"FORT CLATSOP - A NEW NATIONAL PARK IS BORN" Fort Clatsop National Memorial by mtncorg

How a site becomes a national park is always an interesting exercise in local politics and actual national worth. Some places, as a result, are more worthy than others. Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and Guadalupe Mountain National Park in Texas are the equivalent of Yosemite, Mt Rainier, Crater Lake, or the Grand Canyon? I don’t think so. Also, that the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park only occurs in the twelve separate areas around the mouth of the Columbia River, is to denigrate the sites - many of which are State or federally protected - along the rest of the magnificent journey route. I don’t see why the National Park Service simply doesn’t lump all of the rest of the sites within this new Park. Especially since most of the twelve sites making up this Park are protected as State Parks and are not federal. But I am not a politician. Plus, the NPS has the federal propensity to spend money at a much faster clip than State agencies - here the Netul Landing complex comes to mind. Whatever, Fort Clatsop is the highlight of the Park with the temporary winter quarters of the Corps of Discovery being reconstructed for a second time- a recent fire burnt down a 1950’s initial reconstruction. The original fort disintegrated quickly with time and climate. The new site, primeval looking as it is, is deceptive. The ‘old growth’ forests are actually only about a hundred years old, the fort being reconstructed on an old potato farm. The forest does set the mood, however, for the 100 or so days the Corps of Discovery called Fort Clatsop home, it rained all but 12 days and the sun shone on only five - a typical Astoria winter!

Of the twelve different sites that make up the Park, only three are federally owned - the rest are State Parks of Washington or Oregon. And even two of the federal sites - Dismal Nitch and Station Camp have a considerable Washington State influence. All of my ***ing aside, if you visit the different sites of the Park - maybe after reading a good history of the Lewis and Clark trek - Stephen Ambrose’s “Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West “ is said to have peaked early Park interest - you will go a long way in understanding the adventures the Corp of Discovery faced on their epic journey across America and also have some clue as to what their trip meant to the country in the long run;.

  • Last visit to Fort Clatsop National Memorial: Jul 2008
  • Intro Written Jul 29, 2008
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  • Jul 21, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    I live a couple of miles from where the Missouri joins the Mississippi, and visit the site where Lewis & Clark Assembled the Corps of Discovery before embarking on their trek to your end of the trail. I've visited Fort Clatsop just to see where they got to and to satisfy my curiosity. I must say; your end is more interesting and less of a contrived spectacle than my end.

    I've been steeped in Lewis & Clark History & lore all my life, and I think it was my parents way of telling me that I "ought to get out more". Well, adventure out I did, as did my brother who delivers mail in Astoria. He was my host on my journey and he showed me many places of Historic interest and Natural Wonder.

    I must say that those of you who rally to support Fort Clatsop are doing a fine job, and I thank you for it.

    Dave Lewis
    in St. Louis

    • mtncorg's Profile Photo
      Jul 23, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Cheers to you in the Middle. Another interesting site dealing with L&C is the burial spot of Meriwether Lewis along the Natchez Trace in the middle of Tennessee. More scenic is Fort Clatsop, however. You could pick a lot worse spots to deliver mail in than Astoria. If it is a walking route, then he gets good exercise with all the hills too.

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