Master Plan
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Fort Vancouver National Historic Site was established, in the words of the authorizing Act (62 Stat. 352) and the Senate Report on that legislation, "to preserve as a national monument the site of the original Hudson's Bay stockade (of Fort Vancouver) and sufficient surrounding land to preserve the historical features of the area" for "the benefit of the people of the United States" The Department of the Interior report on the legislation further stated that the lands so dedicated should fulfill "two essential requirements—the preservation of the historic stockade . . . and the preservation of the historic parade ground of the later United States Army Post." Clearly, then, the purpose of the park is to maintain in perpetuity the site of this primary early center of economic, cultural, and military development in the Pacific Northwest and to make clear to American citizens the important part played in the growth of the nation by the fur trade and other activities centered at Fort Vancouver.


Location Map. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)


To fulfill the stated purposes of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the National Park Service proposes:

Interpretive Theme: To interpret to the public, as the primary historical theme, the story of the fur trade and the Hudson's Bay Company in the Northwest country and the roles they played in the exploration, settlement, territorial sovereignty, and development of the Pacific Northwest; and to interpret, as the secondary historical theme, the story of Vancouver Barracks and the part played by the United States Army in opening the region to settlement.

Land Acquisition: To acquire for interpretive and preservation purposes as they become available, certain city, State and Federal lands contiguous to the present park boundaries to permit the Service to restore as completely as practicable the historic setting of the Hudson's Bay Company post of Fort Vancouver in the year 1845, and to provide space necessary for appropriate visitor enjoyment.

Fort Vancouver from the southeast, 1845, drawn by Henry J. Warre.

Restrictive Uses: To eliminate the present Pearson Airpark avigation easement to allow restoration of Fort Vancouver and, as additional lands are acquired, to remove other intrusive or restrictive elements to permit full visitor use and enjoyment of the park.

Restoration: To restore the major fort structures as nearly as possible in the historic setting of the period to be interpreted, together with authentic interior furnishings; to restore attendant features such as roads and fences; and to provide illustrative examples of associated historic uses such as the orchard, garden, and some of the farming and manufacturing activities that were a part of fort operations. This objective includes examples of farm animals that were present during the historic period represented by the restoration.

Related Visitor Services: To develop the park resources to their full potential through the provision of attendant facilities for recreation purposes. The principal objective of these facilities will be to permit school classes, families, and other groups visiting the park at mid-day to enjoy a continuous stay without the necessity of leaving the area for lunch; and to provide for children's play activities as a part of the park visit.

Woodcarving of Hudson's Bay Company, seal in visitor center.

Research: To continue present intensive historical and archeological research programs to produce the basic factual information necessary for the accurate restoration of Fort Vancouver and its setting, and for the interpretation of the site and its story.

Safety and Protection: To protect the historical and recreational resources of the historic site and provide for the safety of the park visitor and Government property.

Visitor Use and Development: In anticipation of heavy visitor use when restoration has been completed, to provide adequate parking facilities and roads which will have a minimum adverse impact upon the historic scene but still provide convenient access to the fort proper and to other major points of interest; and to provide sheltered lunching facilities and a children's play area which will permit uninterrupted visits and afford other types of visitor enjoyment appropriate to the location of the park in an urban setting.

Interpretation and Information: To develop imaginative programs, including interpretive demonstrations, pageants, and the re-creation of a living farm exhibit, to vividly portray the large size of Fort Vancouver and the importance of its activities in the development of the West; and, incidentally, to provide information concerning opportunities offered by other parks for enjoying additional historical and recreational values in the Pacific Northwest.

Museum Collections: To continue protection and use of existing park collections and to assemble and preserve additional artifacts relating to the Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks stories for public display, for refurnishing restored structures, and for study and research purposes; to confine the scope of the collections to items directly related to the park interpretive themes.

Resource Management: To conserve and manage the historical resources in such a way as to present them to the public as an integrated, three-dimensional, living historical exhibit; and, as a related management objective, to provide such recreational opportunities as are consistent with the primary historical exhibit purposes of the park.

Fort Vancouver about 1845, from the general vicinity of the present visitor center. The National Park Service hopes to restore Fort Vancouver as closely as possible to the appearance of this scene. Oil painting, by an unknown artist, is now hanging in Yale University Library.

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Last Updated: 07-May-2007