Fort Vancouver NHS Designated Official Center of Refuge for Zombie Apocalypse

Image of the pointed tops of the stockade wall, with a background of bright blue sky and clouds.
The tops of the north-side palisade wall timbers remain sharpened to keep out unwelcome guests and protect the resources within.

Photo by Christopher Communications


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Date: April 1, 2015
Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360-816-6231

Fort Vancouver NHS Designated Official Center of Refuge for Zombie Apocalypse 

April 1, 2015

VANCOUVER, WA –Today, Superintendent Tracy Fortmann announced that Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has been designated as an official Center of Refuge (CoR) for a Zombie Apocalypse (ZA). 

"With sharp, 15-foot palisade walls protecting a functioning well, open space, and buildings with core emergency functions, Fort Vancouver makes an ideal location for surviving a Zombie Apocalypse," reads the official certificate, which the park has been informed is "in the mail" to park headquarters. 

"This designation is no surprise to us. Members of the public have long told staff that, in the occurrence of a Zombie Apocalypse, the fort will be their destination," said Fortmann. "This makes sense. As recognized in the park's enabling legislation and purpose, Fort Vancouver was known as a place of refuge from disease, pestilence, and disaster--from HBC employees and families seeking shelter from raging forest fires to weary Americans arriving destitute after travels along the Oregon Trail." 

"Our staff is trained for emergency and disaster response," said Fortmann, "and our facilities are well prepared. Safety is a core value at Fort Vancouver, and, regardless of the emergency, we encourage everyone to stay informed and establish their own personal emergency response plan with the tools readily available at This certification, though, certainly takes our preparation and planning to the next level." 

Factors supporting Fort Vancouver's selection include:
  •  A zombie-proof palisade wall, fully encompassing several acres of buildings and open space. "The palisade is the key," said Facility Manager Alex Patterson. "We know that zombies, by nature, tend to attack from the north, so we keep the palisade points pencil-sharp on that side." 
  •  An operating Blacksmith Shop that is used daily to forge anti-zombie weaponry such as large traps and axes, and a Carpenter Shop with tools and lathes that can easily turn oak and other hardwoods into clubs and bludgeons. "A bear trap is even more effective on a zombie than a bear," noted Chief Ranger & Historian Greg Shine, "as it cuts the threat in half –literally.  And, a wooden or steel club never requires reloading." 
  •  A Dispensary and Infirmary largely unknown to the public (a.k.a. potential zombies) and without the regular clientele of easy zombie-prey that most hospitals provide. "You would never catch me anywhere near a traditional hospital during a zombie apocalypse," said Archaeologist Doug Wilson, "but our Dispensary is a hidden gem. Plus, it has obscure nineteenth century medicines that we can use to treat and heal refugees." 
  •  A freshwater well with a well sweep that can double as a trebuchet for jettisoning invading zombies or troublesome refugees. "We've haven't tested it out yet," said Park Ranger Bobby Gutierrez, "but we feel confident that we can clear the palisade walls at least 75% of the time. We'll take those odds."
  • A Kitchen and Bakehouse where food can be prepared for refugees, and an adjacent Garden where fresh, organic, heirloom-variety produce can be procured. "People often worry too much about what the zombies will eat, rather than what they themselves should eat," said Park Guide Eva Dodd. "We're prepared to focus on healthy foods, with red meat served only sparingly—and ALWAYS thoroughly cooked." 
  •  Ornamental plantings in front of the Chief Factor's House. "We know that zombies are attracted to the scent of humans," said Curator Tessa Langford, "so the heirloom roses and other flowers can help us disguise our natural human odors. Of course, some of our refugees -- especially NPS staff -- may require more 'perfuming' than others." 
  •  A trained staff with superior immune systems. "We have more than 20,000 fourth and fifth graders visit the site each year," explained Park Guide Mike Twist. "If we and our visitors can stave off illness and contamination from them, the threat of infection from zombies shouldn't phase us too much." 

Photo of the well sweep at Fort Vancouver, with a wayside panel in front and a building in the background.
Fort Vancouver's well sweep.

NPS Photo

Last updated: April 1, 2015

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