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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Wallace Island and Wallace Slough, Oregon"
Includes ... Wallace Island ... Wallace Slough ... "Sturgeon Island" ... Campsite of March 25, 1806 ... "Yupat's Island" ... "Kotze Island" ... "Natsox Run" ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2012, Wallace Island, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Slough and Wallace Island, Oregon. Image taken September 17, 2012.


Wallace Island ...
The nearly three-mile long Wallace Island hugs the Oregon shore of the Columbia River, beginning at River Mile (RM) 48. Wallace Island is separated from the Oregon shore by Wallace Slough. The mouth of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough merges with the Columbia River near the upstream tip of Wallace Island, and across from Wallace Island on the Washington State side is Wahkiakum County's Cape Horn. Puget Island is approximately 2 miles downstream and Crims Island 4 miles upstream. Wallace Island was purchased in 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is now part of the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbian White-tailed deer. A good view of Wallace Island (and Mount St. Helens too) can be had from Jones Beach downstream on the Oregon side.

Wallace Slough ...
Wallace Slough separates Wallace Island from the Oregon shore.

Lewis and Clark and Wallace Island and Wallace Slough ...
On the Lewis and Clark 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. Wallace Island is depicted upstream 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". The route map [map#81] is a little different. 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). On the Washington shore directly across from "Sturgeon Isl." is the notation for the camp of November 6, 1805 (Wahkiakum County's Cape Horn), while on the southern shore, the camp of March 25, 1806, is noted on the west bank of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough.

Campsite of March 25, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of March 25, 1806, was on the western bank of the Clatskanie River, across from the upstream end of Wallace Island.
[More]

Early Wallace Island and Wallace Slough ...
On October 26, 1792, Lieutenant William Broughton, of the George Vancouver Expededition, passed through this area and called Wallace Slough "Swaine's River".

In 1805 Lewis and Clark called this island "Sturgeon Island".

In 1841 Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called the western half of Wallace Island "Yupat's Island", the eastern half "Kotze Island". He called Wallace Slough "Natsox Run".

"... Natsox Run passes between Yupat's and Kotze Islands and the south shore: it has only depth of water sufficient for small barges and boats. ..." [Wilkes, 1841]

The current name is after an early settler, Wallace Slang.

In 1914 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Wallace Island" (and also "Wallace Slough") official. Often seen in use was "Wallaces Island".


Views ...

Image, 2004, Wallace Island, Oregon, with Mount St. Helens, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Downstream tip of Wallace Island, Oregon, with Mount St. Helens, Washington. View from Jones Beach, Oregon, looking upstream. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2004, Wallace Island, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Island and Wallace Slough, Oregon. Autumn at Wallace Island, Oregon, with cliffs of Washington State in the background. Image taken November 20, 2004.
Image, 2012, Wallace Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Island (on left) and Wallace Slough, looking east, Oregon. Image taken September 17, 2012.
Image, 2004, Wallace Slough boathouse, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Boathouse, Wallace Slough, Oregon. Boathouse along the Oregon banks of Wallace Slough. Image taken February 21, 2004.
Image, 2012, Clatskanie River near Wallace Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Slough and the Columbia River junction. View towards the Columbia River (with the cliffs of Washington's Eagle Cliff in the background) where the Wallace Slough separates around Wallace Island. View from Erickson Dike Road. Image taken August 28, 2012.
Image, 2005, Wallace Slough, Oregon, with Mount Rainier, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Slough, Oregon, with Mount Rainier, Washington. Image taken February 21, 2005.


Wallace Island and Wallace Slough, etc.

  • Benson Rafts ...
  • Mount Rainier and Wallace Slough ...
  • Mount St. Helens and Wallace Island ...
  • Remembering Wallace Island and Mayger, Oregon ...

"Benson Rafts" ...
In the early 1900s the quiet waters of Wallace Slough were used to construct huge "Benson Log Rafts", nearly 1,000 feet long, with the lumber being towed to mills in San Diego, California.
[More]

Penny Postcard, Log Rafts, San Diego, California, ca.1915
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Log Rafts from the Columbia, waiting at San Diego, ca.1915
Penny Postcard, ca.1915, "Log Rafts of five million feet each, 900 feet long, depth 28 feet below Waterline, San Diego, Cal." Divided back, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, published by Eno & Matteson, San Diego. Made in U.S.A. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2012, Wallace Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wallace Slough, looking east, Oregon. Wallace Island is on the left. Image taken September 17, 2012.


Mount Rainier from Wallace Slough ...

Image, 2005, Mount Rainier from Wallace Slough, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Rainier, Washington, from Wallace Slough, Oregon. Image taken February 21, 2005.


Mount St. Helens and Wallace Island ...

Image, 2004, Wallace Island, Oregon, with Mount St. Helens, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Downstream tip of Wallace Island, Oregon, with Mount St. Helens, Washington. View from Jones Beach, Oregon, looking upstream. Image taken November 20, 2004.


Remembering Wallace Island and Mayger, Oregon ...
E-mail to me from Russell Kallio, now living in Alaska, who grew up in the Clatskanie area during the 1960s through 1980s, with fond memories of Wallace Island, of Mayger and the fish station there, and of the Clatskanie, Oregon area.

"Hi i was looking up some history on lewis and clark and came across your pictures of the last 50 miles or so of their journey. i must say they brought back a flood of memories for me since i grew up hunting fishing and trapping on the very same sloughs along the lower cloumbia river. (i grew up in clatskanie) it was my ol hometown altho now it has since changed. ... mayger beach and fish station was a favorite swimming spot, we used to jump off the roof of the fish station into the columbia . wallace island we called pig island because of the pigs turned loose there and they went feral, they were quite good eating tho. nothing like lean pork. i recall fishing for sturgeon in that area as well as a few other secret spots along the river bottoms. ... thanks again Russell Kallio, October 5, 2006"


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Today the Penny Postcard has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Log Rafts, San Diego, California, ca.1915
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Log Rafts from the Columbia, waiting at San Diego, ca.1915
Penny Postcard, ca.1915, "Log Rafts of five million feet each, 900 feet long, depth 28 feet below Waterline, San Diego, Cal." Divided back, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, published by Eno & Matteson, San Diego. Made in U.S.A. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

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.





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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:    Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland;    Kallio, Russell, 2006, personal communication;    Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website, 2004;    U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006;    Washington State Historical Society website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy";   

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 2016