Talk:Columbia River

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Featured article Columbia River is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 18, 2017.

Finetooth and Theodore Roosevelt 1908[edit]

In this edit User:Finetooth decided to remove a ref plus an extract of text from it (that appeared in the notes, NOT in the main article body) stating "please discuss large-scale changes on talk page before making them". I have readded the ref, plus the text (now in the main body) stating: "REJECT assertion that including ref which cites relevant portion of pub dom primary src. as footnote is "large-scale change" or that I have to get approval for simple edits first." If you think the extract is too long then pare it down. If you think that the extract doesn't improve the article then say so when removing it, but leave the ref. If you think that its unnecessary to use if its mentioned in the first, then say so when taking it out (though I don't see how removing the ref itself improves the article at all). But don't assert that an edit that literally doesn't change the meaning of the body text is a "large-scale change" or that I somehow have to get your approval first. -- Limulus (talk) 21:16, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

First, let's tone it down, NO NEED TO SHOUT with all caps. Secondly, since Finetooth was one of the editors to help get this article to Featured Status, perhaps a little WP:AFG. Lastly, please properly cite what you added to match the existing citations, per WP:CITE. It's those little things that can lead down the road of de-listing at FAR. Thanks. Aboutmovies (talk) 01:29, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Added Template:Cite web to the ref to improve the quality. Note: while A STRING OF ALL CAPS WORDS LIKE THIS MEANS SHOUTING, yes, single words in capitals are for EMPHASIS, similar to using italics or *asterisks*. -- Limulus (talk) 03:17, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Limulus, please see our Wikiquette. An all caps word is a shouted word. If you must emphasize something, use italics, though that should not be necessary if the message is well formed. —EncMstr (talk) 03:20, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I understand, Limulus, that it's annoying to have any of your changes reverted, and I don't doubt that you made them in good faith. It took a group of editors what I think must have been hundreds of hours collectively to get the article up to FA, and we are naturally protective of it even though we don't own it. It's my opinion that the quote adds unnecessary detail to an already long article. The point that canneries were hard on the salmon is adequately made without the Roosevelt quote, in my opinion. I would suggest reverting to the last version by User:Epipelagic. If the Roosevelt quote is not used, then the citation to its source is not necessary. The source to the power council document supports the original claim that canneries were hard on the fish. If other editors who have contributed significantly to the article think that the Roosevelt quote is a good addition to the article, I accept that. If not, I hope you will reconsider and remove the quote. Finetooth (talk) 04:03, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... questions of merit for my edit aside, your point about the article size is quite valid; I hadn't looked too closely at that before; it currently stands at 144K, which is generally considered too big, yes even if ths only adds 2K. Having a look around at other articles, it could work in Salmon#Salmon_fisheries. I will move it there. -- Limulus (talk) 04:28, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Your willingness to reconsider is appreciated. Finetooth (talk) 17:27, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm just now noticing this thread. While I agree that including the whole quote as a footnote might be excessive, it does seem to me that the citation is really useful -- a link to the primary text, in addition to the secondary source already cited, would be really useful. Any objections to restoring that simple link with some bibliographic data? -Pete (talk) 15:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

French article is impressive[edit]

Dear English editors, French wikipedians sharply improved the French version of this subject to an impressive extand, with the finest maps possible. We are pleased to share with you our content : ) Yug (talk) 15:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing this. The French version at fr:Columbia (fleuve) does indeed look beautiful. Finetooth (talk) 19:32, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes -- thank you for sharing! I have been watching that article over the years, and actually contributed a little to it long ago. It's very gratifying to see this kind of interlinguistic collaboration pay off so well! -Pete (talk) 15:33, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
They certainly have some nice looking maps. I liked seeing this one, [1], comparing the river's basin to France, with Nantes near Astoria and Paris near Grand Coulee. Pfly (talk) 17:32, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Suggesting article should mention that Columbia was called by some "Oregon River"[edit]

I recently offered changes to the "New Waves of Explorers" section of this article but User:Finetooth kindly pointed out that I should seek feedback on the talk page before making significant changes to a featured article. I didn't mean to remove any current text or sources, but wanted to insert a mention that the Columbia River used to be called by some the Oregon River. The Oregon Blue Book explains that the very first written record of the name Oregon was in reference to the river (not the territory), and the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1910 mentions that Oregon State took its name from the river. I propose it's worth mentioning in the article that the land originally took its name from the river rather than vice versa because this conveys how central the river was in the minds of the early European explorers of the region. I propose the following text and the first or both of the following sources be used. Appreciate feedback, I'm a novice editor. http://www.bluebook.state.or.us/facts/almanac/almanac04.htm http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11288a.htm

In the 18th century, there was strong interest in discovering a Northwest Passage through which ships could navigate between the Pacific Ocean and either the Atlantic or major rivers of inland North America such as the Missouri or Mississippi. In 1765 Major Robert Rogers petitioned the Kingdom of Great Britain, seeking money to finance such an expedition, writing "the rout . . . is from the Great Lakes towards the Head of the Mississippi, and from thence to the River called by the Indians Ouragon. . . .”[source] This is the first documented use of the name "Oregon," thus the early Oregon Territory and now the present day state of Oregon took their names from the river now known as the Columbia River.[source] --Isaac.holeman (talk) 08:57, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm a little surprised there isn't already something about this on the page. The term "Oregon River" is mentioned in the infobox under "nicknames", but that's it. "River of the West" is also listed under nicknames but never explained. I'm not sure whether we should add something about it, or where, or how to word it if we do. My first thoughts are about the early "legendary" Oregon River (AKA River of the West) and why it became linked with the Columbia. I mean, sure the Columbia was a big river in the west, but it didn't exactly live up to the legendary river's promise of a navigable passage. Gray gave the real river the name "Columbia" before anyone knew much of anything about it; and people started calling it the Columbia right away. So I wondered if the real river was ever actually called "Oregon River". A bit of quick searching indicates yes: the name was used, at least for a while. There's probably a better source, but here's one that talks about it a little bit, Explorations Into the World of Lewis and Clark, p. xxxi, and p. xxxv.
Anyway, it seems that if we describe this stuff something more than Robert Rogers' use of "Ouragon" is needed, since Rogers had no idea the actual Columbia even existed. We could say something about how this legendary Oregon/River of the West idea took hold, was shown on maps, etc., such that when the actual Columbia was found it was "close enough" to the legend for the name to transfer. Also, I'd say the name "Oregon" was applied to the river and the "Oregon Country" around it rather than "Oregon Territory". It appears that terms like "Oregon river and territory" were used by 1828 (in Congress anyway, [2]), but the difference between that small-t territory and the later legal entity Oregon Territory can be confusing, while "Oregon Country" is more clear. We'd need more/better sources, I think. Shouldn't be too hard to find though. Just some late night thoughts. I'm not sure offhand if this stuff is necessary to include. And, if it is, how to say it clearly but tersely. Pfly (talk) 09:52, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
There are precedents for adding "Name" sections to stream articles. See Larrys Creek#Name, for example. They can be quite interesting, reliably sourced, and valuable. On the other hand, a problem we keeping running into in this article is its length. We're already at 139 kilobytes of text, and a reasonable rule-of-thumb maximum seems to me to be around 100 kilobytes. It looks like there's enough historical material for a separate article about the river's name(s). Once created, we could link to it from this one with an addition to the "See also" hatnote for the "New waves of explorers". I'd like to know what some of the other editors think, though. User:PeteForsyth was the main contributor and the FA nominator, and I'm guessing that he worked extensively on the river's history. I came to the project fairly late and did not work on the history in any significant way. I do note that seventh edition of Oregon Geographic Names alone has a couple of pages (220–21) about the Columbia's names. Finetooth (talk) 23:56, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
In addition, or maybe instead, an article could be made on the River of the West, or Great River of the West. Redlinks already exist on at least a couple pages: Oregon (toponym) and Buenaventura River (legend). The Buenaventura is another legendary "River of the West" that turned out not to exist. An aside--when searching wikipedia for "River of the West" I found the Oregon, Illinois page, which claims the word "Oregon" means "River of the West". Heh..remind me to fix that when my brain is working a little better. Pfly (talk) 03:47, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't think that a good explanation of the river's name history would be more than a 150 or 200 words. How about writing it first—into this article—and then decide if it should be split out? —EncMstr (talk) 05:41, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm OK with whatever approach the group thinks best. I think it comes down to which editor feels strongly enough about this to do the research and write the new material. It looks like that might be Isaac.holeman, who kindly sought advice here. I'd be happy to help with minor chores like proofreading, fixing citation formats, and the like. Finetooth (talk) 17:46, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Finetooth, just spotted your note above. Not sure I have any special insight to offer, and you certainly have as strong a history with this article as I do! I generally agree with all that has been said -- that adding a lot of text about the river's name to this article wouldn't be ideal, but that a short note might be helpful. If a spinoff article is desirable, Oregon (toponym) might serve as a useful model. -Pete (talk) 17:59, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Plans for diversion to California[edit]

I don't remember exactly why we decided to remove the reference to the 1960s plan to divert the Columbia to California -- I think we had trouble finding solid sources besides Cadillac Desert. Wanted to bring this up again; I just found an interesting article about a testy exchange between Congressman Walter Norblad and President Harry Truman on the topic. I've also recently acquired a copy of Cadillac Desert. It's a pretty highly-regarded book on the topic of the river development in the American West, something I (or we) may not have realized when this topic came up before. Anyway, thinking it might be worth reconsidering a brief mention of this. -Pete (talk) 18:03, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

On second thought -- that article is from 1950, which I think in itself underscores the importance of covering this issue, since Resner's coverage is of a political flare-up in the 1960s. It's an idea that endured for a long time. The size of the Columbia and the significant lack of water in nearby California were the source of an enduring tension in national policy. -Pete (talk) 18:08, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Navigable to where?[edit]

The Navigation section should state the furthest point upriver to which ships can navigate. I have only been able to find that the USCG has determined that it is navigable at least up to the Canadian border. M Carling 06:19, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Er, it was, and there was a portage at Northport, Washington which made it navigable as far as Revelstoke Canyon (near the BC city of the same name).....but without locks on the Grand Coulee Dam and others, not possible anymore; Steamboats of the Columbia River and its attendant articles will have more on navigation and routes/sections.Skookum1 (talk) 06:35, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, yes, it might be a good idea to say something about this. I don't have a source offhand. I think shipping doesn't reach upriver much past the Tri-Cities. The main traffic goes up the Snake River. I don't think there's regular barge traffic on the Yakima River, but I could be wrong. Maybe barges sometimes go to sites in Hanford, I'm not sure. If nothing else Priest Rapids Dam is the first dam with no locks. However, the upriver reservoirs are "navigable" and certainly used by recreational boaters and probably some commercial barges—I'm not sure, but there are things like the Port of Chelan County at least. I would also guess that recreational boating is restricted in Hanford. There is recreational boating in Hanford, http://www.fws.gov/hanfordreach/visit.html ... In short, it's a little complicated, but if we could find sources and a way to phrase explain it succinctly... Pfly (talk) 21:24, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Old photograph[edit]

Is this old photograph from 1883 by Carleton Watkins worth including?

Watkins - Rock Bluffs Oregon 1883.jpg

Candleabracadabra (talk) 18:02, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

I also found this one dated 1867 "near Celilo".

Watkins - Cape Horn near Celilo Oregon 1867.jpg

Candleabracadabra (talk) 18:04, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Railroads[edit]

Shouldn't there be more here about roads and railroads along the river? At least links to articles about those that follow the riverbank for a significant distance? I came here looking for that and was quite surprised not to see it. - Jmabel | Talk 04:34, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Tidal sub-section[edit]

Would anyone object to a brief expansion on information about the tidal processes/system of the Columbia (maybe all tidal river articles for that matter)? I just find it odd that there's such a heavy emphasis on discharge without much mention of what type of tidal system the CR happens to be - mixed semidiurnal, salinity intrusion, etc. I can help provide some information if the community sees that as important. I was thinking of adding it as a sub-section under "Course" beneath "Discharge" Curoi (talk) 16:30, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for asking and for adding the useful bit about tide gauges and forecasts. Sounds most interesting and relevant to me. Looks like maximum saltwater intrusion has extended to about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the mouth.<http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~jaylab/group/orton/salt_intrusion.html Columbia River Estuarine Salt Intrusion>. A subsection under "Discharge" might work, or maybe just paragraph(s) within the "Discharge" subsection, depending on length. Others who worked on the article (quite a few of us) might have ideas as well. Finetooth (talk) 17:32, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

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TFA request?[edit]

@Peteforsyth, Finetooth, and Pfly: May 18th 2017 marks the 225th anniversary of the Columbia River's European naming. Would any of the article's editors be interested in nominating the page as TFA for that date? --NoGhost (talk) 18:39, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi NoGhost, thank for the ping. I have long been surprised that this article never got a TFA -- at the time, it was certainly the only FA about a major world river, and unless I missed something that is still the case ~10 years later. Sure, I'd be happy to see it happen, but I don't really know what's required for TFA. I'd be happy to support such an effort, but probably won't lead it, as I have more pressing priorities. Finetooth? Pfly? Thoughts? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 04:16, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I've never nominated one either. I did a bit of checking just now, and it appears that it's too late to nominate the Columbia River article for May 18. If I'm wrong, I'd be willing to have a go at it. Finetooth (talk) 15:39, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
(watching:) it's too late for the normal procedure but you could go to the requests' talk, or address Jim who is responsible for May. At present this is scheduled which was (intentionally) not related to the day, so could be swapped, - which of course means extra work. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:04, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Peteforsyth, Pfly, and Gerda Arendt: Thanks, Gerda. The 225th anniversary of the European naming doesn't strike me as especially significant. Perhaps a better plan is simply to nominate the article for a time of the coordinators' choosing. Thoughts anyone? Finetooth (talk) 18:08, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
It could be any day, I understand? - Is the article ready? If yes, and you want, I can do it for you. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:13, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the offer. I'm not sure the article is utterly ready. It has no dead links, but it has one to the Department of Energy that doesn't seem to connect. Pete is busy, and Pfly hasn't responded. I'm willing to do the maintenance, but I'm not sure how long that will take. Perhaps you could pick a date in June or later? That would be very helpful. Finetooth (talk) 02:51, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Gerda, it's not quite ready (we don't encourage refs in the lead now, and the lead seems over-long, as well as the link issue). I'm not totally convinced by the date connection either. I'm also going to be away next week, so probably not enough time to polish it and change schedule before I go. Better to nominate as non-specific date to run, hopefully, in June or July. There are two slots available as of the time of this posting Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:19, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, both. Perhaps we can discuss here what needs to be done, not necessarily only by the original authors, and when that is finished, propose without a day connection. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:41, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Gerda. I just ran the duplinks tool, and there is a fair bit of over-linking too. There are no major problems, but best to do the spit-and-polish and then aim for unspecified date Jimfbleak - talk to me? 12:20, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Glad to see all this. I agree that polishing it up first is more important than hitting a specific date, and glad to see there's some energy for doing that. I disagree, though, about the lead section; we put a lot of work into that, agreed that the length was justified, and the result was approved in the FA review. From a quick read, little has changed in the lead. I believe it still complies with WP:LEAD. If references can be moved into the article body without disrupting the reader's understanding, I'd be fine with that. I can't delve into this project right now, but will try to track your efforts, and will engage if I get a little free time. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 19:38, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Hi PeteForsyth, sorry I missed this discussion! I'm not tied to the May date, and as already mentioned it would be too soon at this point. Glad to see there's interest in featuring the article at a later date. I think it's a great article and an interesting topic. --NoGhost (talk) 01:39, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Heya all; for what it's worth, I am around, sort of, but silly busy. Keeping on slow eye on WP, but mostly inactive for now. Pfly (talk) 04:51, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

How is the article coming? I'd like to run it at TFA on July 25 (because that's the only date I have open in July). - Dank (push to talk) 18:58, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Moving to the 18th. Please ping me if problems come up. - Dank (push to talk) 21:44, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
  • @Dank: @Peteforsyth: No major problems, but I continue to tweak small things, and I see more. I hope no one objects if I switch the book citations to sfns to reduce the internal clutter. In such a long complicated article, it's hard to find things in edit mode. I think the sfns would help with this without altering the content. Finetooth (talk) 15:34, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Polish[edit]

  • I removed all the duplicate links just now. I would welcome a bit of help, as Gerda suggested, with the lead rewrite and perhaps other things that I may not have noticed before. Finetooth (talk) 15:59, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Now I have condensed the lead to four paragraphs and removed the citation, which is repeated in the main text. Finetooth (talk) 16:34, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I went over the images, changed a few positions, made one larger, fixed one fixed size, found all with beautiful alt descriptions! The only thing I am not happy with is the sequence of three running over a header "Opening the passage ...". --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:11, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you mean not happy with the images, not happy with the layout, or not happy with the alt text for those three? Finetooth (talk) 18:53, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I am no friend of an image right, while a header is left, making it unclear where the image belongs, but I may be the only one, - no FA requirement, afaik. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 19:00, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I generally avoid placing images that overlap section boundaries, but I hate to meddle too much with what other contributors prefer. I will leave this question for others to decide. Finetooth (talk) 19:56, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
One photo has a caption that mentions the Alex Christian family, but the article does not mention them. So what is the importance of this family? PumpkinSky talk 21:42, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
This image and caption were added long after the article became FA. The photographer, User:Kootenayvolcano, says on her user page, "I live on Sinixt traditional territory." I removed mention of the Alex Christian family since the Sinixt are mentioned in the article but not, as you say, the family. Finetooth (talk) 22:38, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

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