September has been a busy month at Fort Vancouver!  In fact, two of of our events, Campfires & Candlelight, and a cleanup with SOLVE at our waterfront, have received press coverage.

Our first event, Campfires & Candlelight, started on a warm Saturday evening.  We had a hustle of activity occurring outside the fort and inside fort stockade.  Inside the stockade, our volunteers were reenacting the night of September 26, 1844, a night when a raging fire was sweeping east towards the fort.  Our volunteers, in historical garb, and some with convincingly accurate accents, were in a scurry making preparations to divert the fire from the stockade as to prevent losses to the Hudson Bay Company.   Around the fur warehouse, where I was stationed as postmaster Angus McDonald, we were busy moving barrels of water towards imaginary trenches that would have been surrounding the fort to halt the fire’s advance.  And of course, interacting with the approximately 3,500 park visitors explaining to them how beaver furs were made into top hats.  The little one were especially impressed with the black bear skins!

Outside the stockade was a series of camps which we referred to as the “Timeline of History”.  This series of camps progressed from more recent time periods which were closer to the street, and the less recent history closer to the fort.  In the following order, WWII, WWI, infantry and cavalry units of the civil war period, the Oregon Trail (1849), and the Company Village (1846), would be passed by approximately 8,500 visitors to make them feel like they were literally walking back in time to the night of the fire in 1844 at the fort.  When I finally had a chance to take a break from my fur warehouse duties, I got to watch our costumed volunteers singing Scottish hymns around a glowing campfire under the night sky.  It was quite memorable event!

For our second event,  I had the pleasure of partnering Fort Vancouver with an organization called SOLVE to clean our waterfront!  For those of you not familiar with SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) they are a non-profit group that help individuals who want to lead litter cleanup and invasive species removal projects, by advertising their event and provide them with supplies and small grant money.

In this project we not only improved the aesthetics of our local community beach but we increased visitor safety through removal of illegal campsites and bio-hazardous needles.  Removal of this liter also bettered our environment, by ensuring that it wouldn’t wash up in the Columbia River, harm our marine life, and pollute our drinking water.

So I was astounded when on a rainy Saturday morning, 19 volunteers showed up at our event to help out!  Not only did most of our volunteers show up but we also had press coverage! Two reporters from the Colombian came out to take our pictures and interview us and KPTV FOX12 also covered our story remotely.  By the end of our 3 hour event, we managed to removed approximately 1600 pounds of trash including a Buddha statue, a tire, a motorcycle jacket, and 8 hypodermic needles. While this litter will probably regenerate fairly quickly, we still had a great feeling of accomplishment, seeing our city beach clean.  I felt like we really owned the beach!

 

Because this event was such a success, we are planning another cleanup with SOLVE for Saturday, October 15th, at 10am!  If you want to join us, here is the registration link:

http://www.solveoregon.org/get-involved/events/fort-vancouver-riverside-beach-cleanup

Here’s hoping that October is just as amazing!