Fort Clatsop
Administrative History
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Planning Concerns And Proposals

In October, 1993, a draft of the GMP and an accompanying Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were presented for public review. Eight planning issues and concerns were identified in future management of the park. [3]

Boundary Adjustments. Planning concerns involving the current boundaries for the memorial included the incorporation of a commemorative trail between the fort and the Pacific Ocean. This planning concern stemmed from the memorial's enabling legislation, which states that the memorial should preserve a portion of the overland trail to the coast. A trail to the coast would be a commemorative route, since the actual route used by the Expedition cannot be determined. Also at issue was the protection of the natural environment around the fort area and of the historic setting. Increasing urbanization spreading outward from Astoria and Warrenton continue to encroach on the setting of the memorial and threaten its natural environment. A third concern was to provide for the incorporation of 31.5 acres on the north and east boundary of the memorial acquired by FCHA to be donated to the NPS for protection against urban development. Finally, the possible expansion of the Salt Works site in Seaside, if a willing seller/willing buyer opportunity arose, would enable the memorial to expand and enhance the historic setting of the site and provide additional parking for visitors. [4]

Adjacent Land Uses. A planning concern identified in the draft GMP was the impact on the memorial's resource programs by possible land uses around the memorial. Concerns included future timber harvest or agricultural use of neighboring lands and commercial and industrial development near the memorial. Also of concern was the effects of such development on the water quality of the Lewis and Clark River, which would impact the natural resources of the park as well as the memorial's own water supply. [5]

Opportunities for Regional Cooperation. The draft GMP identified the opportunity to provide for regional coordination between the memorial and other historic sites in the region on issues and projects of mutual concern and interest. Through coordination with other historic sites, the memorial could develop a resource and support base with these other sites. Topics for collaboration included: interpretation of the Lewis and Clark story with other Lewis and Clark sites; interpretation of Northwest Coast maritime exploration; coordination of events for the upcoming Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial; transportation access and circulation between various historic sites in the area; heritage tourism; natural resource management; and the advantages of the designation of U.S. Highway 101 as a National Scenic Byway. [6]

Natural Resource Protection and Management. The draft GMP identified the need for updates of specific resource management plans, specifically pest management, vegetation management, and fire management. Other resource management planning and preservation needs identified included: establish a baseline database of the natural resources within the memorial; assess possible preservation of elk habitat to keep dwindling elk populations in the memorial area; assess the memorial's water resources and the possibilities of wetlands restoration and preservation along the Lewis and Clark River; and assess and continue planning for the native reforestation program. [7]

In-Park Interpretation. Interpretation program concerns included increased interpretation of the American Indian experiences with the Expedition. This included the assessment of possible cultural demonstrations or the possible replication of a Clatsop shelter. Second, emphasize the story surrounding the Expedition's choice of location for the winter quarters and their daily life at the fort. Finally, assess potential interpretive capabilities at the Salt Works site.

Visitor Use. Planning concerns focusing on future visitor use varied with regard to the other planning issues and concerns identified. If the memorial expanded to include a fort-to-ocean trail and an overall increase in acreage, what should the memorial's visitor use continue to be? An assessment of appropriate land uses on memorial grounds would be necessary. Of particular concern would be camping and overnight use, possible uses of the Lewis and Clark River, and appropriate use of the historic trail (i.e. hiking only vs. bicycle, horse, or motorized vehicle access). [8]

Park Facilities. Considering increases in visitation at the memorial over the last thirty-five years and the possibilities of increasing types of visitor use at the memorial, several planning concerns regarding the memorial facilities and staffing size were identified. These included: upgrading memorial utilities and roads; identifying off-site staff housing for memorial seasonal staff; upgrading the maintenance facility; providing an improved collections facility and library workspace; parking facilities at the Salt Works; and providing for continued maintenance of the fort grounds, trails, the canoe landing, and picnic site to handle increased visitation. Other concerns identified included assessment of increased staffing needs to meet management goals and the ability of the park to assist in the creation of a Lewis and Clark Research Center, either at the memorial or at a regional university. Finally, a shuttle bus service between the fort site and the Salt Works site should be considered. [9]

Visual Aural Qualities. Finally, under all the different planning concerns and considerations for increased visitation and a variety of possible visitor uses, the memorial would need to continue maintenance of the re-created historic setting and atmosphere at the fort. Included in this issue was the impact of incompatible adjacent land uses.

In addressing these eight planning concerns, the draft GMP provided four alternative plan proposals. The proposed alternatives emphasized six areas of resource management and interpretation opportunities. First, develop a fort-to-ocean trail within the memorial boundary to commemorate the trail used by the Expedition; this would be available for recreational and interpretive purposes. Second, increase memorial land holdings to protect against future incompatible development. Third, develop regional coordination to interpret the Lewis and Clark story and other cultural themes of the Pacific Northwest Region and the possible formal designation and creation of a regional heritage area. Fourth, improve park facilities and increase park staff to address increased park visitation. Finally, the draft GMP offered proposals for coordination of the upcoming bicentennial and improved site development at the Salt Works site in Seaside. Alternative A was the no-action alternative, keeping the memorial functioning at current operating levels. Alternative B provided for expansion of lands and services to meet the memorial's basic planning concerns. Alternative C, the preferred action alternative, would increase the memorial's holdings to include a commemorative trail corridor to the coast along the Clatsop Ridge and would emphasize regional cooperation in meeting the goals of the memorial. Alternative D provided for an expanded natural resource base for the enhancement of the historic setting.

The preferred action alternative was designed to accomplish four things. First, develop the fort to ocean trail link for pedestrian use only, incorporating a trailhead of "80 acres of land, including a 25-vehicle parking lot, restrooms, information kiosk, picnic area, bicycle rack, and other facilities." [10] Second, the preferred alternative would add land to memorial boundaries for the protection and management of the park's natural resources. Third, create a Heritage Partnership in the region for the protection and interpretation of area cultural resources. Fourth, the plan addressed staffing and infrastructural needs at the memorial in order to better provide protection of park resources and visitor services. [11]

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Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004