Astoria’s Story

Astoria, Oregon is a picturesque, storybook town along the Oregon coast. A place with deep Native American culture, where fish canneries and logging flourished in the 1900s, and has developed into a richly artistic community. I recognized it was a special place as soon as I stepped out of our family car. This week was my first here and I was warmly welcomed by a close-knit staff of deeply passionate individuals who undoubtedly care about their park’s mission – the Lewis and Clark Historical National Park. Situated along the mouth of the Columbia River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark Historical National Park encompasses various sites where smaller rivers taper into the Columbia River, and a wonderfully active estuary community resides. Just 200 yards away from our Visitor Center, lies the river where the famous exploring expedition laid its canoes to rest after an arduous journey and built Fort Clatsop to hibernate in the winter of 1805-06. In my short time here, I held a musket nearly as tall as me, went on a leisurely hike with our friendly Superintendent Scott Tucker, and hiked with an adorable group of toddlers, hand-in-hand. I have begun learning about the journey that broadened the horizons for the American expansion of territory, introducing many new fauna and flora but have realized how much more there is to know about it… For now, I have learned that cedar tree, or “cheddar” tree as it was endearingly called by one student, can withstand water and was commonly used by the Chinook Indians for canoes. I have learned that there are river otters that are smaller than sea otters, and that there is a rodent called a nutria, from South America, that is invasive to the area. Most importantly, I have learned the importance of not allowing history to be embellished, but rather to tell the unabashed truth. I am looking forward to visiting the other sites that the LEWI envelops, learning more about the ‘Corps of Discovery’ and its historic journey, and learning to kayak in the following weeks. Onward and upward! IMG686 IMG1098

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