Long before the Columbia River was tamed by dams and jetties, a long sand spit formed north of the Columbia’s mouth. The sand spit grew until it partially enclosed the estuaries of several small rivers. Today, that sand spit is called the Long Beach Peninsula. The estuary on the inland side of that sand spit is Willapa Bay. At over 260 square miles of water surface, it is the second largest estuary on the west coast (San Francisco Bay is the largest). Willapa Bay is also one of the most pristine estuaries in the U.S.
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