Julia Butler Hansen Refuge For The Columbian White-tail Deer
Located in southwestern Washington, the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge was established in 1972 specifically to protect and manage the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.The refuge contains over 5,600 acres of pastures, forested tidal swamps, brushy woodlots, marshes, and sloughs along the Columbia River in both Washington and Oregon. The mainland refuge unit, the Hunting Islands, and Price Island are in Washington. Tenasillahe Island, Wallace Island, and several parcels around Westport are in Oregon.The valuable habitat the refuge preserves for the deer also benefits a large variety of wintering birds, a small herd of Roosevelt elk, river otter, various reptiles and amphibians including painted turtles and red-legged frogs, and several pairs of nesting bald eagles and osprey. The Columbian white-tailed deer is one of 30 subspecies of white-tailed deer in North America, and the only one found west of the Cascade Mountains. These deer once ranged throughout the river valleys west of the Cascade Mountains from the Umpqua River in Oregon, northward through the Willamette Valley to Puget Sound, and westward down the lower Columbia River.During the 1800s, deer numbers were dangerously low due to overhunting and loss of habitat. By the turn of the century, they had disappeared from nearly all of their range and, in the 1930s, were thought to be extinct. Remnant populations were discovered here and near Roseburg, Oregon.In 1968, the lower Columbia River population was listed as a federally endangered species because it was in imminent danger of becoming extinct. This population is now found only along the lower Columbia River between Skamokawa, Washington, and Clatskanie, Oregon.Today, about 300 of these deer live on the refuge. Another 300-400 live on private lands along the river. The areas upstream from the refuge on Puget Island and on the Oregon side of the river are vital to reestablishing and maintaining viable populations of the species. The refuge works with private and corporate landowners to maintain and reestablish deer on their lands.
From Interstate 5, take the Longview exit. Proceed west on Highway 4 to Cathlamet. Continue on Highway 4 about 1 mile past Cathlamet to Steamboat Slough Road (just west of Elochoman River bridge). Turn left on Steamboat Slough Road. Refuge headquarters is about 0.25 miles to the right.Hunting, Price, Tenasillahe, and Wallace Islands are accessible only by boat. Public launching facilities are available in Washington at the Cathlamet Mooring Basin, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch on State Highway 4 between Cathlamet and Skamokawa, and Skamokawa Vista Park. Launch facilities on the Oregon shore are available at Aldrich Point east of Astoria. Kayak and canoe rentals are available at Skamokawa.www.hobogrill.org