Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

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.








April 7, 2013

Carving up any national park to satisfy the wants of any event or group set dangerous precident and should not be permitted and certainly not legislated!!! Having been to that park site on numerous occassions I know that there are many other venues available that would be as or more suitable. There is no justification for this legal bullying.


April 7, 2013

This is an inappropriate use for a Historic site, especially since there is a soccer complex nearby. Use common sense.

Dale R

April 5, 2013

These park grounds are "fragile" when you consider the crowds who would attend or use this site, when lawns, etc would be virtually destroyed. Pease protect the quality of this park and NOT open it to crowds and crowds of people who are there with nothing to do with the historic nature of teh area.


April 5, 2013

The Park service should maintain control and authority over the Fort Vancouver. It is ridiculus that any other group could even try to take charge. It is an historic park NOT a venue for rock concerts and sports competitions.


April 5, 2013

Our family has visited Fort Vancouver and it is a beautiful park with an excellent historical and educational site. Please work for a compromise that will not reduce the park's area. It seems possible to come to an agreement, perhaps with a mediator.


April 5, 2013

please protect the parks dont remove the museum at fort vancover national park


April 5, 2013

It sets a very dangerous precedent to begin whittling away sections of our National Parks for privatized use, especially under the guise of a "community" group that wants access for a specialized, commercial use. Beware the true intentions of Jamie Herrera-Buetler. Nothing for the public good or long term public access to ALL will come from her catering to special interest groups.

Thelma Follett

April 5, 2013

I looked into this matter and read the text of the legislation. It took me some time to decide what I thought would be the appropriate action in this case. I signed the petition to ask that Congress keep the 7 acres surrounding the Pearson Air Museum under the jurisdiction of the Parks Service. The reason I did this was because, after reading the text of the legislation, it was not clear to me that the City of Vancouver would not, at some future date, be prevented in any way from handing over the Museum and its 7 acres to a private concern. I am very much against privatization in any form as privatization removes democratic oversight from organizations that exist for the public benefit. As a citizen of Whatcom County I have some experience with this. Last year the Parks Department in the City of Bellingham attempted to hand over one of its parks (Big Rock) to a not clearly defined "nonprofit" using an, in this case, flimsy argument of financial hardship to do so. Local citizens were immediately up in arms, not wanting democratically elected and appointed official control to be turned over to a less expert and less altruistic body. Currently, Big Rock park remains in the hands of the City.


November 1, 2012

Please post the address for each of these sites to make it easier to map it into our route.

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