Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Sandy Island"
Includes ... Sandy Island ...
Image, 2003, Columbia River towards Sandy Island, from Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River and Sandy Island, from Kalama, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2003.


Sandy Island ...
Sandy Island lies in the middle of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) _____. On the Washington shore is Kalama and the Kalama River. On the Oregon shore is the town of Goble.

Image, 2005, Sandy Island from Goble Landing docks, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Downstream tip of Sandy Island, as seen from Goble Landing docks, Oregon. Image taken February 19, 2005.


Early Sandy Island ...
Lewis and Clark pass by Sandy Island on November 5, 1805, and on March 28, 1806, but make no mention of the island. Their route map [Moulton, Vol.1, Map#80] does show a small island across from their March 27, 1806 campsite near Goble, Oregon.

In 1841, Charles Wilkes, of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called the Island "Sandy Island". Because Wilkes gave his own names to the majority of the features he passed, it could be assumed that the name "Sandy Island" might have been in use for this island for quite some time.

The 1856 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T6N R2W, filed at the Surveyor's Office of Oregon, has the "Gobal" homestead labeled. Upstream off the Oregon shore is "Coffin Rock" and downstream towards the middle of the Columbia River is "Sandy Isd.".

The 1888 nautical chart "Columbia River, Sheet No.4, Grim's Island to Kalama", has Sandy Island labeled as "Sandy I.", and shows it directly across from the Washington town of "Kalama". Just downstream on the Oregon side is "Gobles Pt.".

Sandy Island in 1942 ...

From the 1942 NOAA "Coast Pilot":

"Kalama River is used chiefly at its mouth by smelt fishermen. Kalama, on the eastern bank, is an occasional stop for ocean-going vessels to pick up lumber. There is a ferry between Kalama, and Goble on the western bank. Thie channel on the western and southern sides of Sandy Island was good for 14-foot draft in 1938, and was used by tow boats with log rafts and barges."


Image, 2003, Sandy Island, from Kalama, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sandy Island, from Kalama, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2003.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 27, 1806 ...
a rainey disagreeable night     rained the greater part of the night     we Set out this morning verry early [from their camp on Walker Island] and proceeded on to two houses of the Skil-lute Indians on the South Side [downstream of Rainier, Oregon] here we found our hunters who had Seperated from us last evening.     the wind rose and the rain became very hard Soon after we landed here we were very friendly receved by the natives who gave all our party as much fish as they Could eate, ...     resumed our voyage at 12 oClock. The principal village of the Skil-lutes is Situated on the lower Side of the Cow-e-lis kee river [Cowlitz River] a fiew miles from it's enterance into the Columbia. ...     The Cow e lis kee river [Cowlitz River] is 150 yards wide, is deep and from Indian information navigable a very conslderable distance for canoes. it discharges itself into the Columbia about 3 miles above a remarkable knob [Mount Coffin] which is high and rocky and Situated on the North Side of the Columbia, and Seperated from the Northern hills of the river by a Wide bottom of Several Miles, to which it united [today the cities of Longview and Kelso, Washington]. I Suspect that this river Waters the Country lying west of a range of Mountains which passes the Columbia between the Great falls and rapids, and North of the Same nearly to the low country which Commences on the N W. Coast about Latitude 4o [blank] North. ...     at the distance of 2 miles above the village at which we brackfast we passed the enterance of this river [Cowlitz River]; we Saw Several fishing camps of the Skillutes on both Sides of the Columbia, and also on both Sides of this river. ...     late in the evening we passed the place we Camped the 5th of Novr. [Prescott Beach] and Encamped about 4 miles above at the Commencement of the Columbian Vally on the Stard. Side [near Goble, Oregon] below Deer Island [Deer Island, Oregon]. ...

[between Prescott Beach and Goble lies Coffin Rock, a basalt feature on the south side of the Columbia, now located on property owned by the Trojan Nuclear Facility]

Saw Cotton wood, Sweet Willow, w[hite] oake, ash and the broad leafed ash the Growth which resembles the bark &c. these form the groth of the bottom lands, whilst the Hills are almost exclusively Covered with the various Species of fir heretofore discribed. the black alder appears on Maney parts of the hills Sides as on the bottoms. before we Set out from the 2 houses where we brackfast we Sent on two Canoes with the best hunters, with orders to pro ceed as fast as they Could to Deer island [Deer Island, Oregon] and there to hunt and wait our arrival. we wish to halt at that place and repare 2 of our Canoes if possible. the Indians that visited us this evining remained but a Short time, they passed over to an Island [Sandy Island ???] and encamped. the night as well as the day proved Cold wet and excessively disagreeable. we Came 20 miles in the Course of this day.





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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: NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005, 2006; Oregon Bureau of Land Management website, 2005.

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