Thomas Vaughan commented to me during an interview in December of 1993 that no one involved with Fort Clatsop or who opposed federal management in 1958 could have imagined the memorial that exists now. Over the years, the staff at Fort Clatsop have quietly strived to make the memorial the best it could be. Historically, the park has not been the focus of regional or national controversy and has operated in a very self-sufficient manner. In some cases, memorial superintendents have had to yell a little to catch the attention of the regional office, especially regarding infrastructural needs. Fort Clatsop had and continues to have a staff of talented and dedicated individuals. Several staff members have spent a majority or the entirety of their NPS career at the memorial. The memorial also works with one of the best and most dedicated cooperating associations in the nation. Despite its initial rejection, the memorial has been a successful addition to the National Park System.
The memorial reflects two important periods of NPS history. Developed during Mission 66, the park's facilities and goals reflect a period of greater emphasis on visitor services and inspiration through interpretation as the American people began visiting the nation's parks in much larger numbers. The park also utilized the concept of "living history" that appeared in the late 1960s and has developed that trend into a central feature of its interpretive programming. Interpretation and infrastructure management have been the major areas of management emphasis for most of the last thirty-six years. This emphasis has resulted in the creation of a popular demonstration program and an outstanding educational program, the planting of thousands of trees to enhance the historic scene, and the expansion of park facilities to meet the pressures of visitation. Currently, the memorial faces new directions, with emphasis on managing its resources and expanding its boundaries for the inclusion of a commemorative trail.
Under the guidelines of a new GMP, Fort Clatsop and its staff will continue to work towards its primary goal, through different interpretive mediums and the preservation of the natural environment: the commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They will also continue to surpass the expectations of those who fought for the site in 1958.
Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004