President George W. Bush has signed into law a plan to create the new Lewis & Clark National Historical Park by incorporating state parks in Washington and Oregon along with the current Fort Clatsop National Memorial Park.
“President Bush is providing enthusiastic leadership in the nation’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s historic journey,” Interior Secretary Gale Norton said.
“With the president’s signature on this legislation, we are protecting key sites in Washington that were part of the Corps of Discovery’s encampment in the harsh winter of 1805. This will help to ensure that the people of Washington and Oregon can roll out the welcome mat to the world’s visitors who are now following the footsteps of America’s legendary explorers 200 years later.”
Norton praised the local communities which developed the plan in preparation for local bicentennial commemorations: “This is truly a grassroots achievement spurred by folks at the local level. They have realized their vision – preserving their historic legacy for future generations while strengthening their heritage tourism economy.”
President Bush launched the nation’s commemoration of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial in a ceremony with Native American leaders in the East Room of the White House in July of 2002. Secretary Norton, the chair of the federal Bicentennial commemoration, took part in the opening of the national observance in January 2003 at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home in Virginia.
Released in February 2004, a National Park Service study recommended addition of the three sites in Washington to Fort Clatsop National Memorial. The legislation signed into law by President Bush authorizes incorporation of the sites with Fort Clatsop into the new Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
The sites include: Station Camp off U.S. 101, Megler’s Safety Rest Area, a few yards down 101 – Clark’s Dismal Nitch that was the site of an historic Corps of Discovery vote – and federal land within Fort Canby State Park, where a memorial to Thomas Jefferson would be developed. The sites will be protected through a partnership of federal and state governments and willing private sellers.
More information on Fort Clatsop and its role in the Lewis and Clark story, visit http://www.nps.gov/focl/index.htm . Information on Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemorations across the nation is available at http://www.lewisandclark200.gov/ .