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which are magnificent quarries of sandstone and slate. These materials, so valuable for building purposes, are very limited in quantity throughout Washington Territory, and a locality like this is therefore of great value. On one of the harbours are extensive Indian fisheries. The other islands of this small group appear to be comparatively unimportant.
"WALDRON ISLAND. “ Waldron Island lies to the south and east of the Canal de Haro, and north and west of President Passage, and contains about five square miles. Its southern end consists of a perpendicular bluff of sandstone and conglomerate, nearly 200 feet in height. The eastern shore, composed of the same material as far as the north-east end of the island, is bold and uninviting. Strong tidal currents sweeping through the narrow passage between this and Orcas Island are gradually changing its character. While this portion is hilly, the western half is low land, and, when divested of the forest which covers it, might yield abundant crops, subjected to cultivation. Within this region is a small grassy prairie, containing about 100 acres. The hills on the eastern half of the island contain inuch good grass. The island has no harbour, although good anchorage in calm weather may be found all along its southern and western shores.
“MATIA GROUP “(Edmonds Group of Capt. Wilkes). “ BARNES, CLARKE, AND SISTERS ISLANDS. “ This chain of islands lies at the south end of the Gulf of Georgia, and forms the breakwater which divides it into the two channels which surround the Haro archipelago. Their combined area is about two and a half square miles. The sandstone, which is the principal geological formation, is too soft to be valuable as a building material, and in places where
it is exposed to the action of the waves it is worn into deep hollows.
66 ORCAS ISLAND
66 Orcas Island lies immediately south of the chain of islands already mentioned as breaking the continuous flow of waters of the Gulf of Georgia into the Straits of Fuca, and to the north of Shaw's, Lopez, and Blakely Islands. It is bounded on the east by Rosario Strait, and on the west by President Passage, which separates it from San Juan Island.
“ It is the largest and, with the exception of San Juan, the most valuable island in the Archipelago. At its northern end it is about four miles wide, and runs off towards the south-east and south-west, making its greatest width from east to west about thirteen miles, and its greatest length from north to south about nine miles, containing an area of about fifty-five square miles. There are two main ridges of mountains trending in a general direction a little east of south and west of north, which are in many places exceedingly precipitous and rugged. The eastern range, bordering on Rosario Strait, is much the highest, Mount Constitution, its highest peak, having an elevation of 2,500 feet. The highest peak in the corresponding western range is Turtle Mountain, 1,600 feet in height.
“ Between Point Thompson, the north-eastern point, and Point Lawrence, the most eastern point, the shore is so rocky and inhospitable that anywhere along it even small boats would fail to find a safe harbour or anchorage. From Point Lawrence to Obstruction Passage the coast is much less bold, and contains several little bays, into which pour rivulets from the mountains, watering small but beautiful valleys.
“ There are two large bays and one small one on the southern side of the island. Ironsides Inlet, the most eastern, is the largest. It is about a mile wide, varies in depth from five to fifteen fathoms, and extends about seven miles into the island, within a mile of its northern end, thus nearly cutting it in two. Guerriere Bay, about three miles to the westward, is about three miles in length and a mile and a quarter in width, and has a depth of from five to fifteen fathoms. Both of these bays are excellent harbours. There is a small triangular bay, known as Fishtrap, extending a short distance into the southwestern end of the island, with its greatest depth ten fathoms. Within Ironsides Inlet, particularly towards the north end, are several beautiful spots of agricultural land and good timber, having the advantage of being immediately adjacent to an excellent harbour. Streams, having their sources in lakes in the mountain gorges, empty into the bay. One of the most pleasing prospects in this region, and especially along the shores of Orcas Island, is the frequent recurrence of beautiful cascades.
“A stream of water, after traversing for several miles a beautiful valley containing some good meadow land, empties in Guerriere Bay, near its head. The largest stream in the island empties into Fishtrap Bay. The land in this vicinity is beautifully located, and is well adapted to agricultural purposes.
“ Between this place and the extreme western point of the island there is scarcely a locality of agricultural value; but leaving this and travelling towards Point Doughty, after passing one mountain range, we enter a region where the land becomes level and the soil rich and productive.
“There are some localities—one or two on Ironsides Inlet, and one at least on Guerriere Bay—where there is excellent water power, but the timber is not of the best quality at those points, as the Indians, and the white men too, in search for deer, have from time to time fired the forest, and thus greatly injured the growth of the trees. Doubtless, hereafter, when more desirable timber of other localities, especially on the adjacent shores of Puget Sound, has become somewhat exhausted, mills will be erected in these beautiful harbours.
“ A very important feature of this island consists in the excellent pasturage which exists on the mountain slopes. The grass is green during every month of the year; and on the south side of Mount Constitution even almost to the very summits. Sheep, goats, and cattle, placed upon the island would thrive and multiply, without the necessity of special care, as there are no beasts of prey to molest them. Deer and elk are the only quadrupeds of the larger species on the island, and a few years ago these were very numerous. The latter are now rarely seen, and the former are, year after year, rapidly disappearing before the approach of the white man, and in a few seasons will not be seen upon the island. While the lower lands present the character of alluvials, the mountains are composed of trass, syenite, and quartz, and afford no valuable stone for building purposes.
“A deposit of coal is found near Point Doughty at the north-west end of the island, similar to that at Nanaimo on Vancouver's Island and at Bellingham Bay on the mainland. The extent of this deposit is not known, but, should future explorations make as favourable developments as are anticipated, a railroad of three or four miles could be easily constructed that would convey the coal to the excellent harbour of Ironsides Inlet.
66 SHAW'S ISLAND.
“ Shaw's Island lies south of the west end of Orcas Island, from which it is separated by Harney Channel, and is bounded on the east by Frolic Strait, separating it from Lopez Island, and on the south and west by President Passage, separating it from San Juan Island. It contains about eight square miles. It is of very irregular shape, and its shores are indented by numerous small bays. In its interior there are no prominent peaks, though the surface is uneven and much broken by hills and valleys; the latter are small and generally very swampy, and are rendered almost impassable by thorny bushes everywhere heaped up in tangled masses. In many places it is almost as difficult to traverse the higher ground, owing to the under-growth, which consists mainly of small pines and firs. The timber, consisting of fir and cedar, is small and scattered. Here and there are small patches of arable land which, in the aggregate, would hardly exceed 300 acres on the entire island.
“OBSTRUCTION ISLAND. " This small island is between Rosario Strait on the east, and Ironside Inlet on the west, and is separated by narrow passages from Orcas Island on the north, and Blakely Island on the south.
6 BLAKELY ISLAND. “ Blakely Island lies immediately south of Obstruction Island, from which it is separated by a narrow passage, and is bounded by the same bodies of water as the latter on the east and west, and is separated by Thatcher's Pass from Decatur Island on the south. This island in its general shape is nearly square (it is a little longer from north to south than from east to west). It rises from the water almost like a pyramid, its highest peak, which is about 1,050 feet high, being a little north of the centre of the island. It contains about six and a half square miles, and throughout its extent is mountainous and rugged, presenting but few localities of even very limited area which might be profitably cultivated. Its shores are all more or less precipitous and rocky. The timber has been much injured by frequent fires, for this reason there are no inducements for lumber-men. At least in one place (perhaps in more) there is excellent water power. Grass flourishes on the slopes of the mountains. Near the centre of the island is a beautiful lake of crescentic form, about two miles in length, and about 400 or 500 yards in width; its outlet is a rapid stream of considerable force, which empties into a small bay on the south-western side of the island.
“The only profitable purpose to which this tract of land could be placed, would be that of grazing. In this particular it possesses the advantages enumerated in Orcas Island.
“DECATUR ISLAND. " Decatur Island lies immediately south of Blakely, from which it is separated by Thatcher's Pass. It is bounded