Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can all take in scenic views while riding on the last operating ferry on the lower Columbia River.
The Oscar B., run by Wahkiakum County, transports people every day between 5 a.m. and 10:15 p.m., departing from Puget Island, Washington, on the hour and from Westport on the quarter hour, every hour.
The ferry service began in 1925. The Oscar B. is named after Oscar Bergseng, the full-time skipper of the ferry service for 17 years starting in 1948. He helped Wahkiakum County take on the ferry operation in 1962 and continued as manager until he died in 1985.
Rain or shine, passengers take the 12-minute, 1.5 mile ferry ride to travel.
On a drizzly Sunday afternoon earlier this year, several cars drove onto the boat from the Westport dock. Once the ferry began chugging through the water, John Bodaly, Renee Smith and her grandchild, Bella Smith, got out of their car to check out the scenery.
“We come here as often as we can,” Bodaly said. “We love it.”
Renee Smith added that they came just for the ferry ride so they could be on the river, see the views and surrounding tree-covered hills on either side.
“I bring all my grandkids to go on the ferry,” she said.
Muriel and Greg Prestegard were taking the ferry back home to Puget Island after a weekend trip to the Oregon Coast. The two take the ferry a couple times each month and said they prefer it over driving on the Washington state side of the river to get to Astoria.
“It’s nicer to take the ferry,” Muriel Prestegard said.
“It’s more convenient,” added Greg Prestegard, who has lived on Puget Island and taken the ferry all his life. “It’s a nice, relaxing ride.”