McKenzie Head campsite dedication Friday

<I>File photo</I><BR>Olympia-based sculptor Gareth Curtis with part of the clay model of his bronze bas-relief sculpture installed at McKenzie Head.

CAPE DIS-APPOINTMENT STATE PARK - An outdoor ceremony to dedicate the Lewis and Clark Expedition's first ocean campsite will begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 12, at McKenzie Head in Cape Disappointment State Park. Included in the dedication is a bronze bas-relief by Olympia sculptor Gareth Curtis, titled William Clark at McKenzie Head. The event is sponsored by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark.

Members of the expedition reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean and camped nearby at McKenzie Head. As Clark wrote in his journals on Nov.18, 1805, "men appear much satisfied with their trip beholding with estonishment the high waves dashing against the rocks & this emence ocean".

Following the McKenzie Head dedication, the newly remodeled Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center will be rededicated at 2 p.m. New interpretive displays and an award-winning movie tell the story of the expedition's journey through Washington state to the Pacific.

Outside interpretation of Clark's exploration party through Cape Disappointment State Park will now be available at the McKenzie Head ocean campsite. An area believed to be very near the original campsite has been cleared. Rustic log seating is provided for park programs.

Curtis's bas-relief was commissioned by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark to interpret the arrival at the ocean by Clark's party of men. Local craftsmen Bill Clearman designed the monument for the bas-relief. It depicts Clark's party of 12 men who explored the shores of the Pacific on Nov 18 and Nov. 19, 1805, from the vicinity of McKenzie Head to Long Beach. York, Clark's black slave, is seen holding a flounder, which Clark recorded in his journal with a drawing.

The Friends also commissioned eight interpretive panels that are placed from the summit of McKenzie Head to the campsite and trail leading up to North Head, where members of the expedition explored. The shifting shoreline, natural history, trail guides and events from the journals are featured.

The McKenzie Head project was made possible by grants from the Templin Foundation, the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Grant and assistance from Washington State Parks. Others helping to make this project a reality were Otak, U.S. Coast Guard and Boy Scout Troop 224 from Tacoma. Local businesses and individuals who helped were Dennis Co. Concrete, Naselle Rock & Asphalt, Oman's Lumber, Francis Naeglich, Englund Marine, John Grocott, Mike Kabush, Clyde Sayce and Gary Skinner.

For directions to Cape Disappointment State Park, McKenzie Head or the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, call 642-3078. Use the Waikiki day-use parking area: there will be a shuttle to the dedication site.

The Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark is a nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the history of the Corps of Discovery's 18 days in Pacific County. For more information on programs check the Web site, (, or call 642-2805.

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