News Release

"Survive and Thrive" Program Highlights Survival Skills of the 1800s

Costumed ranger blows on fire starting material to start flame
NPS Photo by Troy Wayrynen

Fire starting is one of the 19th century skills taught at Survive and Thrive.

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News Release Date: May 16, 2018

Contact: Brett Roth, Park Guide, (360) 816-6230

Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade, a free summer program at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, will combine hands-on history lessons with outdoor skill-building to immerse visitors in the 1840s experience. The program will be led by National Park Service rangers with knowledge of survival skills as well as the skills common to the 19th century fur trade. Although weighted towards use for living history re-enactors, these skills are useful for anybody who spends time outdoors hiking, camping, hunting, or fishing.

For centuries, Fort Vancouver has been a place for people of all walks of life to connect with the outdoors. Historical fur trappers of Fort Vancouver connected with their environment by learning outdoor survival skills while traveling with fur brigades. Many of these same skills will be taught as part of Survive and Thrive. "The goal of this program is to enhance and enrich the lives of participants by sharing with them the fascinating history of the lives and skills of men and women who lived in the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s," said Park Guide Brett Roth. "The hands-on experiences in this program are also designed to be useful for modern-day hikers, backpackers, and anyone interested in exploring the great outdoors."

Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade combines historical lessons with skill-building practical learning sessions to immerse visitors in historical fur trade ways of life. Visitors will participate in practical learning sessions such as tool identification and usage, outdoor shelters, and fire making.

This program is free of charge. The majority of the program curriculum is taught outdoors. This program is intended for participants ages 14 and older. Participants under age 18 are required to have a parent participating in the program. This is a physically active program. If you have questions about accessibility, or require accommodations, please contact the park. The program size is limited to 15 participants. Advance registration is required. Register to participate in this program by calling (360) 816-6244.

This project is supported by the Washington State Historical Society with funds provided by the James B. Castles Endowment.

What: Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade, a survival skills workshop at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Where: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The workshop will occur at the reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company Fort Vancouver.

  • Fire Making Workshop, Saturday, May 26, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm
  • Ropes and Shelters Workshop, Saturday, June 2, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm
  • Tool Use Workshop, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm
Cost: Free

Registration: Call (360) 816-6244 to register. Advance registration is required.

Last updated: May 16, 2018

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Mailing Address:

800 Hatheway Road, Bldg 722
Vancouver, WA 98661


360 816-6230

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