Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, Washington"
includes ... Pierce National Wildlife Refuge ... Hardy Creek ...
Image, 2004, Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. View includes Beacon Rock (left), Hamilton Mountain, and Aldrich Butte. The wildlife refuge is along the water. Image taken from Beacon Rock boat dock. Image taken August 1, 2004.

Pierce National Wildlife Refuge ...
Pierce National Wildlife Refuge is located in Southwest Washington within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 142. The refuge encompasses wetlands and uplands along the north shore of the Columbia River west of the town of North Bonneville, and east of Beacon Rock. Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge is two miles downstream. Immediately downstream is Beacon Rock and Pierce Island, one of the islands seen by Lewis and Clark. Hardy Creek bisects the Refuge in two. Upstream is Hamilton Island. Sixteen miles downstream lies the Steigerwald Lake Refuge.

Early Pierce Refuge ...
Pierce Refuge was established in 1990 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a donation of 319 acres from the landowner, Mrs. Lena Pierce, for “wildlife refuge, recreation or park purposes”. In donating the land to Fish and Wildlife, Mrs. Pierce requested that they administer the Refuge as an "inviolate sanctuary" and stipulated that hunting should not be allowed. Following the death of Mrs. Pierce in 1988, Fish and Wildlife acquired the remaining 10 acres of private land within the approved Refuge acquisition boundary under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956.

Refuge habitats include wetlands, Columbia River riparian corridor blocks, transitional woodlands from willows to cottonwood/ash to white oak to Douglas fir, improved pastures with some native grasses, and numerous creeks, seeps, and springs.

Pierce Refuge:

"Pierce Refuge is located in Skamania County, Washington, immmediately west of the town of North Bonneville and two river miles east of Franz Lake Refuge. The 329-acre Refuge is fully acquired by the Service.

The Service acquired 319 acres of the Pierce Ranch property in 1990 through donation. The warranty deed specified the area can only be used for "wildlife refuge, recreation or park purposes." When donating the land, the donor, requested the Refuge be administered as an inviolate sanctuary and stipulated that hunting should not be allowed. The land donation was accepted in accordance with the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1919 ...

In 1988, the Service acquired the remaining 10 acres of the Pierce Ranch ...."

Source:    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2004, "Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan ..."

The refuge headquarters near Pierce NWR also serves as main office for Steigerwald Lake (RM 126) and Franz Lake (RM 138) refuges. The Pierce Refuge is a part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge complex.

Spectacular views of Pierce Refuge can be seen from the top of Beacon Rock and nice views can also be had from the boat launch area of Beacon Rock State Park.

Views ...

Image, 2016, Pierce NWR and Pierce Island from Beacon Rock, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pierce National Wildlife Refuge (left) and Pierce Island (right) as seen from Beacon Rock boat ramp, Skamania County, Washington. Aldrich Butte is also visible on the left. Image taken September 26, 2016.
Image, 2016, Aldrich Butte, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Aldrich Butte as seen from Beacon Rock boad launch, Beacon Rock State Park, Washington. Pierce National Wildlife Refuge is in the foreground. Image taken September 26, 2016.

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]-

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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

  • "Recreation.gov" website, 2004;
  • U.S. Department Fish & Wildlife website, 2004;
  • U.S. Department Fish & Wildlife Service, 2004, "Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, Steigerwald Lake NWR, Franz Lake NWR, and Pierce NWR";

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 2016