The National Conservation Fund has taken over more than 900 acres from Weyerhaeuser for a trail from Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark expedition wintered, to Sunset Beach...

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ASTORIA, Ore. — The National Conservation Fund has taken over more than 900 acres from Weyerhaeuser for a trail from Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark expedition wintered, to Sunset Beach.

The transfer will allow major work to begin on the six-mile Fort-to-Sea Trail.

The rolling, forested land is the largest property acquisition yet for the new Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks and the largest along the route of the Lewis and Clark Trail.

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“This is a huge milestone,” said park superintendent Chip Jenkins.

With federal funding for the park’s expansion in doubt, the Conservation Fund bought the land from Weyerhaeuser to enable the trail project to proceed. The organization will sell the land to the park when funding has been secured.

“We really appreciate Weyerhaeuser for their enormous patience,” Jenkins said.

The Conservation Fund, founded in 1985, has acquired more than 4 million acres across the country for the National Park Service and other entities.

In land relating to Lewis and Clark, it has secured 8,600 acres in four states, including Jean Baptiste Charbonneau’s gravesite in Malheur County, Ore., and Travelers’ Rest in Montana.

Charbonneau, the son of Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau, was born while the expedition was wintering over at Fort Mandan in today’s North Dakota in 1804-05. The party spent the next winter at Fort Clatsop near Astoria.

Trail work will begin in March, Jenkins said.

The trail will wind through second- and third-growth forest to an overlook of the Pacific Ocean and wind down through the woods, cross the Skipanon River and reach Highway 101, where a pedestrian tunnel is planned under the highway.