PENINSULA - Nearly two centuries ago, William Clark and a small expedition of 10 men, made its way up the Peninsula approximately four miles.
Clark found a pine tree overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean, and with the hope his name would forever be forged on the landscape, he carved his name and the date, Nov. 19, 1805.
It has been said that the tree remained in the same place for nearly 100 years when it was finally removed to make room for the growing population of settlers in the area.
At the end of October, a bronze replica of the tree will be put in place indefinitely on the Discovery Trail, forever remembering the first white men to explore and marvel at the grandeur of the Peninsula.
In a recent interview, Long Beach Mayor Dale Jacobson said the tree will be placed on a barge and transported down the Columbia, stopping at various points to educate communities about its importance to the history of the area and to celebrate the Lewis and Clark bicentennial.
Jacobson said the tree would be placed on a barge in Clarkston on Sept. 20 and travel to the port of Kennewick for Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. The tree will then travel to Hood River for Sept. 28 and Sept. 29, followed by a stop in Portland on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. The tree will then travel the relatively short distance to Vancouver for display on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, before traveling to Longview on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, where the barge will pick up a second sculpture for the trail, a bronze relief of the Cascade Range and the Columbia River.
The barge will then spend a few days making its way to Astoria where it will be on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10. On Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 both statues and the barge will be in Ilwaco where there will be a ceremony welcoming the tree to the Peninsula.
It is the hope of Jacobson and other involved in the project that the tree's voyage similar to that of Lewis and Clark will bring national media attention to the Long Beach area and bring further attention to the Peninsula as a tourist destination.
Long Beach City Administrator Nabiel Shawa said even though the tree will arrive in October, there is much work that needs to be done.
"We really can't finish the surrounding detail work until the tree is put in place," said Shawa. "We have to bring heavy equipment out to set it place. Even after that there will be some manipulation because the way the artist has developed the tree and roots to hang out on the east side, the leeward side. We will probably do a dedication on it in November, but really what we are looking for is completion by Memorial Day 2004."
Jacobson said there has been many hours of work put into this project, and the majority of his work comes in the form of fund-raising.
"I came up with this idea and told everybody about it, but that put me in a corner because now I had to do it," said Jacobson. "We called the barge companies and found out you have to rent the barge and a tug for the whole time. That was going to be very expensive. So I called Stan Anderson in San Diego. Stan has a summer home up here. I told him I was looking for someone to take that tree down the river for me. Stan said 'Can I really?'"
The city needs to finds a way to pay for the diesel fuel for barge, but Anderson has agreed to do the hauling for free.