Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT: Joan Moody
For Immediate Release: Feb. 23, 2004

Washington and Oregon:

Secretary Norton Calls for Legislation to Create Lewis and Clark National Historical Park


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced today that the Bush administration is proposing legislation to expand Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon to include three sites along the lower Columbia River in Washington state. The legislation would rename the park as the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park.

"With the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition underway, it is important to create legislation to protect the sites in Washington where the explorers first camped when they reached the Pacific Ocean," said Secretary Norton, who chairs the federal Bicentennial commemoration. "Bicentennial visitors and future generations of Americans can then visit the place at the mouth of the Columbia River where Captain William Clark was inspired to exclaim, 'Ocian in view! O the joy!' in his November 7, 1805 journal. They can imagine his elation at finally seeing the Pacific at the end of an arduous journey that had started almost three years earlier at President Jefferson's Virginia home."

The Department of the Interior released the results of a National Park Service study of the proposed sites and draft legislation to create the expanded park.
"We very much appreciate the leadership of the Governor and Members of Congress who have shown broad bipartisan support for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial," Norton said. "We look forward to working with the Washington and Oregon delegations and the appropriate congressional committees to gain passage of the legislation." Eighty Members of Congress currently belong to the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Congressional Caucus.

The Oregon and Washington congressional delegations worked with the Department of Interior to pass Public Law 107-221, the Fort Clatsop Expansion Act, signed by President Bush in August 2002. The law authorized expansion of Fort Clatsop and called for the NPS study of the three sites.

The National Park Service study released today recommends addition of the three sites in Washington to the Fort Clatsop unit. The proposed legislation would authorize incorporation of the sites with Fort Clatsop into the new Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The sites are: Station Camp off U.S. 101, Megler's Safety Rest Area, a few yards down 101--Clark's Dismal Nitch that was the site of an historic Corps of Discovery vote--and federal land within Fort Canby State Park, where a memorial to Thomas Jefferson would be developed. The sites will be protected through a partnership of federal and state governments and willing private sellers. Under the study's recommended alternative, the partnership would also link state parks associated with the Lewis and Clark story with the federal park to foster cooperation and collaboration.

"Just as the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition depended on cooperation and collaboration to plan and implement their adventure, we need those same qualities today to preserve our nation's history," Norton said.

More information on the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial is available at, a website prepared by a partnership of many federal agencies. Information on the existing Fort Clatsop can be found at


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