, when the name was changed to North Bonneville."

Source:    Skamania County Heritage website, 2013, "North Bonneville Post Office History"

Map, 1957, Bonneville Dam North Powerhouse, click to enlarge
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1957 ... HISTORICAL MAP detail, Hamilton Island, North Bonneville, and the Bonneville Dam, Skamania County, Washington. North Bonneville location before relocation due to construction of Bonneville Dam's North Powerhouse. Map also shows small communities of Greenleaf, Moffets, and Nipigon. Metsker Map courtesy "HistoricMapWorks.com" website, 2015.


Captain Bonneville ...
Bonneville, Oregon, Bonneville Dam, and North Bonneville, Washington, were named after Captain (later Brig. General) Benjamin L.E. Bonneville, a West Point graduate who explored the west from 1832 to 1835, visiting many parts of northeast Oregon, although never getting any further west than the John Day River. Bonneville Post Office, Oregon, was established in 1900, and the railway along the Columbia maintained a Bonneville Station for many years.

Early North Bonneville ...
North Bonneville is located on the site of the former town of Cascades, also known as "Lower Cascades". The community of Lower Cascades was at one time the largest town in the Washington Territory. It was an important steamboat stop and the western terminus of the portage road. Slightly downstream was located the military defense post Fort Cascades, built in 1855 to guard the portage road around the Cascade Rapids. Lower Cascades was also at one time home of the Skamania County government. Both the town of Lower Cascades and the post Fort Cascades were destroyed during the Great Flood of 1894. They were never rebuilt.

The community of North Bonneville came into existence after the flood of 1894. According to the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce website (2004):

"Following the 1894 flood, a small community continued to exist and it sprang back to life as North Bonneville in 1933 when work began on Bonneville Dam, the first hydroelectric dam on the Columbia River. North Bonneville was a spontaneously assembled community, built with whatever materials were available and put together in a rush to meet the needs of construction workers arriving by the hundreds in the area. When the Bonneville Project was completed in 1938, the town remained. The town was incorporated in 1935."

North Bonneville moves ...
"... Construction of a second powerhouse at Bonneville Dam began in the mid-1970's. The site of the new powerhouse covered over 90 percent of the town of North Bonneville. The town was relocated west of the old town on Hamilton Island and south of Greenleaf Slough. Site selection and design for the new North Bonneville were a result of intensive multi-disciplinary planning. The new town was dedicated in 1978. ..."

Source:    Skamania County Chamber of Commerce website, 2004.



"... The $35 million relocation project included raising the new town site above the 100-year flood plain, construction of streets, utilities, lighting, sewage system, water supply and sewage treatment plant, flood protection, parks, a central business district and all public buildings. Town sitting required highway and railway relocation. And residents and business were furnished temporary housing until they could build their own permanent homes and facilities. The new town was built to accommodate 1500 residents. A celebration of the successful relocation was held July 29, 1978. ..."

Source:    North Bonneville website, 2014.

Penny Postcard, North Bonneville, Washington, ca.1951
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Penny Postcard: North Bonneville, Washington, ca.1951
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1951, "North Bonneville, Wash.". Christian, W-1184. Divided back. Postmarked date August 17, 1951, from North Bonneville, Wash. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
NOAA chart, 1948, Bonneville Dam, click to enlarge
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1948 ... HISTORICAL CHART detail, Hamilton Island, North Bonneville, and the Bonneville Dam, Skamania County, Washington. Note location of North Bonneville before the construction of Bonneville Dam's North Powerhouse. Note the arrangement of islands in the Bonneville complex before construction of the 1993 lock. NOAA Chart #6156 courtesy NOAA website.
NOAA chart, 1998, Bonneville Dam, click to enlarge
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1998 ... HISTORICAL CHART detail, Hamilton Island, North Bonneville, and the Bonneville Dam, Skamania County, Washington. Note location of North Bonneville after relocation due to construction of Bonneville Dam's North Powerhouse, and the existence of three islands in the Columbia (Robins, Bradford, and Cascade) after construction of the new lock. NOAA Chart #18531 courtesy NOAA website.
Image, 2005, Bonneville Dam North Powerhouse, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Dam North Powerhouse. Image taken May 13, 2005.


Street Scenes ...

Image, 2015, North Bonneville, Washington, click to enlarge
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Hot Springs Way, North Bonneville, Washington. Heading under the railroad tracks and heading north, from Washington Highway 14. Image taken October 22, 2015.
Image, 2015, North Bonneville, Washington, click to enlarge
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Pumpkins, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 22, 2015.


North Bonneville, etc.

  • Bass Lake Wildlife Area ...
  • Bigfoot Family ...
  • Bonneville Dam ...
  • Bonneville Hot Springs Resort ...
  • Bonneville Hot Springs Sasquatch ...
  • North Bonneville Archeological District ...
  • Clahclehlah Village ...
  • Greenleaf Slough ...
  • Hamilton Creek ...
  • Lakes and Trails ...
  • Lewis & Clark Campground ...
  • Murals ...
  • Views from North Bonneville ...


Bass Lake Wildlife Area ...
Bass Lake Wildlife Area is one of the U.S. Corps of Engineers wildlife areas surrounding Bonneville Dam. It provides habitat for a variety of birds, mammals, and fish. Currently wild salmon have begun returning the Bass Lake to spawn. There is a 1/4 mile trail leading to the viewing areas and fishing spots along the lake.

Image, 2014, Bass Lake Wildlife Area, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Bass Lake Wildlife Area, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.
Image, 2014, Bass Lake Wildlife Area, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Trail, Bass Lake Wildlife Area, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.


Bigfoot Family ...
A family of Bigfoots, including lots of "Littlefeet", live in North Bonneville.
[More]

Image, 2014, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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"Great Elder" ... Bigfoot Family, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.
Image, 2014, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Bigfoot Family, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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"Littlefeet" ... Bigfoot Family, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.


Bonneville Dam ...
The Bonneville Dam is a hydroelectric dam stretched across the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 146. Today's dam is is built across three islands - Robins, Bradford, and Cascade. This area was once known as the "Cascade Rapids", a major obstacle to navigation on the Columbia. The Rapids were a result of the Bonneville Landslide, a massive landslide which gave rise to the legend of the Bridge of the Gods.
[More]

Image, 2004, Bonneville Dam from Fort Cascades Trail click to enlarge
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Bonneville Dam from the Fort Cascades Trail, Hamilton Island. Image taken August 1, 2004.


Bonneville Hot Springs Resort ...
The modern Bonneville Hot Springs Resort, rebuilt on the site of the original 1881 Moffetts Hot Springs Hotel (originally called the Cascade Springs Hotel), continues over a century of geothermal use in the area.
[More]

Image, 2014, Bonneville Hot Springs Resort, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Bonneville Hot Springs Resort, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.


Bonneville Hot Springs Sasquatch ...
[More]

Image, 2015, Bonneville Hot Springs, North Bonneville, Washington, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Hot Springs Sasquatch, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 22, 2015.
Image, 2015, Bonneville Hot Springs, North Bonneville, Washington, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Hot Springs Sasquatch, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 22, 2015.


North Bonneville Archeological District ...
In 1987, the North Bonneville Archeological District was added to the National Register of Historic Places (District - #87000498), location not disclosed, for its

"... Information Potential; Area of Significance: Industry, Prehistoric, Historic - Aboriginal, Commerce, Historic - Non-Aboriginal, Military, Engineering, Transportation, Exploration/Settlement; Cultural Affiliation: Cascade Indians, Anglo-American settlers, American military; Period of Significance: 1499-1000 AD, 1749-1500 AD, 1750-1799, 1800-1824, 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949; Owner: Federal; Historic Function: Defense, Domestic; Historic Sub-function: Camp, Fortification, Military Facility, Village Site; Current Function: Landscape; Current Sub-function: Underwater; ..." [National Register of Historic Places website, 2005]

The Fort Cascades Historic Site, located on Hamilton Island, is included within this nomination.


Image, 2014, Fort Cascades Historic Site, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Plaque, Fort Cascades Historic District, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.


Clahclehlah Village ...
According to the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center (2011):

"... This village was located on the north bank of the Columbia River and was an important trade center. Clark made journal entries describing it on October 31, 1805 and November 1, 1805. The Corps visited this village again on their homeward bound trip April 10, 1806. It was the focus of salvage archaeological excavations for the construction of the second powerhouse at Bonneville Dam in the late 1970s. ..." [Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center exhibit, July 15, 2011]

On October 31, 1805, Captain Clark mentions passing a village of four houses closed up for the winter above the last rapid and he makes reference to another village at the base of the last rapid. According to Moulton, historians disagree about whether this is two separate villages, or whether it is one large village.

"... at 5 miles I passed 4 large houses on the Stard Side a little above the last rapid and opposit a large Island which is Situated near the Lard. Side—     The enhabitents of those houses had left them closely Shut up, they appeared to Contn. a great deel of property and Provisions Such as those people use, I did not disturb any thing about those houses, but proceed on down below the rapid which I found to be the last, a large village has at Some period been on the Stard. Side below this rapid ..." [Clark, Ocober 31, 1805]

"... Investigators disagree on the relation of this village to the next site ("a large village has at Some period been"). Some view the two as a part of one complex, while others see them as separate entities. Beckham, 17–18, 31–34; Minor, Toepel, & Beckham, 41–51; Dunnell & Whitlam, 5–7; Dunnell; Phebus, 127–30. Only the first site is shown on Atlas map 79; both are represented on figs. 28 and 29 in volume 5. They are in Skamania County opposite present Bradford and Hamilton islands. ..." [Moulton online Lewis and Clark Journals, October 31, 1805]

Lewis and Clark both wrote about the Clahclehlah Village on their return trip in April 1806. Captain Lewis wrote there were six houses while Captain Clark wrote there were four.

"... We set out early and droped down the channel to the lower end of brant Island from whence we drew them up the rapid by a cord about a quarter of a mile which we soon performed; Collins and Gibson not having yet come over we directed Sergt. Pryor to remain with the cord on the Island untill Gibson arrived and assist him with his crew in geting his canoe up the rapid, when they were to join us on the oposite side at a small village of six houses of the Clah-clah'lahs where we halted for breakfast. ..." [Lewis, April 10, 1806]

"... at 6 A M. we Set out and proceeded to the lower point of the Island from whence we were Compelled to draw our Canoes up a rapid for about 1/4 mile which we Soon performed. Collins & gibson haveing not yet Come over we derected Serjt. Pryor to delay on the Island untill Gibson Came over & assist him with the large toe roap which we also left and to join us at a village of four houses of the Clah-lah-lar Tribe which is opposit to this Island on North Side at which place we intened to brackfast. ..." [Clark, April 10, 1806]

Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
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Information sign, Clahclehlah Village exhibit, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
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Model, Clahclehlah Village exhibit, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.


Greenleaf Slough ...
Greenleaf Creek flows from the flanks of Greenleaf Peak, across Greenleaf Basin, and flows into Greenleaf Slough at its northern tip. Greenleaf Slough (often seen as Greenleaf Lake) lies north of Washington State Highway 14, north of the community of North Bonneville. Greenleaf Slough at one time was the northern waterway creating Hamilton Island. Early maps show it as "Hamilton's Creek".
[More]

Image, 2014, Greenleaf Slough, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Greenleaf Slough, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.
Image, 2015, North Bonneville, Washington, click to enlarge
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Greenleaf Slough, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 22, 2015.


Hamilton Creek ...
Hamilton Creek winds its way through North Bonneville. Hamilton Creek, along with Hamilton Island and Hamilton Mountain were all named for Samuel M. Hamilton of Lower Cascades, who took a Donation Land Claim on the Hamilton Creek in 1850.
[More]

Image, 2004, Hamilton Creek, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Hamilton Creek, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 27, 2004.


Lakes and Trails ...
According to the Port Of Skamania website (2014):

"... There are ten lakes within three miles, and five streams within five miles of town, teeming with salmon and steelhead. Hamilton Creek flows right through the middle of the community. Greenleaf, Bass, Kidney and Tule lakes are all within the North Bonneville city limits. The famous Pacific Crest Trail passes through the East side of town as it meanders its way North to the Canadian border from the Mexican-American border ..."

Lewis & Clark Campground ...

Image, 2014, Lewis and Clark Campground, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Lewis & Clark Campground, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken March 21, 2014.


Murals ...
Two murals are located in North Bonneville, just off of Cascade Drive. One depicts the Fort Rains (the "Middle Blockhouse") of the Columbia River, and the other depicts the "Regulator", one of the Sternwheelers which made the journey from the Bonneville Dam to The Dalles, Oregon.
[More]

Image, 2014, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Blockhouse Mural, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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"Regulator", Mural, North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.


Views from North Bonneville ...

Great views of Hamilton Mountain, Aldrich Butte, and Table Mountain can be seen from around North Bonneville.

Image, 2004, Hamilton Mountain from North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Hamilton Mountain from North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 27, 2004.
Image, 2004, Aldrich Butte from North Bonneville, Washington click to enlarge
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Aldrich Butte from North Bonneville, Washington. Image taken October 27, 2004.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Today the Penny Postcard has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, North Bonneville, Washington, ca.1951
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: North Bonneville, Washington, ca.1951
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1951, "North Bonneville, Wash.". Christian, W-1184. Divided back. Postmarked date August 17, 1951, from North Bonneville, Wash. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


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 2½ 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 10, 1806 ...
Collins went out in the bottom to hunt [on the Oregon side of the Columbia in the Bonneville Dam area] agreeable to the order of last evening, and gibsons Crew was derected to delay for Collins dureing which time they were derected to Collect rozin from the pines in the bottom near our Camp [near Tanner Creek]     at 6 A M. we Set out and proceeded to the lower point of the Island [Bradford Island]    from whence we were Compelled to draw our Canoes up a rapid for about 1/4 mile which we Soon performed. Collins & gibson haveing not yet Come over we derected Serjt. Pryor to delay on the Island untill Gibson Came over & assist him with the large toe roap which we also left and to join us at a village of four houses of the Clah-lah-lar Tribe which is opposit to this Island on North Side at which place we intened to brackfast [vicinity of today's North Bonneville].    in crossing the River which at this place is not more than 400 yards wide we fell down a great distance owing to the rapidity of the Current. ...    at 10 oClock Sergt. Pryor and Gibson joined us with Collins who had killed 3 deer. these were all of the blacktailed fallow kind. We Set out and Continued up on the N. Side of the river with great dificuelty in Consequence of the Rapidity of the Current and the large rocks which forms this Shore; the South Side of the river is impassable. [On the Oregon side is the Eagle Creek and Ruckel Creek drainages, neither of which was mentioned in the Journals.]

As we had but one Sufficent toe roap and were obliged to employ the Cord in getting on our Canoes the greater part of the way we could only take them one at a time which retarded our progress very much. by evening we arived at the portage on the N. Side [Fort Rains] where we landed and Conveyed our baggage to the top of the hill about 200 paces distant where we found [formd?] a Camp. we had the Canoes drawn on Shore and Secured. the Small Canoe got loose from the hunters and went adrift with a tin cup & a tomahawk in her; the Indians Caught her at the last Village and brought her up to us this evening for which we gave them two knives; the Canoe overset and lost the articles which were in her.—.





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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:    City of North Bonneville website, 2014;    Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, 2011, "Clahclehlah Village" exhibit;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society, Portland;    National Register of Historic Places website, 2005;    City of North Bonneville website, 2014    Skamania County Chamber of Commerce 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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March 2014