Friday, May 21, 2010

Sauvie Island Exploration

21 May 2010 Friday
Another rainy day, so without hesitation, I drive into Portland to West Marine and turn in my old batteries and then head to the Marine Exchange to see if there is anything I might need. On the way back to the marina in Scappoose I take a little side trip to visit the interior parts of Sauvie Island which I haven't seen.

The natives here refer to Sauvie Island as the largest island in fresh water in the USA. I often repeat that statement, but have never challenged it, for its truth. Last night I went online and the largest fresh water island is Isle Royal, MI in Lake Superior. Other large islands in the USA mentioned are, of course, in salt water; Kodiak Island in Alaska, Padre Island in Texas, Long Island in New York, and our beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington state. It is certainly safe to say that Sauvie Island is the largest island on the Columbia River, the largest on the west coast and probably the largest west of the Mississippi River.

Lewis and Clarke called it Wapato Island for its wapato roots that sustained the native Indian population and fed them as well. Check out the history of this island on the Columbia River Images Link below. The island lies on a north and south axis with the Columbia River on the east side, the Willlamette River on the south end and the Multnomah Channel on the west side. The downriver or north end of the island is a huge wildlife refuge with many lakes, marches, ponds and ditches. While the South end is comprised of many beautiful farms, ranches and nurseries. The island is flat and you share the roads with many bikers in the summer, but today I was all alone. There are 2 rv parks, numerous beach areas(some clothing free) and many hiking trails and plenty of porta potties.
Several osprey nesting poles have been put up and all had mothers sitting on eggs.

The Portland Yacht Club has its out station Willow Bar, but they don't honor reciprocal privileges. This is located on the Columbia River side of the island and is on a small slough with a tricky entrance. I have cruised past this entrance numerous times, but this is a first to see it from land. there is a small rv park, coffee shop/grocery store located on the other side of the road.

My side excursion today was fun and I got to see many birds; flickers, gold finches, tohees, Great Blues, Ospreys, Eagles, and Canada Geese. The farms are beautiful and the island is well managed. Sauvie Island is a very special island and while not the largest, it certainly ranks as very special to the local islanders I spoke with in the Reeder Rv Park and Grocery store.