On Monday, Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will cross the continental United States for the first time in 38 years. National parks across the country are planning special eclipse-viewing events, including Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. You can come to the fort to view the eclipse safely—and for free!
Though the park is usually closed on Mondays, the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors are welcome to view the eclipse from the vantage point of the park’s Parade Ground or Great Meadow. Throughout the event, national park rangers will be roving the park grounds to answer questions. The eclipse will begin at 9:06 a.m. and will end at 11:38 a.m. The Couve isn’t in the path of totality, but it is very close! Visitors to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on the day of the eclipse will see the moon cover 99% of our view of the sun. The period of 99% totality will occur at 10:19 a.m.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Friends of Fort Vancouver bookstore at the Visitor Center will also be open. Eclipse viewing glasses, which allow their wearers to look at the eclipse safely, will be for sale. At the bookstore, artist Lillian Pitt will launch her exclusive new line of “Eclipse Over Warm Springs” jewelry and masks. At 11:30 a.m., as the eclipse ends, Confluence Project Historian Mary Rose will present “Plunge into Darkness: Historical Eclipses that Crossed the Pacific Northwest,” a special lecture on the history of eclipses in our region. This talk will also take place at the Visitor Center.
The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center is located at 1501 E Evergreen Blvd. in Vancouver and free parking is available in the adjacent lot—although additional parking may be provided at other locations for this event. Other park facilities (including the reconstructed fort and Pearson Air Museum) will remain closed.
Note to eclipse viewers: It’s never safe to look at the sun except for the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standards for such products. Learn more about viewing the eclipse safely at https://www.nps.gov/articles/eclipsesafety.htm.