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Forest marks sesquicentennial

Two events in August will commemorate historic McClellan expedition

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest will commemorate the historic McClellan expedition with two upcoming events for the public in early August.

Captain George B. McClellan's group was surveying a route for railroads across the Cascades.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, forest service archaeologist Cheryl Mack will make a presentation on the history of the expedition in Trout Lake. The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Trout Lake School. A re-enactor will be on hand to talk about expedition clothing and equipment.

The second event is a short interpretive hike on a section of the original McClellan Trail. A forest service archaeologist will lead the 3-mile round trip walk from the Ice Caves interpretive site, five miles west of Trout Lake on Forest Road 24. The hike will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10, the same date the expedition passed through the district in 1853.

In the summer of 1853, 150 years ago, Captain George B. McClellan and his party of 65 men became the first exploring expedition to traverse the southern Cascade Mountains in what is now the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The party followed a well-used Indian trail from Fort Vancouver to the Lewis River, passing through the present-day Indian Heaven Wilderness en route to Trout Lake. Their observations provide the earliest written descriptions of the area and its peoples.

McClellan went on to lead the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War and made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1864. In 1872, he was name president of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He remained active in politics and served as governor of New Jersey from 1878-81.


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