Lewis and Clark National Expansion markedILWACO, Wash. - National Park Service Director Fran Mainella and various dignitaries will be in attendance at the official dedication ceremony for the new Lewis and Clark National and State Historic Parks at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington.

The event celebrates the years-long effort by local supporters and state and federal lawmakers to expand Fort Clatsop National Memorial. The vision became a reality this year with Congress' passage of the Fort Clatsop expansion bill and President Bush's signing of the legislation last month.

The tiny park south of Astoria containing the replica of Lewis and Clark's winter encampment is now 10 times its former size and includes the Netul Landing shuttle stop, the Fort-to-the-Sea trail to Sunset Beach, as well the Station Camp and "Clark's Dismal Nitch" sites in Washington. It also has closer links with Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia state parks in Washington and Fort Stevens and Ecola state parks in Oregon.

Along with Mainella, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., congressmen David Wu, D-Ore., and Brian Baird, D-Wash., and other dignitaries including Chinook Tribe Chairman Gary Johnson are scheduled to be on hand for the dedication ceremony.

It is one of several events scheduled Friday to mark the creation of the new park. The day begins at 9 a.m. when the U.S. Postal Service begins offering commemorative postmarks at the interpretive center. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. a crew from the Oregon National Guard will be working at the new Sunset Beach trailhead for the Fort-to-the-Sea Trail. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local school children will plant trees at the Netul Landing parking and shuttle area south of Fort Clatsop.

A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Megler Rest Area on Washington Highway 401 east of the Astoria Bridge for the new informational exhibit for the "Clark's Dismal Nitch" interpretive area.

And at 7 p.m. at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum, local historian Rex Ziak and Oregon Zoo curator Joe Burnett will give a presentation on the California Condor, which Lewis and Clark found near Ilwaco, in the first lecture in the annual "Ocian in View" program.


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