Hello and welcome to my first blog! I hope you have had a great 4th of July weekend! My name is Joe Morse I am the new Centennial Volunteer Ambassador for the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington.

My site is a bit unique in the National Park System, in that it has elements which provide a telling snapshot of American history.  On our 297-acre site is a fur trading fort recently rebuilt from archaeological records dating back to 1824, remnants of the worlds once largest spruce mill, a community garden, a small apple orchard, an airplane hangar filled with World War I era airplanes, a Joint-Inter-agency Forest Service and Park service visitor center, and large grassy expanses that serve as an urban oasis from Vancouver and the general Portland, Oregon metro area.  While standing with our fort walls, one can see a stark contrast between old and new evidenced by views of high-rise office buildings, commercial airplanes taking off from the PDX airport, 2-mile long oil and cargo trains, and the steel bridge on the I-5 corridor.

Aside from our having the largest display of fireworks west of the Mississippi, this blend of old and new living models of American history has made our National Park an excellent spot for viewing fireworks on the 4th of July. Those who volunteered at our park on the 4th had the privilege of being able to watch the fireworks at close range from within the fort walls.  I was there and I can attest that the display was amazing!  Here’s some proof!