Fort Clatsop
Administrative History
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1964 Master Plan

The final task to make the memorial a fully functioning unit of the National Park Service was the creation of a master plan document for the site. This was begun in 1959 by John Hussey. When Superintendent Peterson started on June 27, 1960, he continued progress on the park's master plan. Work on this document continued from 1960 until it was approved in 1964. The purpose of Fort Clatsop National Memorial, as defined by the 1964 approved Master Plan, was "to provide opportunity at this authentic site for visitors to gain knowledge and inspiration from the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; and to provide awareness of the significance of this epic feat of exploration in winning the west for the United States."

The National Park Service used six service objectives for the management of park units. They were:

I. To provide for the highest quality of use and enjoyment of the National Park System by increased millions of visitors in years to come.

II. To conserve and manage for their highest purpose the natural, historical, and recreational resources of the National Park System.

Ill. To develop the National Park System through inclusion of additional areas of scenic, scientific, historical, and recreational value to the nation.

IV. To participate actively with organizations of this and other nations in conserving, improving and renewing the total environment.

V. To communicate the cultural, inspirational, and recreational significance of the American heritage as represented in the National Park System.

VI. To increase the effectiveness of the National Park Service as a "people serving" organization dedicated to park conservation, historical preservation and outdoor recreation.

Within these six service objectives, the master plan defined how the park would operate to meet those objectives:

I. To encourage visitor use and enjoyment of the park's historic, scenic, and natural resources. This was to be achieved through the maintenance of historic trails to the river, the ocean, and other historic sites; and by identifying examples of natural resources along trail routes and providing natural history interpretation at the visitor center. The park would perform historical research to provide knowledge for interpretation, preservation, and authentic reconstruction.

II. To maintain the historic setting through careful reconstruction and the use of screen plantings, proper curatorial care of the fort replica, and the separation of new developments from historic exhibits.

III. The master plan did not call for additions to the park, stating that existing boundaries were adequate for developmental needs.

IV. To cooperate with federal, state, and local agencies in resource conservation and encourage land use and development harmonious to the park through the appreciation of the park by the local community.

V. To interpret the Lewis and Clark story for the visitor, making sure the interpretation is appropriate for all types of visitors to the park, and to update and improve the interpretation program and facilities as needed. The fort replica and surrounding grounds would be used to make clear the conditions under which the expedition camped.

VI. To promote the training of permanent and seasonal staff as available and the use of appropriate NPS management guides and tools.

The master plan outlined possible future management programs for Fort Clatsop. These projects were divided into three categories: lands, staff, and visitor needs. The plan identified two program needs as land issues: tree planting to create screens between the fort scene and modern improvements to foster the historic scene, and the development of a maintenance program to preserve the new construction. Numerous visitor needs were identified. Among them was improving the parking lot to hold an additional four busses and 18 cars; replacing the pit toilets near the picnic facilities with a modern restroom; remodeling the information and sales counter in the visitor center; enlarging the audiovisual theater to hold at least twice the present capacity; preparing and printing a historical handbook; installing better signs on Highway 101; developing an audio interpretation station at the canoe landing; creating a display of Indian artifacts related to the Expedition; installing more picnic tables; providing for park staff living on site for security; and training park staff in visitor safety. Finally, staff needs consisted of using training opportunities as they became available; executing regular maintenance programs; and enlarging the maintenance utility structure.

The 1964 master plan dealt primarily with visitor needs that became apparent shortly after completion of the visitor center. The need for a larger auditorium, increased visitor parking, and larger picnic facilities were the most ambitious programs identified. Originally intended to last for ten years, thirty years passed between the completion of the memorial's master planning document and the preparation of a new general management plan, completed in 1995.

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Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004