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Station Camp

Station Camp - BEST Places to Picnic

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
92343 Fort Clatsop Road
Astoria, OR 97103-9197

Phone
Headquarters
(503) 861-2471
Visitor Information
(503) 861-2471 ext. 214

WELCOME to Station Camp

The Corps spent just 10 days here, but used Station Camp as a departure point for an overland trek to their first view of the Pacific Ocean and an exploration of the area. Together with nearby Dismal Nitch, Station Camp helps greatly to tell the Lewis and Clark story in Washington.

The Corps met �near disaster� at Dismal Nitch, to arrive �in full view of the ocian� at Station Camp. Also, both before and after Captains Lewis and Clark established Station Camp, the site was a vital and thriving Chinook Indian village.

For thousands of years, the Chinook people have lived along the Columbia River and their home near the river�s mouth was strategically located to provide abundant food, such as salmon and shellfish. In addition, the nearby forests were home to game animals and the grasslands and marshes provided ample materials for making shelter, clothing and trade and household goods. The river provided a way for Chinook traders to travel to the south shore and up and down the Columbia.

They developed a sophisticated, rich culture and enjoyed great success as traders. The waterway near Station Camp became a virtual trade �water highway.� During the 10 years before Lewis and Clark arrived overland at the this spot almost 90 trade ships from Europe and New England are documented to have crossed the Columbia River Bar to trade with American Indians. 

These ships brought metal tools, blankets, clothing, beads, liquor and weapons to trade for beaver and sea otter pelts. By the time the Corps reached the site, the Chinook�s had moved to their winter village and this village was unoccupied. The explorers spent almost two weeks there.

Several significant events took place, including the decision to spend the winter across the river, in what is now Oregon. It was Nov. 24, 1805, and the explorers desperately needed to lead the Corps to a winter campsite, one rich with game and near friendly tribes who would trade for supplies. 

A majority of the Corps, including the Indian woman Sacagawea and the African American York decided to cross the Columbia River to look for such a place. Because of this poll and decision, some historians call Station Camp �the Independence Hall of the American West.� It would be more than fifty years before African Americans could vote, and more than 100 years before the right was extended to women.

Did You Know?
Sacagawea was stolen as a young girl from the Shoshone by the Minnetare/Hidatsa people. In the journals Sacagawea is called "Bird Woman" and in the Minnetare/Hidatsa language Sacagawea means "Bird Woman."

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