Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Please click on the following link for the official Lewis and Clark National Historical Park Junior Ranger web page:http://www.nps.gov/lewi/forkids/beajuniorranger.htmThe Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks are unique because they are comprised of National Parks, Oregon State Parks and Washington State Parks.

You can pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Book at any of the below locations:

Fort Clatsop National Memorial Visitor Center

Fort Stevens Historic Military Site

Cape Disappointment State Park (Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center)

There are three activity books for different age categories as follows:
• Ages 5-8
• Ages 9-12
• Ages 13+

To become a Junior Ranger, you need to complete the required activities and share your answers with a Park Ranger. There are several sites to visit in Oregon and Washington that will assist in the completion of the Junior Ranger Activity Book. The sites are as follows:

Lewis and Clark National Historical Sites
• Fort Clatsop National Memorial (Oregon)
• Fort to Sea Trail (Oregon)
• Dismal Nitch (Washington)
• Station Camp (Washington)
• Salt Works (Oregon)
• Netul Landing (Oregon)

Oregon State Parks
• Fort Stevens Historic Military Site
• Ecola State Park

Washington State Parks
• Cape Disappointment State Park (Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center)
• Fort Columbia State Park
• Discovery Trail

Once all activities are completed, the Junior Ranger will receive a Junior Ranger Badge and a Junior Ranger Patch for that age group. There is a different patch for each age group. The Junior Ranger can also earn a place in the Junior Corps of Discovery as follows:

• Private – visit one site
• Sergeant – visit two sites
• Captain – visit three sites
• President – visit four or more sites

Sergeants, Captains and President receive a patch designating their level of accomplishment. Please see below for a picture of the Junior Ranger Badge, Junior Ranger Patches and the President Patch.

My family visited the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks from November 23, 2009 through November 25, 2009.

On November 23, 2009, we arrived at the Fort Clatsop National Memorial around 4:00 pm. We were greeted by Ranger Tom Wilson at the visitor center. Ranger Wilson was extremely friendly. He explained the Junior Ranger Program and even talked me into completing the 13+ program. We didn’t have a lot of time, as the visitor center closed at 5:00. Ranger Wilson suggested we watch one of the park videos and explore the rest of the park the next day. We took Ranger Wilson’s advice and watched one of the orientation films and called it a day.

On November 24, 2009, we drove up to Washington from Seaside, OR, which is about a 45 minute drive, to visit Cape Disappointment State Park. We were a little disappointed because a tree had fallen and was blocking the road to the the visitor center and we were unable to visit the park. Instead, we walked to one of the light houses at Cape Disappointment, then visited Fort Columbia State Park. The visitor center at Fort Columbia was closed, but we were able to walk around and explore the fort. After our visit, we found out that the park is open during the summer. If you wish to visit during the winter, I would suggest contacting the Park for their hours.

We then stopped at Station Camp and Dismal Nitch. There isn’t much to see there except a couple of information signs. I would suggest stopping at each location. Since it had been storming we got somewhat of an idea how the Lewis and Clark may have felt during their expedition and the signs were very educational. We then traveled back to Oregon and visited Fort Stevens Historic Military Site. Make sure you go to the Military Site, as this is where the visitor center is. If I remember right, the entrance fee was $5.00. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the park. It was still raining a little bit and we wanted to get back to Fort Clatsop and explore the fort.

When we arrived at Fort Clatsop, we were greeted by Ranger Susan Rhoads. One of the activities in the girls activity books was to locate an Evergreen Huckleberry. Ranger Rhoads took us to the back of the visitor center and pointed out some ripe Huckleberries and encouraged us to each try one. They were pretty good. She told us that she likes to eat them with vanilla ice cream and informed us that you can pick them at Fort Stevens. Ranger Rhoads then asked us if we wanted a tour of the fort. Of course we said yes and we walked a short distance to the fort. As we were walking through the fort, Ranger Rhoads shared with us the purpose of each room. She explained that during the summer months that there are several activities for children to participate in. Lewis and Clark’s room was locked. She asked us if we wanted to lay on one of the beds. Again we said yes. While in the room, she unlocked one of the cabinets and let the girls and grandpa try on coon skin hats and dear skin jackets. Ranger Rhoads spent at a minimum 30 minutes with us talking about the fort and experiences of the expedition. During our contact with her, she was very energetic and it was obvious that she enjoyed her job, sharing her knowledge with us. Thanks Ranger Rhoads, this was the highlight of our trip.

On November 25, 2009, we visited Cape Disappointment State Park (Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center). We first watched a video about the expedition. We then explored the center, which had several hands on activities for the girls. Prior to leaving, we turned in our finished activity books and received our Junior Ranger badges and patches.

That afternoon, we took a walk along the beach in Seaside and visited Salt Works. Its a small area just off the beach were the expedition boiled sea water for salt.

Overall this was a very educational trip. If you have a chance to visit, I would suggest going in the summer time when the parks offer more activities for children.