National Park Service

Saber Fights at Fort Vancouver!

The National Park Service and Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, in partnership with Academia Duellatoria, would like to announce a 19th Century Military Saber Training Course, Beginning and Intermediate levels. This course is open to the public, ages 12 and over. The training course lasts seven weeks, and takes place on Sundays, Oct. 1 through Nov. 12, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm, at the Pearson Air Museum Historic Hangar (or outdoors during good weather).

In 1854, troopers with the U.S. Army’s 1st Regiment of Dragoons arrived in the Pacific Northwest. At that time, dragoons (mounted infantry) were the only U.S. Army enlisted-rank soldiers that were issued sabers as part of their personal weaponry. This training course will focus on the saber techniques adopted by the U.S. Army in the mid-19th century. There will also be information provided related to the history of Fort Vancouver, the dragoons and their weaponry, and saber-driven military tactics. Once a certain level of expertise has been achieved, there will be reenactment opportunities for trainees during events at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Unlike sword work seen in the movies and media, true sword training is similar to many other martial arts—requiring physical discipline, mental control, and the development of muscle memory. Beginning Level training will start with basic footwork, then move into solo and partner drills on offensive cuts and thrusts, and defensive guards and parries. The drills provide a good sense of what sparring is like. Intermediate Level training (for those who have previously participated in a Beginning Level training), will consist of additional solo and partner drills focusing on perfecting form and more advanced interactive sequences.

The cost is $100 per person for the seven week training course. Training sabers will be provided. These training sabers have dull edges and rubber covers on the tips. Safety glasses will be provided. To sign up, contact Elaine Dorset at 360-816-6254.

Above image: saber students at last year’s Canterbury Faire in Silverton, Oregon. To see more cool pictures of sword fights and other duelling fun, visit Academia Duellatoria’s Facebook page.

Park Prescription Walk

Forget treadmills and gyms; get healthier by strolling around Fort Vancouver’s beautiful grounds and nourish your mind with the ‘Couve’s rich history. At National Park Rx Day, discover how you can improve your health (and learn about our local history!) by walking the trails of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This family-friendly event is part of the National Park Prescription Day (Park Rx Day), an innovative partnership between healthcare providers and the National Park Service that encourages outdoor exercise as a way to improve health. Join a national park ranger and a local physician from Kaiser Permanente for a free walking tour from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. While strolling along the Spruce Mill Trail, rangers will discuss the site’s World War I history in honor of this year’s centennial commemorations of the United States’ entry into the war. Walkers should meet at the Pearson Air Museum.

National Park Rx Day is part of a growing movement of prescribing outdoor activity to patients to improve health. The health benefits of nature go beyond just physical health. There are well-documented benefits of nature that improve mental health, spiritual health, and social health. Visitors can also use the park’s Parks Rx map and walking guide to explore the park’s trails on their own. The guide can be downloaded from the park’s website here.

Above image courtesy of the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver.

Explore for Free in Honor of Veterans Day

A fee-free day (or weekend) is when forests, parks, refuges, and rangelands offer free entry or waive the standard amenity fee for visitors, so whether you have an annual refuge pass or just pay the $3 fee when you visit Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, you get this weekend off. That means its free to enter the refuge on Friday, Nov. 11, Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13. The refuge is open from dawn until dusk, every day.

“We honor our veterans each Nov. 11 and every other day of the year,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that this day will serve as a way for our veterans and other visitors to find our national forests and grasslands as a year-round respite, a place where they can take time out for themselves.”

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver is also offering a fee-free day just for Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day—as are all national parks. Other federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2016 are the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service. You can click on the links for each agency for details about free days.

Photo credit: Eve Turek, courtesy of the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System

Opening Night Reception for Fort Vancouver-inspired Art Exhibit

For a group of local artists, celebrating the centennial year of the National Park Service means doing what they do best: creating works of art inspired by their local national park!

Curated by artist and educator Maureen Montague, professional artists from the Vancouver area were invited to create original two-dimensional works of art inspired by their experiences at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Participating artists toured the park and were able to meet with the national park’s curators to explore and draw inspiration from artifacts in the museum collection.

The exhibit will open with a reception at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, as part of downtown Vancouver’s First Friday Artwalk. After that evening, the exhibit will be open to the public, free of charge, during normal park business hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit will run through the end of 2016.

Operation Pillow Talk

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has teamed up with Operation Pillow Talk, a local community project to help lift the morale of active military service members. This project is in its fifth year of designing, sewing, or dyeing pillowcases for deployed military personnel. Over the course of 2016, community residents, sewing clubs, Girl Scout troops, senior living centers, elementary school teachers and students have contributed to this project.

The resulting pillowcases will be shipped to troops around the world in time for the holidays. Before they are shipped, they will be displayed inside Pearson Air Museum’s historic hangar on Nov. 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through the generosity of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, this year’s event will provide an area for visitors to decorate a pillowcase and write a note of encouragement to slip inside. On Saturday, Nov. 5, folk music and storytelling will also be provided throughout the day. All are encouraged to attend this free event before or after the Veteran’s Day Parade, which starts at 11 am.

The staff at the State of Washington Community Services Office and Home and Community Services started Operation Pillow Talk in 2012. These staffers continue to coordinate and volunteer their time in support of this project. Operation Pillow Talk’s pre-shipment display of pillowcases has taken place at Pearson Air Museum—part of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, located at 1115 E Fifth St. in Vancouver—since last year. This new location has made it possible to open up the project to the entire community, and to allow more people to participate and decorate pillowcases.

Operation Pillow Talk

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has teamed up with Operation Pillow Talk, a local community project to help lift the morale of active military service members. This project is in its fifth year of designing, sewing, or dyeing pillowcases for deployed military personnel. Over the course of 2016, community residents, sewing clubs, Girl Scout troops, senior living centers, elementary school teachers and students have contributed to this project.

The resulting pillowcases will be shipped to troops around the world in time for the holidays. Before they are shipped, they will be displayed inside Pearson Air Museum’s historic hangar on Nov. 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through the generosity of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, this year’s event will provide an area for visitors to decorate a pillowcase and write a note of encouragement to slip inside. On Saturday, Nov. 5, folk music and storytelling will also be provided throughout the day. All are encouraged to attend this free event before or after the Veteran’s Day Parade, which starts at 11 am.

The staff at the State of Washington Community Services Office and Home and Community Services started Operation Pillow Talk in 2012. These staffers continue to coordinate and volunteer their time in support of this project. Operation Pillow Talk’s pre-shipment display of pillowcases has taken place at Pearson Air Museum—part of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, located at 1115 E Fifth St. in Vancouver—since last year. This new location has made it possible to open up the project to the entire community, and to allow more people to participate and decorate pillowcases.

Summer’s End Promenade

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will present the annual Summer’s End Promenade on Saturday, Sept. 24, between 1 and 3 p.m., as part of National Public Lands Day (and one of Fort Vancouver’s annual fee-free days). This event is a modern nod to past times, when an afternoon stroll in pleasant weather was taken for good health, to enjoy the company of friends, and to show off fine clothes. It is also an opportunity for the public to see reproduction clothing used across all park programs and events, with an emphasis on those items that are displayed less frequently.

National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs) of all ages will be attired in period clothing illustrating the 110 years of history represented at Fort Vancouver. They’ll stroll down Officers Row and around the Parade Ground, stopping outside The Grant House restaurant at 1101 Officer’s Row, where you might be enjoying a cocktail on the veranda. In case of inclement weather, the Promenade will visit the Grant House and relocate to the Pearson Air Museum at 1115 E. Fifth St.

Visitors are invited to stop and have one-on-one conversations with participants about what was taking place at Fort Vancouver during the era each costume represents. Volunteers from the park’s Costume and Textile Department will also be on hand to answer questions about clothing construction and style. Photography is welcome.

Summer’s End Promenade

The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will present the annual Summer’s End Promenade on Saturday, Sept. 24, between 1 and 3 p.m., as part of National Public Lands Day (and one of Fort Vancouver’s annual fee-free days). This event is a modern nod to past times, when an afternoon stroll in pleasant weather was taken for good health, to enjoy the company of friends, and to show off fine clothes. It is also an opportunity for the public to see reproduction clothing used across all park programs and events, with an emphasis on those items that are displayed less frequently.

National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs) of all ages will be attired in period clothing illustrating the 110 years of history represented at Fort Vancouver. They’ll stroll down Officers Row and around the Parade Ground, stopping outside The Grant House restaurant at 1101 Officer’s Row, where you might be enjoying a cocktail on the veranda. In case of inclement weather, the Promenade will visit the Grant House and relocate to the Pearson Air Museum at 1115 E. Fifth St.

Visitors are invited to stop and have one-on-one conversations with participants about what was taking place at Fort Vancouver during the era each costume represents. Volunteers from the park’s Costume and Textile Department will also be on hand to answer questions about clothing construction and style. Photography is welcome.

Above image: photo, taken by Junelle Lawry, courtesy of the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver

 

National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at Fort Vancouver

The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host a centennial birthday celebration for the National Park Service—founded a hundred years ago this month—on Saturday, Aug. 27. Activities will take place at each of the four sites that make up this national park: the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum, and the McLoughlin House in Oregon City, where hourly free tours will be offered. In honor of the centennial, all national parks—including Fort Vancouver NHS—will waive their entrance fees from Aug. 25-27.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 27, costumed reenactors will offer interactive demonstrations inside the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. On the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground, visitors can learn about the site’s military history during historic weapons demonstrations at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.. In the Great Meadow, across from Pearson Air Museum, riders from the 1st Oregon Volunteer Cavalry will represent the site’s Civil War-era history. At 10 a.m., an opening ceremony will unveil a new permanent exhibit at Pearson Air Museum: a 1919 DH-4B Liberty Plane restored by Century Aviation of Wenatchee, Washington. At the park’s Visitor Center, a time capsule containing visitor notes and present-day ephemera about Fort Vancouver will be officially closed at 1 p.m. The capsule is to be opened in 2116 for the Bicentennial of the National Park Service. Visitors can enjoy light refreshments in the Visitor Center and visit with costumed reenactors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From Aug. 25-27, in the Great Meadow section of the park opposite the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, the Clark County Amateur Radio Club will be transmitting live from HAM radio sets as part of the “National Parks on the Air” campaign, which is encouraging HAM radio operators to set up temporary stations at every national park unit throughout the nation. Visitors are welcome to chat with the radio operators, listen in on transmissions from around the northern hemisphere, and transmit their own messages of goodwill from Fort Vancouver.

National Park Service’s 100th Birthday at Fort Vancouver

The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host a centennial birthday celebration for the National Park Service—founded a hundred years ago this month—on Saturday, Aug. 27. Activities will take place at each of the four sites that make up this national park: the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum, and the McLoughlin House in Oregon City, where hourly free tours will be offered. In honor of the centennial, all national parks—including Fort Vancouver NHS—will waive their entrance fees from Aug. 25-27.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 27, costumed reenactors will offer interactive demonstrations inside the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. On the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground, visitors can learn about the site’s military history during historic weapons demonstrations at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.. In the Great Meadow, across from Pearson Air Museum, riders from the 1st Oregon Volunteer Cavalry will represent the site’s Civil War-era history. At 10 a.m., an opening ceremony will unveil a new permanent exhibit at Pearson Air Museum: a 1919 DH-4B Liberty Plane restored by Century Aviation of Wenatchee, Washington. At the park’s Visitor Center, a time capsule containing visitor notes and present-day ephemera about Fort Vancouver will be officially closed at 1 p.m. The capsule is to be opened in 2116 for the Bicentennial of the National Park Service. Visitors can enjoy light refreshments in the Visitor Center and visit with costumed reenactors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From Aug. 25-27, in the Great Meadow section of the park opposite the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, the Clark County Amateur Radio Club will be transmitting live from HAM radio sets as part of the “National Parks on the Air” campaign, which is encouraging HAM radio operators to set up temporary stations at every national park unit throughout the nation. Visitors are welcome to chat with the radio operators, listen in on transmissions from around the northern hemisphere, and transmit their own messages of goodwill from Fort Vancouver.

Above image: detail from an original photo by National Park Service volunteer Junelle Lawry.

Free Admission, Events at Ft. Vancouver to Celebrate National Park Services 100th Anniversary

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is celebrating the National Park Service‘s 100th anniversary by offering a whole week of free admission to the Fort, along with many events and activities. Bring your family to the Fort from April 16-24 to take advantage of these free programs on Saturday, April 16, and Saturday, April 23:

  • Junior Ranger Day, noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Pearson Air Museum & Fort Vancouver: Enjoy kid-friendly activities at Pearson Air Museum and historic demonstrations at Fort Vancouver. Kids ages 6 to 12 who complete one (or both!) of the park’s themed Junior Ranger booklets will be officially “sworn in” and receive their Junior Ranger badges. Younger and older kids are also welcome to participate.
  • Art of Legacy Opening Reception, 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, in the hangar at Pearson Air Museum: North Bank Artists Gallery partnered with Fort Vancouver for this year’s Art of Legacy program, where students from the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Thomas Jefferson Middle School created art pieces inspired by artifacts in the park’s museum collection. The Art of Legacy show will be on display through June 4.
  • Yuri’s Night World Space Party, 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Pearson Air Museum: This is a global event that commemorates the accomplishments of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth. There will be family-friendly activities, including the construction and launching of bottle rockets. See presentations by the Oregon L5 Space Exploration Society and Dr. Cameron Smith, who will show his high altitude pressure suit and high altitude helium balloon. The evening will finish with an outdoor star-gazing tour.
  • Opening Reception for artist Toma Villa, 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Fort Vancouver Visitor Center: Yakama artist Toma Villa brings his works to the Visitor Center for a temporary exhibit, as well as Villa’s new, permanent sculpture in the main lobby—”Spirit Pole”—which has been a year in the making. Carved from a single cedar log, the work also includes glass sculptural components. It’s a touchable artwork, so visitors of all ages can experience it both visually and through texture.

 

Free Admission at Ft. Vancouver, April 16-24

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is celebrating the National Park Service‘s 100th anniversary by offering a whole week of free admission to the Fort, along with many events and activities. Bring your family to the Fort from April 16-24 to take advantage of these free programs on Saturday, April 16, and Saturday, April 23:

  • Junior Ranger Day, noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Pearson Air Museum & Fort Vancouver: Enjoy kid-friendly activities at Pearson Air Museum and historic demonstrations at Fort Vancouver. Kids ages 6 to 12 who complete one (or both!) of the park’s themed Junior Ranger booklets will be officially “sworn in” and receive their Junior Ranger badges. Younger and older kids are also welcome to participate.
  • Art of Legacy Opening Reception, 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, in the hangar at Pearson Air Museum: North Bank Artists Gallery partnered with Fort Vancouver for this year’s Art of Legacy program, where students from the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Thomas Jefferson Middle School created art pieces inspired by artifacts in the park’s museum collection. The Art of Legacy show will be on display through June 4.
  • Yuri’s Night World Space Party, 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Pearson Air Museum: This is a global event that commemorates the accomplishments of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth. There will be family-friendly activities, including the construction and launching of bottle rockets. See presentations by the Oregon L5 Space Exploration Society and Dr. Cameron Smith, who will show his high altitude pressure suit and high altitude helium balloon. The evening will finish with an outdoor star-gazing tour.
  • Opening Reception for artist Toma Villa, 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Fort Vancouver Visitor Center: Yakama artist Toma Villa brings his works to the Visitor Center for a temporary exhibit, as well as Villa’s new, permanent sculpture in the main lobby—”Spirit Pole”—which has been a year in the making. Carved from a single cedar log, the work also includes glass sculptural components. It’s a touchable artwork, so visitors of all ages can experience it both visually and through texture.