Fort Clatsop
Lewis and Clark Trail from Fort Clatsop to the Clatsop Plains
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August 28, 1958

Chief Historian
Historian Roy E. Appleman

Boundary Status Report - Fort Clatsop Memorial Project
(Region Four Office - August 13, 1958) and Lewis & Clark Trail from Fort Clatsop to Clatsop Plains (John E. Hussey - August 1958 - Region Four)

There are two reports involved in this comment as listed above. In view of the fact that the boundary status report was based in part on the Hussey "Lewis and Clark Trail Report," I will comment on the latter first.

1. Hussey's report seems to accomplish all that can be done in the time available in locating the probable course of the Lewis and Clark Trail from Fort Clatsop to the sea coast. I have some reservations about the analysis of the Trail location from the point a mile and one-half west of the fort, but since our concern will be limited to that part of the Trail for the first mile west of the Fort, I will not go into this mater further. The location of the Trail as established by Hussey for the first mile or mile and one-half seems to stand up.

2. The maps accompanying the report are adequate and useful, although there is some correlation and adjustment necessary with respect to the County road as shown on the aerial photograph, Map No. 3, and the Plot Map No. 4.

3. This study was undertaken for the purpose of determining the feasibility of acquiring a narrow strip of land from the main Fort Clatsop area westward along the Lewis and Clark Trail to the virgin Hemlock forest and ending in a bulge there. According to this report, a dedicated County road follows very closely, if not on, the Lewis and Clark Trail for a distance of six-tenths of a mile west from the Fort site. This road is used primarily as a logging road by the Crown-Zellerbach Company. At a point six-tenths of a mile west of the Fort site, there is a fork in the road, that going to the right (north), ends only a few hundred feet away. The left-hand fork is the dedicated County road. This enters the Hemlock forest within a hundred feet or so from the forks just mentioned and bends southward and then westward in a loop. North of this loop there has been logging on a small section of land; south of it the forest appears to be virgin. The old Lewis and Clark Trail from the forks of the road, six-tenths of a mile west from the Fort site, apparently moves in a generally straight line westward, soon curving southward. From this road fork it did not follow the present County road but roughly paralleled it on the north at a distance of about 200 feet before entering the Hemlock forest at a point approximately 7/10ths of a mile west of Fort Clatsop and then crossing the road.

This length of Trail with a small buldge of timberland at its western end is that which was discussed with Senator Neuberger and what we had suggested for inclusion in the National Memorial.

Since we do not need to be concerned with that part of the trail that falls within the main recommended boundary for Fort Clatsop, we need here to concern ourselves only with that part which lies outside it. Considered from that point of view, the length of Trail to the Hemlock forest would be about 3,000 feet, or approximately 3/5ths of a mile. To include a small bulge of the forest would extend this distance perhaps to about 4,000 feet or approximately 4/5ths of a mile.

4. Hussey's report indicates that he advises including the Lewis and Clark Trail to the point where the main area recommended boundary crosses it. Such a recommendation is really irrelevant for our purpose because this part of the Trial would be within the National Memorial area anyway, so we are only concerned with his recommendations beyond that point.

He discusses this aspect of the question in several places but his recommendations, summarized on pages 30-37, indicate that he thinks no attempt should be made to include the Lewis and Clark Trail and a part of the Hemlock forest unless a long strip of about two miles, extending to the main Skipanon River is acquired. This is discussed in his second priority, No. 2, pages 34-36. This involves 575 acres, about 500 of which are owned by Crown-Zellerbach Company. Nearly all of this is very valuable timberland. To make such a recommendation is utterly fantastic and completely unrealistic. Furthermore, such an extensive tract of land is not needed to accomplish our purpose and was never contemplated in this office.

I cannot agree with Hussey's recommendations, and believe that he has failed completely to evaluate the problem correctly and in a realistic manner.

Boundary Status Report

Nor do I consider the Boundary Status Report realistic, and must recommend its rejection in part. With respect to its various recommendations I will indicate my reaction by considering them separately according to the numbers indicated on the map accompanying the report:

1. Change No. 1 - Add 7 acres, O.K.

Change No. 2 - Add 20 acres, O.K., except I must point out that this addition does not provide as wide a by-pass as is desirable and I believe it does not allow a by-pass road to follow the best route provided by the topography an drainage pattern. A little wider addition here would allow such a by-pass. However, it may not be possible within the limit of 125 acres allowed in the law.

Change No. 3 - Delete 4 acres, O.K.

Change No. 4 - Add 5-6 acres, O.K.

Change No. 5 - Add 20 acres, approximately, on the east side of the Lewis and Clark River. I cannot agree with this. This land is in agricultural use in privately-owned farms. I see little point in acquiring land on the east side of the river. The 20 acres would not be sufficient to provide scenic control. No other use of this land is contemplated. Clatsop County controls the shore line on the east bank of the river and it should not be difficult to arrange with it for an easement prohibiting undesirable use of the water front.

2. For the larger and maximum acreage recommended and listed on the map as Change (a), 39 acres. Do not think it is needed.

Change (b) - Acreage not given, but I estimate it is about 60. Do not think it is needed, at least not most of it.

Change (c) - 172 acres east of the river. For reasons stated above, I see no need for this. Even this acreage would not give scenic control.

3. The Boundary Status Report repeats on page 12-13 the recommendations of Hussey's Lewis and Clark Trail Report with respect to acquiring a section of the Trail and a small piece of the Hemlock forest. For the reasons that I have stated in the first part of this comment, I disagree with this part of the Boundary Status Report. My over-all reaction to the Boundary Status Report, as well as the Hussey Report, is that it is unrealistic and cannot be adopted by this Office as a land acquisition program for the establishment of suitable boundaries for the Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Furthermore, the report does not make any clear recommendations but presents a number of alternatives.


For the present, we must base our recommendations upon keeping within the 125 acres authorized by the law. We can obtain a workable boundary by following Changes 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Boundary Status Report, at least approximately, and by deleting the 20 acres recommended east of the Lewis and Clark River. These 20 acres should be added to the Memorial area on the west side of the River. This acreage could be used to good advantage in connection with the by-pass road and/or the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Hemlock forest.

I suggest that this 20 acres be used for the Lewis and Clark Trail. We would need only a relatively narrow passageway, on the order of a parkway right-of-way, along the Lewis and Clark Trail west of the main area. This might be something like 150 feet or 200 feet wide on either side of the present County road to the point where it forks, and from there it should swing into a sort of bulge for a few hundred feet which will include 10 or 15 acres of the forest. According to Map #4 of Hussey's report all this land is owned by Crown-Zellerbach Company with the exception of the dedicated right-of-way of the County road and a very few acres owned by Clatsop County.

Presumably, Clatsop County would donate the few acres involved.

The dedicated County road is used only by Crown-Zellerbach Company for logging purposes. The Company might be willing to relocate its logging road outside our proposed boundary, and the County then might take action to transfer this part of the County road to the Federal Government for inclusion in the National Memorial. If it does not, I think some arrangement could be worked out satisfactory to the Service concerning this part of the County road.

The situation is not unfavorable. Except as noted above, only the Crown-Zellerbach Company is involved in acquiring land for the Lewis and Clark Trail and a small plot of the Hemlock forest. Harold Zellerbach has already told Senator Neuberger that he thinks his Company would consider favorably donating a small section of the Hemlock forest. Since we would need only about 10 to 20 acres of the forest, I presume Mr. Zellerbach would consider this as falling within what he called "a small piece." I have made a rough calculation that the acreage involved in acquiring a 300-foot wide strip along the Trail westward, 3,000 feet from the main area boundary, would amount to 21 acres. This, together with the forest buldge at its western end, would give a total of 30 to 40 acres. Except for the use of the logging road, the land eastward from the Hemlock forest is of little value presently to this Company since it has been cut over. I anticipate that the Crown-Zellerbach Company might be induced to consider favorably a strip of land along the Lewis and Clark Trail from the timberland back to the Fort. In short, it seems to me that we can be moderate in our request to Crown-Zellerbach for timberland donation.

My suggestion is that we recommend to Senator Neuberger the donation of a plot of approximately 20 acres at the point where the County road enters the Hemlock forest for addition to Fort Clatsop National Memorial. For the present, this would have to be considered as a detached area. We can then undertake surveys necessary to determine precisely the acreage involved in acquiring a strip along the Lewis and Clark Trail back to Fort Clatsop which I have estimated to be about 21 acres. Simultaneously, we can carry on negotiations through Senator Neuberger with Crown-Zellerbach for donation of the strip of land along the Trail and with the County for ceding right-of-way of the County road at this point. Senator Neuberger undoubtedly will be willing to sponsor legislation authorizing the addition of what will be a relatively small acreage to the National Memorial, especially if it is to be donated land. The Crown-Zellerbach Company could turn the donation of lands for the National Memorial into a good public relations publicity program.

A very brief note on one or two comments in Hussey's report. He said a few stumps were found in what is called "the virgin forest," indicating a little selected cutting. These stumps were first found, it appears, at a point 1 2/10ths miles west of the Fort. This would be beyond the area that I recommend for acquisition and it would not impair our statement that the added forest land is primitive and unchanged since the time of Lewis and Clark.

The addition of the Lewis and Clark Trail and this piece of virgin forest would add a great deal to the value of the National Memorial. It would provide an excellent opportunity for a good trail which would give visitors something to do; otherwise, their visit will be confined to a very small area and they will have little to do except visit the Fort site and go through a visitor center. From the viewpoint of recreation as well as of history, the Lewis and Clark Trail area with the bulge at its end in the forest will have immeasurable value.

I am attaching a rough sketch overlay based on the Map #4 of Hussey's report. It illustrates very roughly my recommendation for the areas to be included from the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Hemlock forest for the National Memorial.

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Last Updated: 04-May-2004