Journey on the Cowlitz

By The Chronicle & SeeSouthwestWA.com

Author: bvoie

Journey on the Cowlitz: The Complete Adventure

Published on July 11, 2015 and inserted into print editions of The Chronicle.

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First By Air, Then By Raft

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An Aerial Look at the Cowlitz River Precedes Journey

By The Chronicle

news.150528.cowlitz.aerials.upper.phc0727The Cowlitz River stretches from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River.

Over approximately 105 miles, it winds through wilderness and pastures, communities and recreational areas.

news.150521.cowlitz.aerials.phc0393In preparation for The Chronicle’s Journey on the Cowlitz, Visuals Editor Pete Caster took two flights above the river.

The purpose was twofold.

The aerial endeavors allow us to gather current images of a river known for its ability to transform.… Read More

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Preparing for a Journey on the Cowlitz

By Eric Schwartz, Editor

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The sun was preparing to make its first appearance as I huddled under a shelter at Rainbow Falls State Park, straining my eyes to focus on my laptop screen as I attempted to harness mental waves of exhaustion and excitement. 

It was June 2009, and former Chronicle photographer Brandon Swanson and I were preparing to embark on a journey that would take us from the Doty and Dryad area all the way to Grays HarborRead More

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The View From Above: Scouting the Cowlitz River

Journey on the Cowlitz, The Chronicle, June 2, 2015 / TDC-150602-A008

Journey on the Cowlitz, The Chronicle, June 2, 2015 / TDC-150602-A008

The View from Above the Basin

news.150528.cowlitz.aerials.upper.phc0867From about 1,500 feet up, the cities of Lewis County look like toy villages built into the threadbare patches of an old scrunched-up shag rug. Descend any lower and humanity’s imprint becomes more real and you see how we’ve imposed a geometric order over the natural world. Trees, like green starburst sentinels, stand in checkerboard formations, often abutting sprawling green fields or housing developments at the edge of town.… Read More

Cowlitz River Hatchery Production Plan Sees Little Change

Attendees at a Cowlitz Fisheries Annual Project Review Meeting listen to officials from Tacoma Power and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at Wednesday at Centralia College.

Attendees at a Cowlitz Fisheries Annual Project Review Meeting listen to officials from Tacoma Power and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at Wednesday at Centralia College.

The number of hatchery salmon and steelhead released in the Cowlitz River isn’t going to change much from the implemented 2014 plan to the draft 2015 plan, officials said at a Wednesday night meeting in Centralia.

The most notable change is a 25,000 boost to summer-run steelhead released, increasing from 625,000 to 650,000 under the Fisheries and Hatchery Management Plan.… Read More

Clouds settle above the Nisqually River at Mount Rainier National Park on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

Day 1: Glacial Views? The Picture Is Fuzzy

Heavy Clouds and Friendly Scientists Greet Cowlitz Explorers

Editor’s Note: Chronicle Reporter Dameon Pesanti and Visuals Editor Pete Caster have begun their trip down the Cowlitz River. They began on Mount Rainier Tuesday, and will finish at the Columbia River in the next two weeks. The duo plans to begin rafting Friday.

Runoff from the Nisqually Glacier trickles down the mountain side on Tuesday, June 6, 2015 at Mount Rainier National Park.

Runoff from the Nisqually Glacier trickles down the mountain side on Tuesday, June 6, 2015 at Mount Rainier National Park.

Not everything goes as planned, and sometimes that’s for the better.… Read More

Mount Rainier National Park Regional Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, center, stands in the basin near the Nisqually River while explaining how excess sediment has widened the river bed on Tuesday afternoon at the national park. The excess sediment has caused the river bed to rise drastically which damages trees along the sides of the river bed along with causing road damage to Route 706, the main road in the park that leads to Paradise.

Journey on the Cowlitz: Glacial Beginnings

Imagine prehistoric glaciers carving the land we call Lewis County almost like a child scraping a groove through a sandbox.

Roughly 35,000 years ago, long valley-filling glaciers extended from the Mount Rainier area into what is now Silver Creek near Mayfield Lake.

Mount Rainier National Park Regional Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, center, stands in the basin near the Nisqually River while explaining how excess sediment has widened the river bed on Tuesday afternoon at the national park. The excess sediment has caused the river bed to rise drastically which damages trees along the sides of the river bed along with causing road damage to Route 706, the main road in the park that leads to Paradise.

Mount Rainier National Park Regional Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, center, stands in the basin near the Nisqually River while explaining how excess sediment has widened the river bed on Tuesday afternoon at the national park.

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A River Dammed, A Legacy Shifted

How Tacoma Power Plans for the Cowlitz River Inspired One of the State’s Greatest Adventurers Into a Career of Conservation

 
By Dameon Pesanti / dpesanti@chronline.com
wolf3The Cowlitz River was once a favorite recreation spot for Wolf Bauer, a man many consider the father of mountaineering and kayaking in the Pacific Northwest.
Although his efforts to stop the construction of the Mayfield and Mossyrock dams were in vain, the experience was the catalyst for his efforts to protect the Green River Gorge and other waterways around the state.… Read More
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Riverboat Captains Faced Challenging Waters on the Cowlitz River While Providing Regular Transport for Nearly 50 Years

By Kaylee Osowski / kosowski@chronline.com
Editor’s Note: Today’s edition concludes the Journey on the Cowlitz, a two-week trip down the river from the headwaters to the Columbia River. See previous stories — including more historical articles — at cowlitz.seesouthwestwa.com.
wolf4If today’s Cowlitz River anglers and recreationists were on the river 100 to about 150 years ago, they may have run into some steamboat and ferry traffic from Toledo to Longview.
For decades, riverboats traveled back and forth on the Cowlitz River at Toledo and the Columbia River in Portland transporting goods and passengers with regular boat schedules emerging in 1878 and lasting until 1918.… Read More
Travis Lee paddles down a small ledge in the Ohanapecosh River in late June. LeeÕs 8-foot kayak is a Òcreek boatÓ meaning itÕs designed to plow through steep shallow rapids and remain as upright as possible.

Rapids Are Liquid Gold in the Upper Reaches of the Cowlitz Basin

Paddling: Cowlitz Tributaries Offer Extreme, Virtually Unspoiled Whitewater

By Dameon Pesanti / dpesanti@chronline.com

Travis Lee paddles down a small ledge in the Ohanapecosh River in late June. LeeÕs 8-foot kayak is a Òcreek boatÓ meaning itÕs designed to plow through steep shallow rapids and remain as upright as possible.

Travis Lee paddles down a small ledge in the Ohanapecosh River in late June. Lee’s 8-foot kayak is a “creek boat” meaning it’s designed to plow through steep shallow rapids and remain as upright as possible.

The uppermost reaches of the Cowlitz Basin has a landscape like that from another time in history. It’s virtually untouched by the modern world, and the waters tumbling off the shoulders of Mount Rainier are seen firsthand only by the most experienced whitewater explorers.… Read More

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