Oregon Master Naturalist Program: Field Classwork
February 1, 2014- Human History in the Coast Range Ecoregion (North)Fort Clatsop
Fort Clatsop provided an iconic location to begin a conversation about human history in the Coast Range Ecoregion. The fort represents a place where cultural, political, economic, and ecological ideologies engaged in ways that eventually set the stage for a course of events that would change the face of the Western frontier lands … forever. It was here that The Corps of Discovery lead by Lewis and Clark learned about the ways of the Clatsop and Chinook peoples. It was here, they continued to share Jefferson’s vision for peaceful political and economic relations with peoples west of the Mississippi River, and discovered a rich bounty of natural resources. Geographic observations and charts created by Lewis and Clark helped to fuel an increasing interest in Westward Movement that eventually would become one of the largest land emigrations in history- The Oregon Trail. Later, the Netul (Lewis & Clark) River supported log sorting and Sternwheeler traffic. Fading remnants of these activities were pointed out by our Park Ranger Guide. Can you spot them in the above photographs?
After spending the morning at Fort Clatsop, our class traveled to Astoria for a tour through the Maritime Museum. Located near the mouth of the Columbia River, this was another place to learn about human interaction with the Coast Range ecoregion resources. Since the time of tribal inhabitants, this area has been known as a place for commerce and trade. It has also been a rich fishing ground, and once supported an extensive salmon cannery industry. Today the canneries are gone, but the port continues as a vital trade gateway to Columbia River ports of trade. A network of Columbia Bar Pilots assist safe entry into the river system.