Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
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News Releases
"Survive and Thrive" Program Highlights Survival Skills of the 1800s - 05/16/18

Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade, a free summer program at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, will combine hands-on history lessons with outdoor skill-building to immerse visitors in the 1840s experience. The program will be led by National Park Service rangers with knowledge of survival skills as well as the skills common to the 19th century fur trade. Although weighted towards use for living history re-enactors, these skills are useful for anybody who spends time outdoors hiking, camping, hunting, or fishing.

For centuries, Fort Vancouver has been a place for people of all walks of life to connect with the outdoors. Historical fur trappers of Fort Vancouver connected with their environment by learning outdoor survival skills while traveling with fur brigades. Many of these same skills will be taught as part of Survive and Thrive. "The goal of this program is to enhance and enrich the lives of participants by sharing with them the fascinating history of the lives and skills of men and women who lived in the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s," said Park Guide Brett Roth. "The hands-on experiences in this program are also designed to be useful for modern-day hikers, backpackers, and anyone interested in exploring the great outdoors."

Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade combines historical lessons with skill-building practical learning sessions to immerse visitors in historical fur trade ways of life. Visitors will participate in practical learning sessions such as tool identification and usage, outdoor shelters, and fire making.

This program is free of charge. The majority of the program curriculum is taught outdoors. This program is intended for participants ages 14 and older. Participants under age 18 are required to have a parent participating in the program. This is a physically active program. If you have questions about accessibility, or require accommodations, please contact the park. The program size is limited to 15 participants. Advance registration is required. Register to participate in this program by calling (360) 816-6244.

This project is supported by the Washington State Historical Society with funds provided by the James B. Castles Endowment.


What: Survive and Thrive: Lifeways of the Fur Trade, a survival skills workshop at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Where: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The workshop will occur at the reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company Fort Vancouver.

When:

  • Fire Making Workshop, Saturday, May 26, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm
  • Ropes and Shelters Workshop, Saturday, June 2, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm
  • Tool Use Workshop, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10 am to 2 pm

Cost: Free

Registration: Call (360) 816-6244 to register. Advance registration is required.

Annual "Bark Ranger" Program at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Highlights the History of Dogs and Safety - 05/16/18

This summer, a series of four walking tours will invite visitors and their dogs to explore Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. These ranger-led "Bark Ranger" tours will discuss the history of dogs at Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks, as well as the overall history of the site. The tours will also highlight how to explore the national park safely with pet dogs.

Bark Ranger walking tours will begin at 10 am near the parking lot adjacent to the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. Each tour will take a different route through the park, allowing visitors to participate in multiple tours, learning new information on each visit. See below for a full list and descriptions.

"Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a great place to socialize your best friend with other dogs," said Park Ranger Scott Irvine. "Bark Ranger tours are also a great way to learn about the fascinating history of the Pacific Northwest. We hope these tours will provide a great opportunity for dogs and their owners to visit the park."

 

Schedule and tour themes:

May 26 2018: The Village
Discover the history of the Hudson's Bay Company's vibrant employee village, where workers from Fort Vancouver lived.

June 23, 2018: Spruce Mill Trail
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Explore Vancouver's unique role as a wartime home front on one of our most popular walking trails.

July 28, 2018: Barracks Walk
Learn about the past, present, and future of the East Vancouver Barracks and Parade Ground.

August 25, 2018: Visitor Center Walk
Discover the diverse history of the national park, from the US Army's Vancouver Arsenal, to the story of Japanese castaways at Fort Vancouver, to the site's maritime history.



Where: All tours will meet outside of the national park's reconstructed Fort Vancouver parking lot (1001 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661).

When: All tours will begin at 10 am. Visitors are invited to arrive up to 30 minutes in advance to allow their pet dogs a chance to acclimate to the presence of other dogs.

Cost: Free

Participants should bring: Participants are not required to bring their dog, but dogs are welcome on this tour. Dogs on the tour should be friendly with other dogs and people, up-to-date on vaccines and licensed. Participants with dogs must bring waste bags, food and water as necessary, and a leash no longer than 6 feet. Learn more about regulations and policies regarding pet dogs at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site here.

In case of inclement weather, these tours may be rescheduled. Please check www.nps.gov/fova, or the park's Facebook or Twitter pages for updates.

New OPB Documentary Explores the History of Fort Vancouver - 05/11/18

We are so pleased that Oregon Public Broadcasting is telling the story of Fort Vancouver in an upcoming episode of Oregon Experience. The stories of this national park are many and varied. We are looking forward to this opportunity to share this unique place with new audiences.

You are invited to attend a public screening of "Fort Vancouver" at Kiggins Theater next Wednesday, May 16, at 7pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

- Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
 



OPB has premiered a new documentary “Fort Vancouver,” which explores the rich history of the national historic site in Washington state and its role in shaping the culture of the Pacific Northwest.
 
This half-hour Oregon Experience documentary is available to watch online now at opg.org/fortvancouver, and it airs on OPB TV Monday, May 21 at 9 p.m.
 
In the early 1800s, Fort Vancouver served as the Western headquarters for the British trading enterprise Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and was home to a unique, multicultural community.
 
More than just a business, the HBC was an extension of British government, established by royal charter. Its reach included great swaths of North America with employees trapping and trading their way from Hudson’s Bay in Eastern Canada to the Pacific.
 
The HBC had a unique approach to interacting with others, treating people largely as potential customers. Employees were encouraged to intermarry with native people, and as a result, the village they inhabited that emerged outside the walls of Fort Vancouver was incredibly diverse. More than 30 native tribes were represented in its population, as well as mixed-race Metis people, British, Scottish, French, Irish, Orkney Islanders, Hawaiians and more.
 
Springing out of this multicultural environment was a language—a jargon—based on the Chinookan native tongue. Called Chinuk Wawa, everyone at Fort Vancouver spoke it and it spread throughout the Pacific Northwest.
 
American immigrants on the Oregon Trail started arriving at Fort Vancouver in large numbers. The director or chief factor of the Fort, John McLoughlin, was told to discourage American settlement in the area. A sympathetic man, he offered the thousands of beleaguered newcomers credit for goods upon their arrival. In doing so, he incurred the wrath of his superiors and was ultimately forced out of his position.
 
In 1846, Great Britain ceded control of the region to the United States, marking the beginning of the end of Fort Vancouver. After a difficult period of coexisting with the U.S. Army, the Fort was abandoned by the Hudson’s Bay Company and mysteriously burned to the ground in 1866.
 
Today, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is run by the National Park Service, which began excavating and reconstructing the Fort in 1947. Each year, more than a million visitors walk through the palisades gates.
 
OPB’s “Fort Vancouver” uncovers the Fort’s rich multicultural history and and the changes that it brought to the Northwest. It features interviews with:
 

  • Tracy Fortmann, National Park Service superintendent, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Doug Wilson, archaeologist, National Park Service Pacific West Region
  • Bob Cromwell, National Park Service chief of interpretation, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Mike Iyall, member, tribal council, Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  • Tanna Engdahl, spiritual leader, Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  • Tony Johnson, chairman, Chinook Indian Nation
  • Dave Harrelson, Cultural Resources Department manager, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde
  • Cheryl Kennedy, chairperson, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde
  • Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen, Ke Kekui Foundation

 
The community is invited to attend a public screening event for “Fort Vancouver” at the Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver on Wednesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). The event is free and open to the public and will include a Q&A with Producer Beth Harrington and national park staff. All ages are welcome.
 
“Fort Vancouver” is available to watch online now at opg.org/fortvancouver and it airs on OPB TV Monday, May 21 at 9 p.m. The program is written and produced by Beth Harrington and edited by Dan Evans. For more information about “Fort Vancouver,” along with images, visit opb.org/fortvancouver.
 
###

About Oregon Experience
Oregon Experience is an OPB original television series that brings to life stories that help us understand this place where we live and that reinforce our shared identity as Oregonians. Co-produced with the Oregon Historical Society, the series draws upon the Society’s skilled researchers and extensive photography and moving-image archives. The program also incorporates OPB’s own film and video resources and the expertise of some of Oregon’s finest historians. Each episode features captivating characters – both familiar and forgotten – who have played key roles in building our state into the unique place we call home. This program is supported in part by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer, The Clark Foundation, The Holzman Foundation, and The Roundhouse Foundation.
 
About OPB
OPB is a nationally recognized leader in public media, providing news, information and
entertainment to the Northwest. With award-winning journalists and original series, OPB illuminates the people, places and issues of the region and puts stories into context. OPB creates content and programming that can be accessed anywhere, at any time on OPB TV, OPB Radio, opb.org and on a variety of digital and social media platforms. For more information, visit www.opb.org.
 

Children's Cultural Parade Brings Over 1,500 Students to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - 05/03/18

In support of local students and in celebration of the region's historical diversity, the National Park Service, the Evergreen School District, and the Vancouver School District are proud to present the annual Children's Culture Parade at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Friday, May 11, 2018. The Children's Culture Parade begins at 10:15 am just north of Pearson Air Museum (1115 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661) and continues north on East Reserve Street, turning west on Evergreen Boulevard, and finally turning south to follow the Park Road across East 5thStreet straight into the national park's reconstructed Fort Vancouver (1001 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661).

The parade will include marching bands from local schools and over 1,500 third and fourth grade students celebrating the community's diversity. "These students have worked hard for months in their classrooms to study cultures from around the globe while rediscovering their family's and their community's cultural heritage," said Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent, Tracy Fortmann.

City of Vancouver Mayor, Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Superintendent Fortmann, and school district leaders will lead the parade through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, one of 419 units of the National Park system.

Once the students enter the reconstructed stockade, National Park Service volunteers will greet visitors wearing 1840s traditional clothing, highlighting Vancouver's diverse past. 

The entire procession will assemble in the courtyard in front of the reconstructed Chief Factor's House to hear music and brief remarks from the mayor, superintendent, dignitaries, and featured students. Music will be provided by the Vancouver Community Concert Band, under the direction of Erin Hanson. The public is encouraged to join the students, mayor and other dignitaries at 11:00 am inside the reconstructed fort. The entry fee will be waived for the event which is scheduled to conclude at 11:45 am.

"Over 170 years ago, Fort Vancouver stood as the center of cultural diversity in the Pacific Northwest," said Fortmann, "so it is very appropriate that we continue to celebrate our diversity here, in this nationally significant place--our national park. This event best exemplifies how this national park belongs to everyone, and it's a special opportunity for each student to celebrate diversity with family, classmates, and our supportive community at one of our national treasures," Fortmann said.
The community is encouraged to line the parade route and cheer on the children from the local school districts. Ideal viewing areas are along the Park Road or the pathway leading from East Fifth Street into the reconstructed stockade.
Public parking is available within the park and surrounding areas.  Due to road closures on the east entrances to the park to accommodate the parade, it is recommended that visitors enter from the northwest corner of the park on Fort Vancouver Way. Parking is available at designated parking lots on Evergreen Blvd. and on East 5th Street. Additional parking is also available at the NPS Visitor Center and at the Reconstructed Fort parking lot, however for parade route safety, both of these parking lots will be closed to incoming and outgoing vehicular traffic from 9:00 am to 11:40 am.

What: Children’s Culture Parade

Where: Parade begins at Pearson Air Museum (1501 E. 5th Street), heads north on east Reserve Street, west on Evergreen Boulevard, south on the park road, and ends at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver (1001 E. 5th Street).

When: Friday, May 11, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Cost: Free

Children's Cultural Parade Brings Over 1,500 Students to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - 05/03/18

In support of local students and in celebration of the region's historical diversity, the National Park Service, the Evergreen School District, and the Vancouver School District are proud to present the annual Children's Culture Parade at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Friday, May 11, 2018. The Children's Culture Parade begins at 10:15 am just north of Pearson Air Museum (1115 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661) and continues north on East Reserve Street, turning west on Evergreen Boulevard, and finally turning south to follow the Park Road across East 5thStreet straight into the national park's reconstructed Fort Vancouver (1001 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661).

The parade will include marching bands from local schools and over 1,500 third and fourth grade students celebrating the community's diversity. "These students have worked hard for months in their classrooms to study cultures from around the globe while rediscovering their family's and their community's cultural heritage," said Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent, Tracy Fortmann.

City of Vancouver Mayor, Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Superintendent Fortmann, and school district leaders will lead the parade through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, one of 419 units of the National Park system.

Once the students enter the reconstructed stockade, National Park Service volunteers will greet visitors wearing 1840s traditional clothing, highlighting Vancouver's diverse past. 

The entire procession will assemble in the courtyard in front of the reconstructed Chief Factor's House to hear music and brief remarks from the mayor, superintendent, dignitaries, and featured students. Music will be provided by the Vancouver Community Concert Band, under the direction of Erin Hanson. The public is encouraged to join the students, mayor and other dignitaries at 11:00 am inside the reconstructed fort. The entry fee will be waived for the event which is scheduled to conclude at 11:45 am.

"Over 170 years ago, Fort Vancouver stood as the center of cultural diversity in the Pacific Northwest," said Fortmann, "so it is very appropriate that we continue to celebrate our diversity here, in this nationally significant place--our national park. This event best exemplifies how this national park belongs to everyone, and it's a special opportunity for each student to celebrate diversity with family, classmates, and our supportive community at one of our national treasures," Fortmann said.
The community is encouraged to line the parade route and cheer on the children from the local school districts. Ideal viewing areas are along the Park Road or the pathway leading from East Fifth Street into the reconstructed stockade.
Public parking is available within the park and surrounding areas.  Due to road closures on the east entrances to the park to accommodate the parade, it is recommended that visitors enter from the northwest corner of the park on Fort Vancouver Way. Parking is available at designated parking lots on Evergreen Blvd. and on East 5th Street. Additional parking is also available at the NPS Visitor Center and at the Reconstructed Fort parking lot, however for parade route safety, both of these parking lots will be closed to incoming and outgoing vehicular traffic from 9:00 am to 11:40 am.

What: Children’s Culture Parade

Where: Parade begins at Pearson Air Museum (1501 E. 5th Street), heads north on east Reserve Street, west on Evergreen Boulevard, south on the park road, and ends at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver (1001 E. 5th Street).

When: Friday, May 11, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Cost: Free

iTech Preparatory Students Create Virtual Exhibit for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - 05/02/18

Vancouver iTech Preparatory Middle School and the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site announce a partnership to highlight the park’s historical resources with digital technology. This teacher-student-ranger project began with these questions posed to the 7th and 8th grade students:
 

  • What is a museum, and how can we leverage new technology so that audiences can interact with the fort in new ways?  
  • How can we serve our community, and the world, by sharing our nationally significant history in the digital age?  
  • How can we better reach those, near and far, who want to learn more about this national park?

These are key questions for the National Park Service as the agency enters its second century. Here in Vancouver, students of Vancouver iTech Preparatory embraced the challenge of answering these questions, and are the helping their local national park bring the past into the future.  

Known as FVvr, (Fort Vancouver Virtual Reality, pronounced “Fever!”) Washington State History and Intro to Computer Science students are partnering with park interpreters, curators, and archaeologists to create an interactive virtual museum.  The students are each using photogrammetry to create a 3D digital scan of different artifacts recovered during archaeological excavations at the park. Each one of the artifacts dates back to Fort Vancouver’s original period, around 160-190 years ago. Students are then analyzing the artifacts, using archaeological thinking and concepts, to create audio that highlights the artifacts to inform the public about the history and culture of the national park.  The digital museum will combine the 3D artifacts and audio analysis, and be a searchable database. The apps will also use the digital artifacts, but they are being designed so that people of various learning levels will be able to interact with the fort in many different ways on their tablet or smartphone. This is the second project FVvr project that the Vancouver iTech Preparatory Middle School and the National Park Service have partnered on, with a virtual reality tour of the Fort Vancouver site being completed by students in 2016. 

The students have delved deeply into the history and archaeology of Fort Vancouver. By being the creators of this virtual experience, they learn valuable 21st century skills as well as the confidence they will need to be successful in the future.  We are proud to announce this continued partnership between Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Vancouver iTech Preparatory, one in which STEM education and social sciences work in unison to not only educate local students, but the community and beyond. 

This project is being led by iTech teachers John Zingale and Cyndy Hagin, who are supported by their principal Darby Meade along with National Park Service staff  Theresa Langford and Bob Cromwell.  FVvr will be showcased on Saturday, May 12th, 2018.

Tourism to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site creates $90.2 Million in Economic Benefits - 04/27/18

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.1 million visitors to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in 2017 spent $61.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,010 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $90.2 million.

“Fort Vancouver National Historic Site welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

Fortmann continued, “This national park has been part of the Southwest Washington community since 1948, and is part of the fabric of the Pacific Northwest. It is an honor and a privilege for us to help our visitors learn about and reflect upon the history of this place, and we will continue this work in perpetuity.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with Washington communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/washington

To learn more about accomplishments in the year 2017 at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, download the park’s Superintendent’s Annual Report at https://www.nps.gov/fova/learn/news/annualreport.htm