Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Shillapoo Lake, Washington"
Includes ... Shillapoo Lake ... Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Refuge ... "Shallopoo Lake" ... "Shallowpool Lake" ... "Salmon Lake" ...
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake, click to enlarge
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Shillapoo Lake, as seen from the east, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.


Shillapoo Lake ...
Shillapoo Lake is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, within the Vancouver Lake Lowlands, just upstream of the Ridgeport Dairy (Post Office Lake) Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, and north of Vancouver Lake. On the west a slough separates the Shillapoo Lake area from Caterpillar Island, and on the east lies Lake River. Shillapoo Lake was once a shallow 1,000-acre lake which was drained in the 1950s for farming. Today Shillapoo Lake is a wildlife area, with sections being redeveloped as a lake. Shillapoo and nearby Green Lake, Post Office Lake, and Campbell Lake are relicts of the natural floodplain of the Columbia River.

Lower Plain ("Vancouver Lake Lowlands") ...
In the early 1800s the Hudson's Bay Company called the area of Vancouver Lake and Shillapoo Lake the "Lower Plain". Today "birders" and others refer to this area as the "Vancouver Lake Lowlands".
[More]

Early Shillapoo Lake ...
Historicans say that early pioneers adopted the Indian name for the lake. Early names for the lake were "Chalifoux Lake", "Shallapoo Lake", "Shillapoo Lake", and "Shallowpool Lake". According to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names database Shillapoo Lake was once also called "Salmon Lake".

From the Fort Vancouver Cultural Landscape Report (1992):

1829-1846: ... "Lower Plain, west and northwest of Fort Plain, was an immense open plain, roughly triangular in shape, bounded on the east by the finger of forest separating it from Fort Plain; the forest extended to the northern edge of the plain. In the north of the plain was "Big Lake," (now Vancouver Lake) a somewhat circular lake, approximately two miles in diameter at that time, from which the "Lake River" sprang, forming the northwest boundary of the plain as it ran to the Columbia River, which formed the south and southwest edge of the plain. A finger of the lake extended south (it shows southeast on the 1844 map), forming a narrow strip of open meadow to the east of it, between one-half and three-quarters of a mile in width, in which fenced fields were laid out, certainly by the mid 1830s. Throughout most of this period, cattle, horses and sheep were pastured in the unfenced open plain, which stretched in a narrow band between river and forest for miles down river to the junction with the Lewis River. There were two more lakes on the plain: Chalifoux Lake, and another, smaller lake to the north of it. In the southeast corner, a dairy, with enclosures and structures, and a piggery with enclosures and structures, and several cultivated fields along the river were located."

1847-1860: ... "Upper Mill Road continued east from the Catholic mission on much the same route established earlier, into the rising ground of Fort Hill and from there on to Mill Plain. Connecting roads from there to the mills and the Back Plains appear to have followed the Hudson's Bay Company routes. To the west, the road ran through the north end of Vancouver City, skirted the forested area--now mostly denuded of trees--which had separated Fort Plain from Lower Plain, and dipped down to the river edge, skirting the south edge of Amos Short's fields. From there it headed north, splitting in two branches, one of which followed the earlier Hudson's Bay Company's road to the West Plain farm area, now in possession of settlers, and the second of which headed in a northwesterly direction, skirting the northern edges of the string of claims along the river in the direction of Chalifoux Lake."

The 1860, 1862, and 1863 Washington Territory cadastral surveys (tax survey) for T2N R1W and T3N R1W show the lake as "Shallapoo Lake".

An 1888 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey chart "Columbia River Sheet No.6, Fales Landing to Portland" lists the lake as "Shallowpool Lake".

An 1888 plat map of Clark County (courtesy "Rootsweb.com") shows the lake as "Shillapoo Lake".

The 1896 U.S. Geological Survey's 1/62,500 Topographic Map "Portland Quadrangle" (surveyed in 1896, culture revised in 1905) shows the lake as "Shillapoo Lake".

In 1897 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made official "Shillapoo Lake".


Shillapoo Wildlife Area ...
Shillapoo Wildlife Area, as of 2008, is a 2,370-acre habitat is located on the floodplain of the Columbia River in Clark County, southwest Washington. The Wildlife Area was initially established in 1952 with the purchase of 277 acres between Shillapoo Lake and the Columbia River. Today this is part of the Wildlife Area's 1,012-acre "South Unit". Included in the South Unit is one of the largest Great Blue Heron rookeries along the Columbia River. The 882-acre "North Unit" includes the northern and eastern portions of the drained Shillapoo lakebed and approximately 1 1/2 miles of shoreline on Lake River. There is also a third 477-acre "Vancouver Lake Unit" bordering the south side of Vancouver Lake. The Wildlife Area is managed by the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Views ...

Image, 2016, Scenic, Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
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Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2016.
Image, 2008, Scenic, Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
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Scenic, Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2016, Scenic, Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shillapoo Lake, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2016.
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken October 11, 2008.
Image, 2011, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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Rainbow, Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 8, 2011.


Shillapoo Lake, etc.

  • Birds ...
  • Swainson's Hawk ...
  • Upland Birds ...
  • Snowy Fields 2008 ...
  • Volcanoes ...


Birds ...

Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Northern Flicker. View from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken October 11, 2008.
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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House Finch, male. View from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken November 26, 2008.
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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Greater Yellowlegs. Vancouver Lake, view from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken October 11, 2008.


Swainson's Hawk ...
An unusual hawk to see in Southwestern Washington, especially during the winter !!!.
[MORE Swainson's Hawk images]

Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Swainson's Hawk. View from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. An unusual hawk to find in western Washington, and ESPECIALLY in December. Image taken December 6, 2008.
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Swainson's Hawk. View from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. An unusual hawk to find in western Washington, and ESPECIALLY in December. Image taken December 11, 2008.


Upland Birds ...
During the fall, areas of the Shillapoo Wildlife Area are stocked with pheasant and open to hunting.

Image, 2008, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ring-necked Pheasant, male. View from Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken December 6, 2008.
Image, 2007, Shillapoo Upland Bird area, click to enlarge
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Shillapoo Upland Bird area. Image taken September 22, 2007.
Image, 2008, Shillapoo Upland Bird area, click to enlarge
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Heading back to the car after a long days hunt. Shillapoo Upland Bird area. Image taken October 11, 2008.


Snowy Fields 2008 ...

Image, 2009, Vancouver Lake Lowlands, click to enlarge
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Vancouver Lake Lowlands. Image taken January 2, 2009.
Image, 2009, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken January 2, 2009.
Image, 2009, Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Area, click to enlarge
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Duck/Goose hunter in cornfield, Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Image taken January 2, 2009.


Volcanoes ...

Image, 2003, Mount St. Helens, Washington, from Shillapoo Lake wildlife area, click to enlarge
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Looking across Shillapoo Wildlife Area towards Mount St. Helens, Washington. Image taken, July 4, 2003.
Image, 2003, Mount Hood and the Shillapoo Lake wildlife area, click to enlarge
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Looking across Shillapoo Wildlife Area towards Mount Hood, Oregon. View from Post Office Lake area, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken, July 2, 2003.
Image, 2005, Mount Hood from Post Office Lake area, click to enlarge
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Mount Hood, Oregon. View from Post Office Lake area, looking across Shillapoo Lake Wildlife Refuge. Image taken January 30, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 30, 1806 ...
we got under way verry early [from their camp near Wapato Portage] and had not proceeded to the head of the island [Bachelor Island] before we met with the three men of the Clan-nar-min-a-mon's who met us yesterday brackfast at the upper point of the Island [Bachelor Island] we met Several of the Clackstar and Cath-lah-cum-up in two canoes. Soon after we were overtaken by Several Canoes of different tribes who reside on each Side of the river the three above Tribes and the Clh-in-na-ta cathy-lah-nah-qui-up & Cath-lah-com-mah-tup reside on each Side of Wappato inlet [Multnomah Channel] and back of Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] which Island is formed by a Small Chanel which passes from the Lower part of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] into an inlet which makes in from the S W. Side, and receves the water of a Creek which heads with the Kil a mox River. this wappato Island [Sauvie Island] is about 18 or 20 Miles long and in places from 6 to 10 miles wide high & furtile with ponds on different parts of it in which the nativs geather Wappato. nearly opposit the upper point of the Isld. behing which we encamped last night, or on the Wappato Isld. is Several Camps of the nativs catching Sturgion. about 5 miles Still higher up and on the N E. Side we halted for brackfast at the place which We had encamped the 4th of November last [near Post Office Lake, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge]. here we were visited by several canoes of Indians from two Towns a Short distance above on the Wappato Island [Sauvie Island]. the 1st of those Tribes Call themselves Clan-nah-quah and Situated about 2 miles above us, the other about a mile above Call themselves Mult-no-mah ...     at 10 a. m. we Set out and had not proceeded far before we came to a landing place where there was Several large canoes hauled up, and Sitting in a canoe, appearantly waiting our arival with a view to join the fleet indian who was then along Side of us. this man informed he was a Shoto and that his nation resided a little distance from the river. we landed and one of the indians pointed to the Shoto village which is Situated back of Pond [Vancouver Lake] which lies parrelal with the river on the N E. Side nearly opposit the Clan-nah quah village. here we were also joined by Several Canoes loaded with the natives from the Island who Continued to accompany us untill about 4 oClock when they all returned and we proceeded on to the place the Indians Stole my Tomahawk 4th Novr. last [Hayden Island] and Encamped in a Small Prarie ["Jolie Prairie" where Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airpark would some day be located] above a large Pond on N. E and opposit the Center of image Canoe Island [Hayden Island]. capt Lewis walked out and Saw Several deer. Jo. Field Shot at Elk he killed and brought in a fine duck. ...     we made 22 Miles only to day the wind and a Strong current being against us all day, with rain. discovered a high mountain S E. Covered with Snow which we call Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon]





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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:    Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Cultural Landscape Report, 1992;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2005, 2007;    U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006;    Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife website, 2008;   

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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June 2017