Between 1825 and 1849, Fort Vancouver was the hub of activity in the Pacific Northwest.
Established by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Vancouver served as a business center for the company’s regional fur trade. From this location, 600 employees directed ships and trains loaded with goods toward Alaska, California, and Hawai’i.
The diverse staff came from every possible background and conducted business in Canadian French and Chinook Jargon. The company built a school, hospital, library, dairy, and orchard to serve its employees and their families.
Situated at the terminus of the Oregon Trail, Fort Vancouver also welcomed settlers arriving from the east.
More than 2 million archaeological artifacts found at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site tell the story of the people and activity that characterized this site. The nearby McLoughlin House, home of John McLoughlin, the “Father of Oregon,” adds to this fascinating tale.
At Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, you can wander trails, witness historic demonstrations and living history presentations, tour the fort and McLoughlin House, and learn about the artistry and craftsmanship of the early 1800s.
Legislation Threatens Fort Vancouver
A dispute over the National Park Service's authority at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has led Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to push legislation to remove a museum and seven acres of land from the national park.
The legislation, introduced February 14 by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, stems from the Park Service's decision not give up their authority to decide how their museum, the Pearson Air Museum, will be used by outside groups.
An outside organization, the Fort Vancouver National Trust, wants to use the grounds of the Museum and its 7 acres for various activities, including a youth soccer fair, even though the city's soccer complex is not 50 yards from the park. Furthermore, the Trust also wanted to construct a Jumbotron screen and stage onto the grounds for a day-long amplified concert. These activities conflict with the historic site's mission and Park Service regulations and policies on what activities are appropriate for a unit of the National Park System to host.
The Superintendent explained the decision to not allow these events at the park well when she wrote, "Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is many things, but it is not a special events venue -- it is a national park that may permit special events under special circumstances. ... While many types of special events may have a meaningful association with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site's purpose, many do not require a national park setting, and we look to the many other community resources to accommodate them. In the meantime, the national park remains open and accessible to all, consistent with laws and policy."
The park service has the authority to permit those activities that they feel are appropriate for the historic nature of the site, and to deny those events that do not fit the character of the site. It is not appropriate for Congress to step in and take away part of a park to punish them for a decision they made that is their prerogative.