WARRENTON - The Fort Clatsop unit of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The area immediately around the fort has re-opened and will remain open through Sunday Oct. 16.
"The replica fort is an icon of our community," said Chip Jenkins, superintendent of the park. "In response to many requests we want to give people a chance to see the site before we begin removing the debris."
Rangers will be at the site that commemorates Lewis and Clark's stay during the winter of 1805-1806 to provide information and give interpretive talks. "We ask that visitors stay along the trails, out of any restricted areas and restrain from touching or carrying off any debris," Jenkins said.
The fieldwork on investigations into the cause of the fire that destroyed the 50-year-old replica of Lewis and Clark's fort has been completed, making start of the reconstruction possible. Final reports on the investigation are not expected for several weeks.
Beginning Monday Oct. 17, the Oregon National Guard and Western Oregon Waste are teaming with the National Park Service crews to remove the debris. This work is expected to take a week to complete. "We are committed to involving the community with the rebuild, and to the greatest degree possible use donations. That work begins now," said, Jenkins. "We want to thank the National Guard and Western Oregon Waste for mobilizing so quickly and donating their help." The trails leading to the fort site will be closed during the debris removal. Once the debris is removed the trails to the site will reopen.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26 archeological work, under the footprint of the replica fort is scheduled to begin. This work is lead by Dr. Doug Wilson, archeologist at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Associate Professor at Portland State University and will involve archeologists from five NPS. This work is expected to last several weeks. "We want to capture this teachable moment," said Jenkins. "People will have a once in a lifetime chance to come and watch the archeologists at work at the site of the replica." Park rangers will be on site to answer questions and give interpretive talks. During Destination: The Pacific, the start of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events on the Pacific Coast, Nov 11 to 15, people will have a chance to see the archeological work.
The Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park stretching along 40 miles of the rugged Pacific Coast and ringing the mouth of the mighty Columbia River is open and welcoming visitors. The primary visitor centers located at Fort Clatsop and Cape Disappointment are open and offer ranger lead programs, exhibits, films, museum stores, trails, and picnicking. All activities and events for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial will proceed on as planned and people are encouraged to form their own Corps of Discovery and make this their Destination: The Pacific.