Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
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News Releases
Phase Two of the Utility System Replacement Project at Vancouver Barracks to Begin This Fall - 10/09/18

A crucial next step in achieving the vision for the East and South Vancouver Barracks outlined in the site's Master Plan - that of a Sustainable Historic Campus for Public Use - will begin this fall. The National Park Service has awarded a contract to Westech Construction, Inc., of Portland, Oregon, to rehabilitate the utility infrastructure. The $3.2 million contract will replace water, sanitary sewer, electrical, and telecommunications systems throughout the East and South portions of Vancouver Barracks. Constructed in 1907 through 1930, all of the utility systems in this are are well beyond their service life.

Phase one of the project, completed in 2016, upgraded a limited area by replacing approximately 15% of water lines, hydrants, sewer lines, and underground electrical. This phase two project replaces the remaining 85% of water lines, hydrants, sewer lines, manholes, conduit, conductors, transformers and fiber optic cable.

The completion of this project in late 2019 will support the existing operational buildings including the US Forest Service Gifford Pinchot National Forest Headquarters, Bureau of Indian Affairs offices, Army Air Force Exchange Service Shopette, NPS administrative offices, and multiple summer camps in Building 410. Importantly for the future, it will provide the basic amenities necessary for the rehabilitation of the remaining 20 buildings for public use and leasing.

"While not very visible, effective infrastructure is essential for the future of Vancouver Barracks. Without upgraded systems, it would be impossible to give this historic post the future it deserves," said Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. "We have been focused on obtaining funding for these sorts of fundamental improvements, and are grateful to the National Park Service leadership for supporting this project."

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Announces Upcoming Lantern Tour Dates - 10/02/18

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is pleased to announce upcoming dates for the 2018-2019 Lantern Tour program. These popular guided tours lead participants on an after-dark experience through either the reconstructed Fort Vancouver or the historic Vancouver Barracks.

"Imagine the amber glow of lanterns and faint music in the distance," said Park Guide Scott Irvine. "There's something magical about exploring the park by candlelight, and it's a great way for our community to connect to its past."

This season, the park will offer two separate Lantern Tour themes and twelve program dates. 


Lantern Tours: An Evening at the Fort

Lantern Tours: An Evening at the Fort take place inside the Fort Vancouver stockade. Participants are treated to historical vignettes in several buildings as a park ranger guides them through the reconstructed fort. These vignettes transport the visitor back in time to exhibit what life was like at Fort Vancouver in the 1840s.The Lantern Tours begin at 7 pm, but visitors must arrive at 6:45 pm. Admission is $25 per adult, and $10 per youth.

Lantern Tours: An Evening at the Fort Dates

  • October 20, 2018
  • November 17, 2018
  • December 15, 2018
  • December 29, 2018
  • January 19, 2019
  • January 26, 2019
  • February 16, 2019
  • February 23, 2019
  • March 23, 2019


Lantern Tours: Walking Vancouver Barracks

Lantern Tours: Walking Vancouver Barracks explore the U.S. Army history of Vancouver Barracks. Each adult carries a lantern as a park ranger guides the group on an outdoor walking tour of the historic Army post. Visitors will learn about Ulysses S. Grant, Oliver Otis Howard, George C. Marshall, William S. Harney, and other significant figures in Vancouver Barracks' history. These tours are entirely outdoors, and they cover about a half mile over some uneven and unpaved ground. These tours begin at 7 pm, but visitors must arrive at 6:45 pm. Admission is $25 per adult and $10 per youth.

Lantern Tours: Walking Vancouver Barracks Dates:

  • October 27, 2018
  • November 24, 2018
  • March 30, 2019

All tours are by prepaid reservations only; reservations for lantern tours are open now. All tour dates can be reserved and must be pre-paid starting on September 20, 2018. All reservations are required to be booked at  Reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable to another date.

All Lantern Tours take place at least partially outdoors and will occur rain or shine. Tour attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for weather conditions. Due to program length, Lantern Tours are not recommended for children under the age of 10. 

Additional information and the full Lantern Tour schedule for the 2018-2019 season is available at

What: Lantern Tours at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

When: Twelve separate dates between October, 20, 2018-March 30, 2019. Each tour starts at 7 pm, and attendees are asked to arrive by 6:45 pm.

Where: The reconstructed fort at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661

Cost: $25 for adults, $10 for youth (15 and under); reservations and payments can be booked at Reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable to another date.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Receives Field Trip Grant from the National Park Foundation for 2018-2019 School Year - 09/26/18

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will receive a field trip grant for the 2018-2019 school year from the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. This $15,000 grant will reimburse the costs of transportation for Title I fourth grade class field trips to this national park.

This grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with national park experiences, and is administered locally by the Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. 

“Trekking along trails, observing our natural ecosystems and engaging with our shared history are experiences that benefit all children,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Making it possible for America’s youth to explore our national parks is an investment in their future and the future of the national parks community.”

Park Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said, "There's so much to discover at Fort Vancouver! We typically welcome over 20,000 students on field trips each year. However, we know that not all schools can easily afford to come here even though we waive fees for all educational groups. This grant will help bring students from Title I schools to learn and have fun, and develop a lifelong connection to our nation's history. This is the third grant we have received from the National Park Foundation in support of this program, and we are very grateful that last year we were able to reimburse transportation costs for over 4,000 fourth grade students."
During their time on site, the focus is on a place-based learning program called “Talk of the Trade,” which is aligned to the upper elementary state history curriculum. During this program, students explore the historic site through the eyes of a fur trader of mixed ethnicity. Interactive elements include learning vocabulary of Chinook Jargon, the common language of the multicultural fur trade, how early trade and barter systems worked in a region with no currency, the environmental effects of fur extraction, and how people from many different backgrounds lived here together. After their field trip, the students may complete a curriculum packet (developed by staff from the park and from the local Educational Service District) that uses archaeology and material culture as a lens for investigating the past.
"It is extremely rewarding to help host an increasing number of students at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The Friends are gratified to know that this boost in transportation coverage encourages more children and their families to learn and enjoy the many rewards found at this site," said Mary Rose, Executive Director of the Friends of Fort Vancouver.

For the full list of grantees and their projects, click here.

About the National Park Foundation

Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

Removal of Buildings at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - 09/26/18

The National Park Service has awarded a contract to RJS Construction, Inc., of Washington for the removal of five buildings located in the East and South areas of Vancouver Barracks, within Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Work is expected to start in early Fall. Several of the buildings intrude on the historic landscape and are in poor condition, and all were identified for removal during the 2012 East and South Vancouver Barracks Master Plan process. The removal of the buildings (Buildings 409, 422, 787, 710, and 750) will meet the goals of reclaiming the historic landscape and promoting reuse of the site.

“As a Woman- and Native American-Owned Small Business, RJS Construction, Inc. is beyond excited to be a part of a project that is focused on respect for history and consideration for the environment. We look forward to partnering with the National Park Service and Fort Vancouver as they move forward with the removal of buildings and salvage of historic wood," said Chris Boring of RJS Construction, Inc.
The removal of the buildings, three of which are sheds, is a further step in achieving the Master Plan. The work will restore historic views and increase the visibility of the iconic Fort Vancouver and its employee village. The project will also facilitate better access to and circulation within the site, and supports the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant recently awarded to the City of Vancouver for improvements to East 5th Street and the main parking lot for the national park. One building will be partially deconstructed to preserve salvageable wood and allow the wood to be reused locally. "We estimate a yield of 30,000 to 40,000 board feet of historic wood during the deconstruction efforts. The salvaged wood will gain a second life by being re-used locally as furniture, exposed structural pieces, mantel pieces, etc," said Der Lovett of the subcontractor, Lovett Deconstruction Inc.
"We are very pleased to continue moving ahead and bringing the East and South Barracks to life as the Sustainable, Historic Campus for Public Service envisioned through the Master Plan public process. Through this work, we will be improving the safety and visibility of the site," shared Superintendent Tracy Fortmann.

Summer's End Promenade and Public Lands Day to be Celebrated at Fort Vancouver NHS on September 29 - 09/18/18

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will present the annual Summer's End Promenade on Saturday, September 29, 2018, between 1 pm and 3 pm, as part of the national park's celebration of National Public Lands Day.

National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks of all ages will be attired in a range of period clothing illustrating 110 years of history represented at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. They will stroll down Officers' Row and along the national park's historic Parade Ground, stopping at the Grant House and its veranda.

In addition to connecting visitors to the site's history, the costumed volunteers will help celebrate National Public Lands Day, the largest volunteer day for public lands in our country, and one of the National Park Service's 2018 "fee free" days. 

Visitors are invited to stop and have one-on-one conversations with participants about what was taking place onsite and in the Pacific Northwest during the era each costume represents. Volunteers from the park's Costume and Textile Department will also be on hand to answer questions about clothing construction and style. Photography is welcome.

In case of inclement weather, the Promenade will visit the Grant House and relocate to the Historic Hangar at Pearson Air Museum at 1115 E. Fifth Street.

The public is encouraged to enjoy the grounds of the national park and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve and see the results of the national park's Costume and Textile Department's dedicated volunteers, who work behind the scenes to help park programs come alive.

"This event is an annual celebration of the dedication and commitment of the many volunteers who help to put together and manage the largest historic costume collection in the National Park Service," said Eileen Trestain, Volunteer/Coordinator of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Costume and Textile Department. 

"Tremendous work is put into reproduction costumes at the park, allowing the public to see the level of detail and care our staff and volunteers put into representing the past. This year the event will have a special focus on uniforms and costumes from 100 years ago, and the centennial of the end of World War I," said Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann.

National Public Lands Day, which also takes place on September 29, brings together volunteers from coast to coast to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use for recreation, education, exercise, and enjoyment. In honor of this day, all national parks nationwide, including Fort Vancouver NHS, will waive their admission fees.

What: Summer's End Promenade, a celebration of National Public Lands Day

When: Saturday, September 29, 2018, from 1 pm to 3 pm

Where: Officers' Row & the Parade Ground at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Inclement weather locations are the Grant House and Pearson Air Museum.

Cost: Free