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Contact: Lee Snook, 509.738.6266 x 115
Kettle Falls, WA -- Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, The Friends of Spokane House, and The Kettle Falls Historical Center invites everyone to a British Fur Trade Encampment, Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1 at Mission Point.
Programs will be given throughout the day including “Meet the People of the Fur Trade,” “Fur Trade Fire Starting Methods,” firearms demonstrations and a walking tour of Mission Point.
With competition, and territories becoming ever more crowded east of the Rocky Mountains, there was a strong push by American and British fur companies to establish themselves in the yet ‘unclaimed’ area of the Pacific Northwest. In 1807 the British–owned North West Company became the first to conduct regular trade in the inland Pacific Northwest. By the time David Thompson, an explorer for the North West Company, traveled through the area in 1811 several trading houses had been established along the Columbia River. Thompson charted the Columbia and many of its tributaries becoming the first non-native to record his travels from the source of the Columbia to the ocean. He described the large salmon fishery at Kettle Falls that attracted hundreds of Indians from as far away as Montana each year. Though Thompson recommended the North West Company build a trading post near the falls to take advantage of the large trade base, they never did. Instead they concentrated their efforts at Spokane House, 70 miles to the southeast of Kettle Falls. David Thompson’s dream of a trading post at Kettle Falls was realized when the North West Company and its bitter rival, the Hudson’s Bay Company, merged in 1821. The newly formed Hudson’s Bay Company decided to rebuild the profitability of their Columbia Department. They closed several trading posts, including Spokane House, and established Fort Vancouver and Fort Colvile in 1825.
The living history group Friends of Spokane House will portray some of those British fur traders and will be encamped next to St. Paul’s Mission. The public is invited to step back in time to talk with traders, voyageurs, trappers, Métis and Indian “Daughters of the Country.” Visit their camps and lodges; see their flintlock guns, tools, equipment, leather goods and hand-stitched clothing. See open-fire cooking, flint and steel fire-starting, flintlock demonstrations, period music and games.
Mission Point is located north of the town of Kettle Falls on Hwy 395, just before the bridge over Lake Roosevelt to Barney’s Junction. Parking is less than a ¼ mile from the encampment site, but there will be handicap access. The encampment runs Saturday, May 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 1 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. The Kettle Falls Historical Center is open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Bring sunscreen, lunch, and water to drink. For further information about the Fur Trade Encampment, please call 509.738.6366 ext.115 or visit the park web site https://www.nps.gov/laro