Government Island State Recreation Area

Near Portland, Oregon, United States

Government Island State Recreation Area encompasses three islands in the Columbia River north of Portland, and accessible only by boat. The largest and most developed is 1,760-acre Government Island. The area also includes Lemon and McGuire Islands.

The main island has 15 miles of shoreline with two docks and a floating tie-up on the north side. Camping is permitted below the vegetation line around the perimeter; there are no designated campsites. Pit toilets and picnic tables with barbecue grills are located throughout the perimeter.

The interior of the island contains protected natural areas, such as Jewett Lake, and is accessible only by permit through the Port of Portland. The islands feature freshwater wetlands that support a variety of wildlife species, including several species of salmon, salamanders, bats, turtles, and birds.

Lemon Island, the westernmost island, is densely vegetated and hard to navigate. It is a popular spot for boaters to stop and stretch their legs along the shore. The island is seasonally connected to Government Island. 

McGuire Island is closest to land, southeast of the main park across from Chinook Landing Marine Park.

Waterfowl hunting is allowed on portions of the islands below the high water mark. Check the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for details.

Toilets are located along the perimeter of the three islands.

mdi-white-balance-sunny Open for day use Year Round mdi-cellphone Call for info: 800-551-6949
Call park: 503-281-0944, 503-695-2261
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Amenities & Features

Questions

mdi-help-circle-outline What's Allowed

Can I fly my drone?

Please call 503-695-2261 for park specific rules.

Can I metal detect?

No metal detecting is allowed in West Gorge Oregon State parks.

mdi-help-circle-outline Animals

Can I bring my pet?

Yes, but your pet must be on a 6-foot leash and under your control at all times.

mdi-help-circle-outline Day use/Special Events

How do I get a Special Use Permit?

This park requires a Special Use Permit for special events or activities. Please open the Special Use Permit application to see examples of events that need a permit.  If you have questions about whether you need a special use permit for your activity and to receive instructions on how to submit the application, please call 503-695-2261.

For more questions, review our statewide FAQ

History

Government Island was one of fourteen landing sites in the Vancouver-Portland area used by Lewis and Clark: the thirty-two members of the expedition camped on the north side in 1805. Lt. Clark named it “Dimond” Island, and it also was known at one point as Goose Grass Island. Its current name comes from the fact that it was appropriated by the U.S. military in 1850 to grow hay. The interior was privately owned and settled by a small number of families; previously, it had been used by farmers, fur traders, and Native Americans to hunt, fish, and pasture animals. In 1969, the Port of Portland purchased the island, as well as Lemon Island to the west and McGuire Island to the southeast, as a possible expansion site for Portland International Airport. In 1999, the Port sold 224 acres to Metro, the regional government agency, and leased the remaining acreage to OPRD at $10 per year for ninety-nine years.

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