Department Of Interior

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Contact: John Wright, 202-208-6416
For Release: April 24, 2004
Interior Secretary Supports Efforts for Lewis and Clark
National Historical Park during Portland Visit

Norton concludes celebration of National Park
Week in The City of Roses

PORTLAND, Ore. - During an afternoon appearance at The Oregon Historical Society Museum, Interior Secretary Gale Norton reaffirmed her commitment to legislation currently before Congress that would expand Fort Clatsop National Memorial and rename the site as the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

"Fort Clatsop National Memorial is unquestionably the centerpiece of the Lewis and Clark story on the lower Columbia River," Norton said. "Now we have an opportunity to add key pieces that will more fully reflect the complexity of the expedition and the range of its accomplishments."

Norton serves as chair of the federal Bicentennial Commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Portland was her final stop concluding a weeklong visit to national parks, highlighting the celebration of National Park Week, April 17-24.

The three sites to be added to the existing Fort Clatsop National Memorial would be, pending legislation, Clark's Dismal Nitch (Megler Rest Area), Station Camp and a memorial to Thomas Jefferson, located within Cape Disappointment State Park. The State of Washington is making substantial investments at Station Camp, including purchasing the land from willing sellers. Clark's Dismal Nitch is partially owned by Washington. Both these areas would be donated to the National Park Service.

Fort Stevens and Ecola State Parks in Oregon and Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington also tell a portion of the Lewis and Clark story along the Pacific Coast. Under the legislation now before Congress, the National Park Service would work with the states, allowing all three agencies to tell a more comprehensive story of the Corps of Discovery.

Secretary Norton also explained that funds invested in maintenance for national parks in Oregon total more than $29-million, for approximately 45 projects. "This Administration came into office facing a dramatic backlog of park maintenance," Norton said. "We made a commitment to address the backlog, and we are meeting that commitment."

"Preserving the natural beauty of our special places while enabling millions of people to enjoy them each year takes work-lots of it-by Interior employees, partner groups and volunteers," Norton said.

In addition to Fort Clatsop National Memorial, the state is also home to Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.


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