U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith Wednesday announced Senate approval

of $1.25 million for the expansion of Fort

Clatsop National Memorial.

The funding, part of the Senate's 2004 Interior appropriations bill, will pay for the purchase of land for the park's planned expansion.

The Senate bill now goes to a joint House-Senate conference committee, where the final version of the bill will be put together, according to Wyden press secretary Chris Fitzgerald.

"If not a done deal, we can speak with some confidence that the funding will come through," he said.

The money is the first federal appropriation approved for Fort Clatsop since Congress approved the park's expansion last year.

"Fort Clatsop is a prize, not only for its beauty, but also because of the tourism dollars it will continue to bring to Oregon," Wyden said. "The Fort Clatsop National Memorial is an important part of the history of the American West and this funding will help preserve the site for generations to come."

"Just as commerce was part of Lewis and Clark's expedition, this funding will increase commerce to Oregon through tourism to this National Memorial," said Smith. "This funding will also be essential in furthering the life lessons learned as they wintered at Fort Clatsop and all along their famous journey."

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