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Contact: Jill Harding, (503) 861-4421
Park re-opens to limited operation
Wednesday, December 12
Fort Clatsop replica undamaged in storm.
All park trails, including Fort-to-Sea, closed until further notice.
Downed tree removal, cleaning continue.
The hurricane-force storm that struck the Pacific Northwest last week forced closure of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Astoria, as falling trees hit buildings, blocked trails and cut off communications for the park and nearby communities.
High winds struck Fort Clatsop and surrounding structures and forest Sunday, Dec. 2, causing damage to several National Park Service buildings and many downed trees. Sustained wind speeds were reported at 80 mph, with gusts of more than 100 mph. The wind and rain lasted from Sunday morning to Monday night, causing massive power outages, flooding and widespread property damage to the towns near the park.
For safety purposes, park staff closed the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center and park midday Dec. 2 in anticipation of the storm and to secure their own homes. Thankfully, park staff, partners and park volunteers weathered the storm unharmed with minor damage to some staff homes.
In the days shortly after the storm, with no electricity in their own homes, no cell phone service and limited telephone service, park staff, partners and volunteers unselfishly reported to the park each day to help clean-up and support each other to re-open the park.
The newly rebuilt Fort Clatsop replica was undamaged in the storm. The park’s Maintenance Building sustained the heaviest impact, with several large trees falling and landing on the building’s roof. The trees damaged a water pipe inside the building, causing damage to some contents. The Visitor Center and Resource Management buildings received minor roof and gutter damage due to falling trees. The basement to the Visitor Center flooded and required deep cleaning.
The Netul Trail leading to the Netul Landing and kayak launch south of Fort Clatsop is closed, with several downed trees, snags and dangling limbs blocking the trail. The entrance to the Fort-to-Sea Trail is covered in fallen trees and the rest of the trail has yet to be assessed for damage, but is impassable at this time.
Meanwhile, all trails in the park are closed until further notice because of downed trees, sharp snags, as well as standing trees with potentially dangerous limbs.
“Staff and volunteers have been working hard to re-open the park,” said Superintendent David Szymanski. “For their own safety, we ask that when the park does re-open, visitors keep to the Fort, Visitor Center and areas marked safe by park staff.”
A formal damage estimate has yet to be determined. Generous offers of assistance have come from other Pacific Northwest National Park Service sites.
Fort Clatsop, the Visitor Center and the Lewis & Clark National Park Association Bookstore are anticipated to re-open Wednesday, Dec. 12. Park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Dec. 8 Fort Clatsop’s Holiday Open House, featuring the introduction of a new historic tool collection, was postponed.