Journey on the Cowlitz

By The Chronicle & SeeSouthwestWA.com

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Owner of the St. Helens Tap House, Callie Fraser, right, gets ready to leave the bar for the day on Monday afternoon in downtown Toledo.

St. Helens Tap House Refreshes Toledo in More Ways Than One

Business: Local Watering Hole Offers Local-Only Brews

A lot has changed since Chris and Callie Fraser bought the local watering hole in Toledo about two years ago.

When it was still open, Harry’s Place was the sort of dive bar that small towns are famous for. Locals might have loved it, but it attracted a very specific kind of clientele. When the Frasers bought it, they wanted to keep the bar spirit alive, but they had broader vision for what it could be, thus the St.Read More

A Great Blue Heron takes off from the Cowlitz River on Monday morning near the Barrier Dam in Salkum.

Journey on the Cowlitz: The Fishermen Smirk While the River Relaxes

June 15, Monday: Barrier Dam to Toledo Is a Step into a Wholly Different Type of Cowlitz

Editor’s Note: Reporter Dameon Pesanti and Visuals Editor Pete Caster are traveling from the headwaters of the Cowlitz River to its confluence with the Columbia River in Longview.

People take a trip down the Cowlitz on Monday morning near the Blue Creek Trout Hatchery in Ethel.

People take a trip down the Cowlitz on Monday morning near the Blue Creek Trout Hatchery in Ethel.

It’s hard to ignore the pungent smell of dead fish at the Barrier Dam boat launch and even harder to escape it.Read More

The Velma shuttles across the Cowlitz River in Toledo in the early 1900s. The boat made trips from Toledo to Kelso. (Submitted byConnie Calvin Storey)

Cowlitz River Gave Birth to Town of Toledo

A Look Back at the Watery History of a South Lewis County City

This Cowlitz River photo was taken in 1900 during a flood in Toledo. The photo was found in the Lacey Calvin collection and was taken by his grandfather, W. F. Nash of Toledo. (Submitted by Thomas Calvin)

This Cowlitz River photo was taken in 1900 during a flood in Toledo. The photo was found in the Lacey Calvin collection and was taken by his grandfather, W. F. Nash of Toledo. (Submitted by Thomas Calvin)

The wild river winding its way southwest toward the mighty Columbia brought early pioneers to Lewis County and the Puget Sound aboard shallow, stone-chiseled canoes and flat-bottomed bateaux, provided passengers travel upstream aboard steamboats that hauled farmers’ produce downstream and loaned its name to the first newspaper ever published in Toledo.… Read More

Honorary chief and chairman of the cultural committee of the Cowlitz Tribe, Roy Wilson, walks along the banks of the Cowlitz River on a piece of property owned by the tribe. The tribe owns 33 properties, and originally they inhabitated 43 villages along its banks.

Cowlitz Tribe Created a Life Along River Now Carrying Its Name

River Was Used as a Source of Food, Transportation

Roy Wilson, honorary chief of the Cowlitz Tribe and chairman of the cultural committee, talks about the villages that were once scattered along the banks of the Cowlitz River on Tuesday. In all, 43 villages were situated along the waters.

Roy Wilson, honorary chief of the Cowlitz Tribe and chairman of the cultural committee, talks about the villages that were once scattered along the banks of the Cowlitz River on Tuesday. In all, 43 villages were situated along the waters.

For one American Indian tribe, the Cowlitz is far more than a river: It’s a place they used to call home, a resource that provided them food and a channel for transportation.… Read More

A bald eagle flies off with a fish in its talons on Tuesday afternoon five miles west of Toledo.

Soaring to the Finish: Journalists Finish Journey From Mount Rainier to the Columbia River

June 16, Tuesday: The Big Push from Toledo to Castle Rock and on to Longview

Editor’s Note: Reporter Dameon Pesanti and Visuals Editor Pete Caster finished traveling from the headwaters of the Cowlitz River to its confluence with the Columbia River in Longview Wednesday.

In its continuous march to the sea, the Cowlitz River has meandered like a snake slithering through the grass. Winding through Southwest Washington, it has eroded curved stretches of the shore while leaving rocky banks on the other side.Read More

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St. Helens Sand Turns From Bane to Boon in Castle Rock, Where Toutle River Meets Cowlitz

Development: Volcanic Sands From the 1980 Blast and Landslide Keep Giving

Murky, silt-filled of the Toutle River mixes into the Cowlitz River north of Castle Rock on Tuesday afternoon.

Murky, silt-filled of the Toutle River mixes into the Cowlitz River north of Castle Rock on Tuesday afternoon.

CASTLE ROCK — In this southwest Washington community, a 60-acre pile of sediment dredged out of the Cowlitz River is a reminder of the titanic power of the Mount St. Helens eruption.

This is a tiny sliver of the largest landslide in recorded history, which cut loose on May 18, 1980, to trigger the blast, and flushed downstream a roiling mass of earth and debris.Read More

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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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