Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Puget Island, Washington"
Includes ... Puget Island ... "Sturgeon Island" ... "Sea Otter Island" ... Puget Island Natural Area Preserve ... Coffee Pot Island ... Ryan Island ... Jackson Island ... Whites Island ...
Image, 2005, Puget Island, downstream end, from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Puget Island, Washington. Puget Island, downstream end, as seen from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken April 19, 2005.


Puget Island ...
Puget Island, Washington, located in the middle of the Columbia River, begins at River Mile (RM) 38 and ends at RM 45. Puget Island contains the Puget Island Natural Area Preserve. The island, which lies across from Cathlamet, Washington, is connected to the mainland by Washington State Highway 409 bridge crossing the Cathlamet Channel. Immediately downstream of Puget Island is Tenasillahe Island, and the beginning of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. A ferry links Puget Island to the Oregon side of the Columbia River, with the ferry landing being at Westport, Oregon. The Bradley State Wayside Scenic Overlook, on the Oregon side of the Columbia, overlooks Puget Island and presents great views.

Image, 2005, Cargo ship passing Puget Island, click to enlarge
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Cargo ship passing Puget Island, Washington. View from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken February 19, 2005.


Views of Puget Island ...

Image, 2005, Puget Island and Cathlamet Bridge, Washington, click to enlarge
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Puget Island and Cathlamet, Washington. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Barn, Puget Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Barn, Puget Island, Washington. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Old house, Puget Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Old house, Puget Island, Washington. View from the Puget Island-Westport Ferry Terminal. Image taken March 5, 2005.


Sloughs of Puget Island ...

Image, 2005, Bernie Slough, Puget Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Bernie Slough, Puget Island, Washington. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Church, Welcome Slough, Puget Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Church, Welcome Slough, Puget Island, Washington. Image taken March 5, 2005.


Puget Island to Westport Ferry ...
Wahkiakum County, Washington, has operated the Puget Island to Westport ferry since 1962. The ferry runs 365 days a year and tries to keep to a schedule of 18 runs, and is the last ferry in existence on the Lower Columbia River.
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Image, 2011, Puget Island Ferry, click to enlarge
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Puget Island Ferry "Wahkiakum" in route to Westport, Oregon. View from ferry terminal, Puget Island, Washington. Image taken April 22, 2011.


Views from Puget Island Ferry Dock ...

Image, 2005, Puget Island shoreline, click to enlarge
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Puget Island shoreline, looking upstream from ferry dock. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Puget Island shoreline, click to enlarge
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Puget Island shoreline, looking downstream from ferry dock. Image taken March 5, 2005.


Early Puget Island ...
Puget Island was named in 1792 by Lieutenant Broughton on his exploration of the Columbia River. On October 26, 1792, Broughton sailed passed the island and named it for Lieutenant Peter Puget, the same person Puget Sound, near Seattle, Washington, was named for.

"... After advancing about two leagues the land became high and rocky on both sides; here a well wooded island, about a league and a half long, divided the stream, and afforded a good passage on each side of it; the deepest is on the N. E. side, in which was found 10 and 12 fathoms water. About a league past the S.E. point of this island, which received the name of Puget's Island ..." [Vancouver, October 26, 1792]

Lewis and Clark called the island both "Sturgeon Island" and "Sea Otter Island". On their draft map [Moulton, Vol.1, Map#89], Lewis and Clark have the name "Sturgeon Island" on what is today's Little Island, of the Puget Island complex. Upstream, Wallace Island is depicted but not named. The reach with Tenasillahe and Welch Islands and the islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge are labeled "Marshy Islands". On the route map however [Map#81] the "Marshy Islands" are located a bit more upstream, followed by "S ___ (damaged area, presumably "Sea Otter Isl.") tter Isl." (today's Puget Island), and then "Sturgeon Isl." (today's Wallace Island).

The 1825 map of the Hudson's Bay Company called "Columbia River, Surveyed 1825" (printed 1826), labeled the island "Pigets I.".

In 1841, Charles Wilkes, of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called the island "Pugets I.", with the upstream point being labeled "Cottonwood Pt." and the downstream tip labeled "Sunday Pt.".


Image, 2005, Cathlamet, Washington, as seen from Puget Island, click to enlarge
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Cathlamet, Washington, as seen from Puget Island. Ryan Island is on the left. Birnie Slough is in the foreground. Image taken March 5, 2005.
Image, 2005, Columbia River looking downstream from Puget Island ferry dock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River looking downstream from the Puget Island ferry dock. Image taken March 5, 2005.


Ryan, Coffee Pot, Jackson, and Whites Islands ...
Neither Ryan Island off the northwestern edge of Puget Island, nor Coffee Pot Island off the southern edge of Puget Island are depicted on the 1841 map done by Charles Wilkes, of the U.S. Exploring Expedition. Two small islands are depicted off the northeastern shore of Puget Island and are labeled "Studzi I." and "Bag I.". Studzi Island and Bag Island are located in the area now occupied by the undiked marshy Jackson Island and Whites Island.

Washington Territory's 1858 cadastral survey for T8N R6W shows no islands in the areas of today's Ryan Island or Coffee Pot Island. Neither does the 1863 survey. The 1858 survey for T8N R5W does show the two small islands on the upstream end of Puget Island. They are labeled "Jacksons I." and "Browns I.". The 1873 survey also calls them "Jacksons Id." and "Browns Isd.".

A 1887 map (1:375,000 scale, published in 1888 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) "The Columbia River from Celilo to the mouth showing location of the salmon fisheries (1887)" shows "Puget I." and the two small islands (unnamed) on the upstream side.

The 1889 "Chart of the Columbia River from the ocean to Portland, Oregon illustrating the condition of the salmon fishery, season of 1888-9 : showing in detail the location of the pound-nets, weirs, seine-hauls, gill-net grounds and canneries (1889)" shows "Puget Island", plus a small Ryan Island (unnamed) and Coffee Pot Island (unnamed). Also depicted are the two islands off the upstream tip of Puget Island. Both are unnamed.

The 1948 NOAA Nautical Chart #6152, "Harrington Point to Crims Island", has only the label "marsh" on Ryan Island, and Coffee Pot Island is unnamed, as are Jackson and Whites Islands. The 1968 chart calls Coffee Pot Island "Sand I.", as does the 1979 chart. The name Coffee Pot Island appears on the 1982 NOAA Nautical Chart, however the name Ryan Island does not. The 1985 Chart has both names. Jackson Island and Whites Island are not named on even the latest NOAA chart (2001) this web author has, but are on the current topographic maps.


Ryan Island ...
Ryan Island is located on the northwest tip of Puget Island.
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Image, 2003, Puget Island and Ryan Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Puget Island and Ryan Island, Washington. Downstream tip of Puget Island with Ryan Island just visible on the far side (north) of Puget Island. View from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken August 2, 2003.
Image, 2003, Ryan Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Ryan Island, Washington. Ryan Island, Washington, part of the Puget Island "complex", off the northwestern corner of Puget Island. Image taken November 9, 2003.


Coffee Pot Island ...
Coffee Pot Island lies on the south side of Puget Island, across from Wauna, Oregon. The 1948 NOAA Navigation Chart #6152, "Harrington Point to Crims Island" has the island unnamed. The 1968 chart calls the island "Sand I.", as does the 1979 chart. The 1982 chart has "Coffee Pot I.". According to information on the "Rootsweb.com" Website (2005) Coffee Pot Island was named in the late 1800s by local fishermen who would stop, make small fires, and brew up cups of coffee.
[More]

Image, 2004, Puget Island and Coffee Pot Island, from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Puget Island and Coffee Pot Island. Puget Island (middleground) and Coffee Pot Island (foreground), looking upstream from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.


Puget Island from Bradley State Wayside ...

A good view of Puget Island can be had from Bradley State Wayside, located downstream from Wauna, Oregon.

Image, 2003, Puget Island, from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Puget Island, Washington. Puget Island, as seen from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken August 2, 2003.
Image, 2005, Columbia River looking upstream from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
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View upstream from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Puget Island and Coffee Pot Island, can be seen from Bradley State Wayside. Image taken April 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, Cargo ship passing Puget Island, click to enlarge
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Cargo ship passing Puget Island, Washington, and just reaching Coffee Pot Island. View from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken February 19, 2005.
Image, 2004, Puget Island, Cape Horn, and Clatskanie Floodplain, from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cape Horn, Puget Island, and the Clatskanie Floodplain. Looking upstream from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Coffee Pot Island is in the bottom of the image. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Puget Island, downstream tip, from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Puget Island, Washington. Puget Island, downstream tip, as seen from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Ryan Island is just visible on the far side of Puget Island. Image taken November 20, 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






Clark, March 25, 1806 ...
Last night and this morning are cool wend hard a head and tide going out, after an early brackfast we proceeded on [from their camp near Aldrich Point] about 4 miles and came too on the south side to worm and dry our Selves a little. Soon after we had landed two Indians Came from a War kia cum village on the opposite Side with 2 dogs and a fiew Wappato to Sell neither of which we bought. Som Clatsops passed down in a Canoe loaded with fish and Wappato. as the wind was hard a head and tide against us we Concluded to delay untill the return of the tide which we expected at 1 oClock, at which hour we Set out ...     we crossed over to an Island [Puget Island] on which was a Cath lahmah fishing Camp of one Lodge; here we found <one> 3 man two woman and a couple of boys who must have for Some time for the purpose of taking Sturgeon which they do by trolling. they had 10 or 12 very fine Sturgeon which had not been long taken; [White Sturgeon] ...     we remained at this place about half an hour and then Continued our rout. the winds in the evening was verry hard, it was with Some dificuelty that we Could find a Spot proper for an encampment, the Shore being a Swamp for Several miles back; at length late in the evening opposit to the place we had encamped on the 6th of Novr. last [near Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we fouond the enterance of a Small Creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs/drainages of the Clatskanie River system, near Wallace Island and Wallace Slough] which offered us a Safe harbour from the Winds and Encamped. the Ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number, who had established a temporary residence for the purpose of fishing and takeing Seal ...     here we found Drewyer and the 2 Fields' who had been Seperated from us Since Morning; they had passed on the North Side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearest. the bottom lands are Covered with a Species of Arspine, the Growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the under brush red willow, broad leafed Willow, Seven bark, Goose berry, Green bryor, and the larged leaf thorn; the latter is Now in blume, the nativs inform us that it bears a <leaf> fruit about an Inch in diamieter which is a good to eate. the red willow and 7 bark begin to put foth their leaves. The green bryor which I have before mentioned retains leaves all winter. made 15 Miles.



Lewis, March 25, 1806 ...
The morning being disagreeably cold we remained and took breakfast. at 7 A. M. we set out [from their camp near Aldrich Point] and continued our rout along the South Coast of the river against the wind and a strong current, our progress was of course but slow. at noon we halted and dined. ...     after dinner we passed the river to a large Island [Puget Island] 2 and continued our rout allong the side of the same about a mile when we arrived at a Cathlahmah fishing cam of one lodge; here we found 3 men 2 women and a couple of boys, ...     they had a good stock of fish on board, but did not seem disposed to sell them. we remained at this place [Puget Island] about half an hour and then continued our rout up the Island to it's head and passed to the south side. the wind in the evening was very hard. it was with some difficulty that we could find a spot proper for an encampment, the shore being a swamp for several miles back; at length late in the evening opposite to the place we had encamped on the 6th of November last [Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we found the entrance of a small creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs of the Clatskanie River system] which afforded us a safe harbour from the wind and encamped. the ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number who had established a temperary residence for the purpose of fishing and taking seal. ...   :  here we found Drewyer and the Feildses who had been seperated from us since morning; they had passed on the North side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearer. the bottom lands are covered with cottonwood, the growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the underbrush red willow, broad leafed willow, sevenbark, goosburry, green bryer & the larged leafed thorn; the latter is now in bloom; the natives inform us that it bears a freut about an inch in diameter which is good to eat.-




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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:    Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website, 2004; NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005; "Rootsweb.com" website, 2005; University of Washington and Washington State Digital Map Collections website, 2005, "Early Washington Maps, A Digital Collection"; Wahkiakum County Public Works website, 2005; Washington State Historical Society website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy", and 2013 "Collections"

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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August 2013