The bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition is nearing an end, as this fall marks the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's arrival in central and western Oregon.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, celebration of this major event will occur at Marine Park in Cascade Locks, as the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, Mo., arrives as part of its re-enactment of Lewis and Clark's travels.
"This event has been long-awaited," expresses Captain Randy Holmstrom of the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge . "The Sternwheeler captains have been refining their Lewis and Clark expedition narrative for over twenty years, and now they are coming to dinner!"
The Discovery Expedition, a volunteer group now in its third year of the re-enactment, will arrive before 11 a.m. on Oct. 30 to set up camp, and will leave the following morning around 9 a.m.
The event will be enhanced by a Sternwheeler Lewis and Clark package, which includes a one-hour cruise aboard the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge at 3:00 p.m., and a salmon bake at Marine Park's Gorge Pavilion from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
"On the Sternwheeler cruise, we will take passengers by sites where the original Corps of Discovery camped, west of the Bridge of the Gods," explains Captain Holmstrom. "This stretch of the Columbia River in those days was well-recorded as the Corps maneuvered through the chutes and rapids."
Captain Holstrom feels that if Lewis and Clark were to visit Cascade Locks today, they would find that it looks very much the same as it did when they first paddled through in their canoes in the early 1800s.
The Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge is an authentic, triple-decker paddle wheeler, a replica of boats that cruised the waters of the Columbia River in the late 1800s.
The Discovery Expedition has completed over 4,100 miles on the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, followed by the Snake and Columbia Rivers, making this the longest military re-enactment in American history and a significant component of our nation's National Bicentennial Commemoration of the original expedition.
The Expedition traveled as far as they could by river in pirogues, then crossed the mountains and are continuing the arduous journey on horseback, in dugout canoes and by foot. As they "proceed on," they will continue to tell the Lewis and Clark story by presenting live camp site displays, campfire story telling and individual presentations until they reach the Pacific Ocean in November. Along the way, special attention is paid to the inclusion of the vast contributions of the Native American tribes.
The Discovery Expedition combines the efforts of 238 volunteers from 38 states, blending the world of yesteryear with the world of today. Approximately 45 Expedition travelers, including support staff, will participate in the re-enactment in Cascade Locks.
The discoveries on route and the ability to put volunteer history buffs, curious townfolk, tourists and students together for a step back in time is a gift to behold, and is the primary goal of the Discovery Expedition.
For more information about the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, Mo. or to view a schedule of its stops and programs, visit lewisandclark.net.