Master Plan
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The Nez Perce National Historical Park protects and provides interpretation for various component sites relative to the early Nez Perce country of Idaho, the Lewis and Clark expedition through the area, the fur trade, missionaries, gold mining and logging, and the Nez Perce war of 1877, as they depict the role of the Nez Perce country in the westward expansion of the Nation.


Nez Perce National Historical Park. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)


LAND ACQUISITION Acquire all lands included within the proposed park boundaries at Spalding, Canoe Camp, East Kamiah and White Bird needed to protect, develop, and interpret them.

NON-FEDERAL SITES Obtain land rights, fee ownership, or easement within limitations of organic act at all locations not adequately protected by cooperative agreement of sites in non-Federal ownership.

NEZ PERCE TRIBE Assist and encourage the Nez Perce Tribe to develop their resources and utilize the various opportunities resulting from increased visitor activity.

NEZ PERCES HANDICRAFTS Develop, expand, and present Nez Perces handicrafts, folklore, and culture through programs by skilled native artists.

COOPERATING ASSOCIATION Encourage the formation of a cooperating historic association or affiliate with an existing organization.

RESEARCH Identify and evaluate the area resources through systematic historical and archeological research programs. Encourage and facilitate research use of the historic resources by qualified individuals, institutions,and agencies.

INTERPRETATION & INFORMATION Encourage on-site interpretation at specified related locations, with general information limited to Park Service interpretive centers and the cooperative National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service facility at Lolo Pass.

INTERPRETIVE THEMES Primary Theme will interpret the early Nez Perce culture, prehistoric and historic; the first contact with the American explorers, Lewis and Clark; the Christian missionaries and their influence on the Nez Perce culture and the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Secondary Theme will illustrate the effect of the European-America commercial ventures (economic) such as the fur trade, gold mining, logging, and agriculture upon the Nez Perce and their country and upon the westward expansion of the United States.

MUSEUM COLLECTION Assemble and preserve historic and prehistoric objects, artifacts, and structures relative to the primary theme and subthemes and limit all nonrelated materials which are not part of the balanced relationship between the preservation and needs.

SAFETY AND, PROTECTION Develop a program to provide for the park visitor's safety and protection through personal efforts by the staff and informational campaigns aimed at the park visitor.

UNDERSTANDING & APPRECIATION Encourage visitor use, thereby increasing understanding and appreciation of the Nez Perce Country, its traditions, people, and resources.

COOPERATION Promote cooperation between the National Park Service, local Federal agencies, and property owners to achieve harmony and pride in the preservation of the historic resources beyond the park boundaries.

ARCHITECTURAL THEME: Design all structures in a simple, contemporary, western style.

This forest opening, Weippe Prairie, a. Registered Historic Landmark, like other sites of the Nez Perce Country has not drastically changed from the time Captains Lewis and Clark met the Nez Perce Indians here in 1805.


The Nez Perce National Historical Park represents a unique approach for the National Park Service in the acquisition and operation of a park. The Service expects to own land at only four sites: Spalding, East Kamiah, White Bird and Canoe Camp. Control of other historical and related features, numbering some 20 or more additional sites, will be by scenic easement and special cooperative agreements with other Federal, State, county, and private agencies, as required. Most of the sites memorialize the Nez Perce Indians of yesteryear—their legends, their hunting grounds, the scenes of their valiant battles against the United States Cavalry. Others preserve landmarks of the Lewis and Clark journey to the Pacific.

Park headquarters will be at Spalding with facilities for administration, information, interpretation, maintenance, and protection. There will be secondary developments at East Kamiah and at White Bird primarily for interpretation, maintenance, and protection. Information facilities like those at White Bird will not be needed at East Kamiah, because such general orientation will be provided visitors from the east at the joint National Park Service-U.S. Forest Service facility proposed at the eastern end of the Lolo Trail. Interpretation and protection at the other sites will be unmanned facilities, such as markers or exhibits, which will be placed and maintained according to the terms of agreement to be made between the National Park Service and the public or private agency involved.

Public Law 89-19; 79 stat. 110, which authorized the park, places certain acreage restrictions both for fee-ownership and scenic easement. These restrictions may impede the Service effort to protect certain historical scenes and resources to the extent desired. However, one of the principal aids in solving this problem may be Public Law 89-285, the Highway Beautification Act, Titles I, II, and III which grants certain Federal monies to States in acquiring scenic easements along their highways. Every effort will be made to seek participation from the State of Idaho in obtaining maximum results for mutual benefit from this opportunity.

Considerable additional historical research is already underway and more will be required to complete a fully integrated interpretive program. Nez Perce will honor the place on the American scene, not only of prehistoric Indians and those of the Wild West era, but their living descendants as well.

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Last Updated: 10-May-2007