Curiosity of a Traveler

May 4, 2023

What kind of wood are all the pilings made of and what were they used for?

The poles or "piling" are logs from 80-year old Douglas-fir trees. They are a maximum of 60 feet in length and are embedded up to 20 feet into the river bottom. The rows of piling were used during the log sorting and raft making process and also for:

• The process of log driving involves moving logs from a forest to sawmills downstream using the current of a river.

• Rafting logs involves mimicking exact logs from the leader to ensure logs across nodes are in the same order.

• Drying fishing nets - Gill net fishing on the Columbia River show wooden poles set in the river bed supporting the nets.

• Horse Seining - Commercial horse seining on the Columbia River played a vital role in the area’s economy from the 1890s through the 1940s. When the river was in full swing, dozens of men would gather near Desdemona Sands and Sand Island to collect the bounty of salmon that awaited them

• Desdemona Sands Lighthouse - It was one of the last wooden straight-pile lighthouses built in the United States. Desdemona Sands was deactivated in 1934 and dismantled in 1945.

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