After reaching the Pacific Ocean in November, 1805, the Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery moved south of the Columbia River to set up winter camp. They had chosen a place inland, a campsite that provided access to a fresh water spring and the Netul River for transportation, access to the coast for salt production and possible encounters with trade ships, had promising elk populations, and was removed from the harsh weather carried in from the Pacific Ocean. For three-and-one-half months, the members waited out the rain, hunting, making salt, compiling their journals and maps, and preparing for the journey home. One hundred fifty years later, the residents of Clatsop County celebrated the Lewis and Clark Expedition by building a replica of their winter quarters on the site long referred to as the "site of Old Fort Clatsop."
It is this community-sponsored replica that is the central focus of Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Since the turn of the century, Clatsop County settlers had sought national recognition of the site. Established in 1958, this unit of the national park system has grown to be one of the most popular tourist attractions along the northern Oregon Coast. For thirty-five years, this park has endeavored to tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and its impact on the settlement of the Pacific Northwest.
This administrative history is an examination of the memorial, from local preservation efforts to its designation as a national park unit, its management history as a national park unit, and its growth since inception.
Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004