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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Vancouver Lake, Washington"
Includes ... Vancouver Lake ... Vancouver Lake Park ... Mount Adams ... Mount Rainier ... Mount St. Helens ... Mount Hood ... Mount Jefferson ...
Image, 2003, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken June 29, 2003.


Vancouver Lake ...
Vancouver Lake is a large, shallow, 2,858-acre lake, measuring 3 miles long and 2 miles wide. It is located on the right bank of the Columbia River, downstream of Vancouver, Washington, and across from the mouth of the Willamette River and Sauvie Island, Oregon. Vancouver Lake is located within the Vancouver Lake Lowlands. Downstream of Vancouver Lake are other smaller lakes following the Columbia, such as Shillapoo Lake, Post Office Lake, Green Lake and Campbell Lake. Vancouver Lake drains into the Columbia River via Lake River, located on the north side of Vancouver Lake. There also is an island at the northern part of the lake, created in the early 1980s as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the perimeter of the lake.

Vancouver Lake Park ...
Vancouver Lake Park is a 234-acre regional park located on west shore of Vancouver Lake, with 35 of those acres developed. The park stretches for 2.5 miles along shore. Views of five volcanoes can be seen -- Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens to the north, Mount Adams and Mount Hood to the east, and Mount Jefferson just barely is visible to the south. The park is also a wetlands haven for wildlife and migratory waterfowl. A 2.5-mile multi-use trail connects Vancouver Lake Park to Frenchman's Bar Riverfront Park. In 1983 the flushing channel was constructed, the beach was developed, and the public began using the park and the lake.

Early Vancouver Lake ...
Lewis and Clark mentioned Vancouver Lake on March 30, 1806, and called it a "Pond".

"... we landed and one of the indians pointed to the Shoto village which is Situated back of Pond which lies parrelal with the river on the N E. Side nearly opposit the Clan-nah quah village. ..." [Clark, March 30, 1806]

The 1860 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T2N R1E, shows the lake named "Vancouver Lake".


Lower Plain ("Vancouver Lake Lowlands") ...
In the early 1800s the Hudson's Bay Company called the area of Vancouver Lake the "Lower Plain". Birders today refer to it as the "Vancouver Lake Lowlands".

From: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Cultural Landscape Report, 1992:

  • "The site of the Hudson's Bay farm at Fort Vancouver, at its greatest extent in the 1840s, consisted of three large open meadows--called by the Hudson's Bay Company Fort Plain, Lower Plain and Mill Plain--in the forest along the Columbia River. There were also five open spaces or "plains" north and east of the three principal plains, jointly referred to as the Back Plains, on which crops were periodically raised."

  • "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. "

Views ...

Image, 2010, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rubber raft, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken September 12, 2010.
Image, 2010, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Kayak, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken September 14, 2010.
Image, 2009, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Winter, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 10, 2009.
Image, 2008, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
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Vancouver Lake, Washington, winter view. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2008, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Vancouver Lake, Washington, winter view. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2014, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken February 25, 2014.
Image, 2005, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Summer, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken July 3, 2005.


Vancouver Lake, etc.

  • Birds ...
  • Dragon Boats ...
  • Five Volcanoes ...
  • Moon ...


Birds ...

Image, 2008, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Common Merganser, female, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2008, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Red-tailed Hawk, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2008, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
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Greater Yellowlegs, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken October 11, 2008.


Dragon Boats ...
[More]

Image, 2015, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Dragon Boat, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken August 2, 2015.
Image, 2015, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Kearney Breast Center Dragon Boat, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken August 2, 2015.


Five Volcanoes ...
Five Cascade Range volcanoes can be seen from the shores of Vancouver Lake, including Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens in Washington State, and Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson in Oregon.

Image, 2008, Mount Adams, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
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Mount Adams, Washington, from Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2014, Mount St. Helens, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Mount St. Helens, Washington, from Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 1, 2014.
Image, 2010, Mount Hood, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
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Mount Hood, Oregon, from Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken September 14, 2010.


Moon ...

Image, 2010, Vancouver Lake, Washington,  click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Half Moon, Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken September 14, 2010.


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:    City of Vancouver, Washington website, 2010, Vancouver Lake Watershed Partnership;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2010, General Land Office Records;    Vancouver-Clark County Parks and Recreation website, 2004;    Washington State Department of Ecology website, 2004.

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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July 2015