When Andrew Rasmussen was growing up in Astoria, many of the trail networks at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park didn't exist.

For someone who prefers to be outdoors and moving, trails are important.

A graduate from Astoria High School (and a former captain of the high school football team), he and his family recently moved back to the area so he could take a job as the park's chief of facilities management.

His daily job is to keep the buildings and grounds up and running at the park, but he'll also be looking at the park's trails. How are they functioning? Do they make sense? How do they work with existing community trails? Is there a need for new trails?

He'll also have a hand in the plans to finally open a park at Station Camp across the river in Washington.

Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery stayed at the Station Camp site for 10 days, using it as the starting point for an overland trek that brought them their first view of the Pacific Ocean. Station Camp was also the site of Chinook village and the Park Service has been working with tribes to preserve and protect the area.

"Right now there's just not much there (in terms of visitor services)," Rasmussen said. "We're going to do a lot of things to show what a significant place that is."

In some ways, the new job isn't very different from his previous job with Western Federal Lands as a project manager.

He oversaw projects in Alaska, working with small, native villages to improve transportation.

On one project, he helped connect two villages by constructing an all-terrain vehicle trail.

The villages were only five miles apart, but those miles were rough. Before the trail was built, villagers took planes to travel between the villages, he said.

Rasmussen will be drawing on both this project managing background as well as his civil engineering background for the national park job.

He's glad to have that technical background but prefers "working with people and doing more engineering-related stuff, managing projects and solving engineering problems at a level where you're dealing with everybody involved rather than just sitting at a computer," he said.

It's why he liked his last job and why he's looking forward to the new job.

The big difference will be the pace.

"It's a different culture," he said.

In Alaska, a project could be finished in just over a year. You got to know the people and you got to know their needs, but it was a short-term relationship, he said.

Now, it may take longer to figure out a plan or to finalize a project, he said. The focus is more on the long-term.

"Again, the culture: It's all about the park and how it works with everybody else. There's a real vested interest in the place and making it what everybody needs it to be," he said. "You're working with the whole community and everything ties in. It's a different sort of coordination."

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