Dedication unveils new park entry point and a life-sized bronze sculpture of SacagaweaNetul Landing was all dressed up, but still needed to "comb its hair" Saturday when local residents, visitors and dignitaries assembled to dedicate the new addition to Fort Clatsop National Memorial.

A few remaining touches were still left to be done here and there, but otherwise the facility on the bank of the Lewis and Clark River was ready for the day's events, which included a welcome from Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes leader Joe Scovell.

One of the new shuttle buses pulls into Netul Landing with the first load of people Saturday.

KIM ERSKINE - The Daily Astorian"Extend your imagination back 200 years, and imagine you're seeing Lewis and Clark come up the river," he said. "Of course, you'd all have to be Clatsop-Nehalem Indians - is that OK?"

Beginning next week, Netul Landing - named for the original name of the Lewis and Clark River - will serve as the new entry point for Fort Clatsop, where buses from the Lewis and Clark Explorer Shuttle will bring park visitors from points around Clatsop and Pacific counties. The shuttle system will be part of a new reserved ticket entry system designed to handle the bigger crowds forecast for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.

Mary Peters helps artist, Jim Dimitro unveil his statue of Sacagawea and her baby Saturday furing the Netul Landing dedication ceremony.

KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian

The new facility, just south of Fort Clatsop, includes a bus and shuttle transfer site, a 70-car parking lot, restrooms, an information kiosk and a canoe and kayak launch site.

Saturday's ceremony included a presentation by Federal Highway Administration head Mary Peters, and the unveiling of a new life-sized bronze sculpture of Sacagawea by Battle Ground, Wash., artist Jim Demetro.

The former log-sorting yard was purchased from Weyerhaeuser Corp. from the private Fort Clatsop Historical Association. The timber company honored the deal first brokered between the association and Willamette Industries, the land's former owner, according to association president Michael Foster.

Joe Scovell, Chairman of the Clatsop Tribes, welcomes visitors to the new Netul Landing Saturday.

KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian

Netul Landing is a first completed piece of the ongoing expansion of Fort Clatsop, which will include the new five-mile fort-to-the-sea trail, and the inclusion of three sites in Washington into a new Lewis and Clark National Historic Park.

Saturday's event also served as the final dedication of the new Lower Columbia River Water Trail, a 146-mile route between Bonneville Dam and Astoria for non-motorized water craft. The trail identifies pull-outs, camping facilities, natural and historical points and other features along the lower stretch of the river.

Fort Clatsop Historical Association President Michael Foster jokes with the crowd during the Netul Landing dedication.

KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian

As part of the dedication, Chris Hathaway from the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership and Fort Clatsop Resource Specialist Scott Stonum installed a sign at the canoe landing, the last of a series located along the new trail.

During a short canoe paddle offered to visitors, Al LePage from the National Coast Trails Association explained that Lewis and Clark, would have used the waterway extensively to travel around the area from Fort Clatsop.


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