Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Price Island, Washington"
Includes ... Price Island ... Steamboat Slough ... Julia Butler Hansen Refuge ...
Image, 2011, Price Island, upstream tip, with Steamboat Slough, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Price Island, Washington, with Steamboat Slough on the right. Image taken January 26, 2011.

Price Island ...
Price Island is a long narrow island located on the Washington State side of the Columbia River between River Mile (RM) 35 and 35. The island is approximately one and one-half miles long and a half mile wide. Steamboat Slough separates Price Island from the Washington shore, and the Washington town of Skamokawa is located across from the downstream tip of Price Island. Across from Price Island is Welch Island, one of the islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Price Island is part of the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbian White-tailed Deer. Research has discovered some of the trees on Price Island survived the massive "Cascadia Quake" in 1700, a magnitude 9.0 quake which shook the coastline of Washington and British Columbia on January 26, 1700. Nice views of Price Island can be had following the Steamboat Slough Road along the southwestern edge of the Wildlife REfuge.

Early Price Island ...
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, show a Horatio N. Price being issued a land title for the area of Price Island on May 31, 1892, for 117.2 acres of parts of T9N R6W Section 17, under the 1820 "Sale-Cash Entry". Horatio N. Price also held other titles for land around the Elochoman River issued in 1889 and 1891. Presumably he was the "Price" in "Price Island".

The 1871 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T9N R6W has Price Island labeled as "Skamaukie Island", Skamokawa Creek as "Skomaukie River", and Steamboat Slough as "Skomaukie Slough".

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made the name "Price Island" official in 1915 - variants of the name seen at that time on maps was "Price's Island" or "Prices Island".

Julia Butler Hansen Refuge ...
Columbian White-tail Deer National Wildlife Refuge ...
The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge (Columbian White-tail Deer National Wildlife Refuge) was established in 1972, specifically to protect and manage the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. The refuge contains over 5,600 acres of pastures, forested tidal swamps, brushy woodlots, marshes, and sloughs along the Columbia River in both Washington and Oregon, includes Tenasillahe Island in Oregon, and the lower Elochoman River area in Washington State. The mainland refuge unit, the Hunting Islands, and Price Island are also in Washington State. Tenasillahe Island, Wallace Island, and several parcels around Westport are in Oregon. Hunting, Price, Tenasillahe, and Wallace Islands are accessible only by boat. The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge borders on its western side with the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.

Views ...

Image, 2004, Price Island, upstream tip, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Price Island, Washington. Upstream tip of Price Island. Steamboat Slough is on the right. Image taken April 9, 2004.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 7, 1805 ...
A cloudy foggey morning Some rain. we Set out [from their camp at Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County, Washington] early proceeded under the Stard Shore under a high rugid hills with Steep assent the Shore boalt and rockey, the fog So thick we could not See across the river [typical for this area in the winter], two Canos of Indians met and returned with us to their village which is Situated on the Stard Side behind a cluster of Marshey Islands [Puget Island and the Hunting Islands] , on a narrow chanl. of the river [Cathlamet Channel] through which we passed to the Village of 4 Houses, [Cathlamet, Washington area] ....

Those people call themselves War-ci--cum ...

after delaying at this village one hour [Cathlamet, Washington area] and a half we Set out piloted by an Indian dressed in a Salors dress, to the main Chanel of the river, the tide being in we Should have found much dificuelty in passing into the main Chanel from behind those islands [Puget Island and the Hunting Islands],     without a pilot, a large marshey Island [Tenasillahe Island] near the middle of the river near which Several Canoes Came allong Side with Skins, roots fish &c. to Sell, and had a temporey residence on this Island, here we See great numbers of water fowls about those marshey Islands; here the high mountanious Countrey approaches the river on the Lard Side [near Clifton, Oregon], a high mountn. to the S W. about 20 miles [Saddle Mountain], the high mountans. Countrey Continue on the Stard Side, about 14 miles below the last village and 18 miles of this day we landed at a village of the Same nation [Skamokawa, Washington]. This village is at the foot of the high hills on the Stard Side back of 2 Small Islands [today, Price Island lies between Skamokawa and the Columbia River] it contains 7 indifferent houses built in the Same form of those above, ... opposit to this Village the high mountaneous Countrey leave the river on the Lard Side [downstream of Aldrich Point] below which the river widens into a kind of Bay [Cathlamet Bay] & is Crouded with low Islands Subject to be Covered by the tides [today this is the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Lower Columbia River Estuary] - we proceeded on about 12 miles below the Village [Skamokawa] under a high mountaneous Countrey on the Stard. Side. Shore boald and rockey and Encamped under a high hill [ridge of Jim Crow Point] on the Stard. Side opposit to a rock [Pillar Rock] Situated half a mile from the Shore, about 50 feet high and 20 feet Diamieter,     we with dificuelty found a place Clear of the tide and Sufficiently large to lie on and the only place we could get was on round Stones on which we lay our mats rain Continud. moderately all day & Two Indians accompanied us from the last village, they we detected in Stealing a knife and returned, our Small Canoe which got Seperated in the fog this morning joined us this evening from a large Island Situated nearest the Lard Side below the high hills on that Side, the river being too wide to See either the form Shape or Size of the Islands on the Lard Side [part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge].

Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian [Clark's famous "Ocian in view! O! the Joy"], this great Pacific Octean [Pacific Ocean] which we been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I Suppose) may be heard distictly

we made 34 miles to day as Computed

Journey to the PacificReturn to




*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. Bureau of Land Management website, 2007;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, General Land Office Records;
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006;

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