U.S. senator and reps attending bellwether event for community, led by national park superintendent

CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT - The nation's newest national park will be dedicated Friday during a ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Cape Disappointment State Park.

National Park Service Director Fran P. Mainella will be among those on hand for the ceremony dedicating the unit as the new Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

The event marks the official expansion of Fort Clatsop National Memorial to include a portion of Cape Disappointment State Park at Ilwaco for development of a Thomas Jefferson memorial, as well as two other important Lewis and Clark sites in Washington - Dismal Nitch, also known as the Megler Rest Area, and Station Camp. Oregon State Parks sites include Fort Stevens and Ecola state parks.

Clark's Dismal Nitch at the Megler Safety Rest Area east of the Astoria-Megler Bridge will officially be opened in a ribbon- cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday.

At least two state parks commissioners are expected to attend the events as well as U.S. Reps. Brian Baird and David Wu and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Stamp collectors can bring their mail to the Interpretive Center from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday to have it canceled with a special Lewis and Clark stamp.

The newly expanded national and state park area will be a focal point for events planned for "Destination: The Pacific," the nationally sanctioned Lewis and Clark National Bicentennial Commemoration. Baird, together with Cantwell and others in the Washington and Oregon Congressional delegations, shepherded H.R. 3819 through Congress to create the new park. President Bush signed the bill into law on Saturday.

According to Chip Jenkins, superintendent of the Fort Clatsop National Memorial for the National Park Service, the agreement will allow cooperation and sharing of expertise between the two state parks agencies and the National Park Service. Cooperative efforts will result in efficiencies and an increase in the quality of public service. Joint efforts may include marketing, ecological restoration projects and development of visitor facilities.

One purpose of the partnership is to tell the Lewis and Clark story on a broader scale. The Corps of Discovery reached the ocean in 1805 and spent nearly four months ranging over a large area exploring, trading goods and gathering supplies for the trip home.

The Web site for the new park is at (http://www.lewisandclarknationalpark.com) and contains information on all the Lewis and Clark-related sites in Oregon and Washington.

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