Grant will help the fort-to-the-sea trailhead constructionThe fort-to-the-sea trail, Salt Makers reenactment andother local Lewis and Clark Bicentennial projects have been awarded funds from Congress.

A total of $235,000 will go to several recipients this year from the federal Challenge Cost Share program, a congressionally funded project. The program includes a special allocation for Lewis and Clark Bicentennial projects administered by the park service's Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail office in Nebraska.

The awards include $75,000 to the "Destination: The Pacific" organizing board; $20,000 to the Fort Clatsop Historical Association for a new film at the park's visitor center; and $5,000 to the Seaside Museum for this summer's "Salt Makers Return" living history re-enactment program.

A grant of $90,000 will go to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for construction of a trailhead at Sunset Beach for the planned Fort Clatsop-to-the-sea trail.

Two Native American groups involved in the Bicentennial are also recipients - the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes gets $35,000 for a "paddle" gathering, and the Chinook Tribe receives $10,000 for cultural training.

The Challenge Cost Share program requires that recipients match the grants with at least an equal amount of nonfederal dollars or in-kind resources. The Oregon Parks Department, for example, will match its $90,000 grant with staff work, engineering, equipment and assistance from National Guard personnel and the Job Corps, said Chip Jenkins, superintendent of Fort Clatsop National Memorial.

State parks purchased the former county property at Sunset Beach for development as the western trailhead of the five-mile trail linking Fort Clatsop to the sea.

The funding program has already provided $100,000 to the Destination group, as well as Fort Clatsop, Pacific County and other local recipients, Jenkins said.

"This is an example of how federal money to support the Bicentennial is coming here locally," he said.

The Clatsop County grants were among 188 requests totaling $15.3 million submitted to the park service, which had just $4.6 million in grants to allocate in this year's funding cycle. One quarter of the projects chosen were in partnership with Native American tribes and organizations.

"We are very happy to provide this funding," said Gerard Baker, National Historic Trail superintendent. "These projects greatly enhance the value of the visitor experience during the 2003-06 Bicentennial Commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They also help to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the trail for future enjoyment by the American people."

The recent dispute between the Chinook Tribe and the Destination board won't affect the tribe's $10,000 grant, Jenkins said, but it could have an impact on future requests.

"What we are clearly hearing from the national council (of the Bicentennial) is that there is the expectation that all activities will be as inclusive as possible, and that future funding from the national council is dependent on being inclusive," he said.

The Chinook Tribe recently announced it will not take part in any Bicentennial activities, including those during the Signature Event in November 2005, that also include the Clatsop-Nehalem tribes.

The Chinook tribal council claims the Clatsop-Nehalem are usurping the Chinooks' rightful role as the true representatives of the five historic lower Columbia River tribes, including the Clatsops. The Destination board voted in January to include the Clatsop-Nehalem group as a formal member.

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