A Special Message From the Superintendent

Working Together to Enhance the Visitor Experience

If therefore there is anything under those circumstances, in this enterprise, which would induce you to participate with me in it’s fatiegues, it’s dangers and it’s honors, believe me there is no man on earth with whom I should feel equal pleasure in sharing them as with yourself.”

– Meriwether Lewis to William Clark
 June 19, 1803

When Captain Lewis invited William Clark to co-command the Expedition, he knew what he was doing. Lewis and Clark made such great leaders of the Expedition because their strengths complemented each other. They were united in a mission and supported each other in the task of achieving that mission.  Together, they made history!

Similarly, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and the Lewis and Clark National Park Association make great partners that utilize the strengths of each organization to achieve our joint mission to provide the best park experience for our visitors.  I do not know if the park staff is Lewis and the Association is Clark, or vice versa. I do know that through these great facilities, programs, and bookstore items, visitors are getting a deeper understanding of their connection to the fascinating stories of Lewis and Clark and the tribes that call this area home. None of this would be possible without the strong partnership and support from organizations and folks who contribute to the Lewis and Clark National Park Association.

The Association has supported the National Park Service at Fort Clatsop since 1963.  In those years, many important projects would not have been completed without this support. 

Our latest joint effort will fundamentally change the way visitors begin their adventure exploring the park and the Lewis and Clark story.  The project will multiply efforts underway to provide a world class experience within the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center.  The last upgrade to the park visitor center was planned in 1987 when the park consisted of 124.9 acres. At that time, park visitation was 175,000. Since that time, park visitation has grown by 40% and appears to be increasing. 

Through the generous support of the Lewis and Clark National Park Association, we will develop new visitor orientation exhibits that will be the first point of visitor interaction at the site. These orientation exhibits will incorporate tribal stories into the context of the Lewis and Clark story.  The intent of the exhibit is to place modern visitors into the circumstance of Lewis and Clark as visitors to the lands of the Chinookan peoples.  It will feature a 28’ Chinook cedar canoe placed in front of an interpretive mural that represents the culture of the peoples that Lewis and Clark found at the mouth of the Columbia River. This is a shift in the context of the story away from just looking through the perspective of Lewis and Clark to a more inclusive story of the peoples who called this area home long before and after the Captains visited.

The larger project also provides visitor wayfinding at five of the park units and helps unify park messaging between these disparate areas through design, fabrication, and installation of interpretive kiosks. It will develop seven outdoor interpretive panels under a shelter that will help the park begin visitor understanding before they enter the door.  This space also will provide needed undercover space for our roughly 10,000 students who visit per year. 

This project is part of a much larger effort by the National Park Service to upgrade the function and infrastructure of the Center.

This would not happen without the support of the Lewis and Clark National Park Association. There is no group on Earth with whom I should feel equal pleasure working with than them. Together, we are making history.

Information about Donor Recognition:

Donor Recognition

Thank You Letters

All donations with a value of $100 or more that are accepted on behalf of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park will be acknowledged in writing by the respective recipient. For the NPS, the Superintendent acknowledges these gifts.  The thank you letter acknowledges the gift, donor, date of acceptance, and any restrictions. When goods are given in-kind, a description – but not a dollar estimate – of the item is included in the acknowledgement letter. (The estimated value must be determined by donor if he/she chooses to include it as a tax deduction.)

Donations made to the Park’s philanthropic partners under the auspices of an NPS-approved fundraising campaign shall be acknowledged by the recipient partner.  The Superintendent may also elect to send a “thank you” letter to the donor through which the donation came with the goal of ensuring that contributors feel appreciated for their efforts.

Additional types of Recognition

In addition to thank you letters and depending on the value of the donation, the Park and/or our philanthropic partners may also acknowledge a donor through the following: a personal call or visit, press event, printed/digital/media platforms (brochures, displays and audiovisual productions), public website, photo opportunities, mementos, certificates, invitations to special events with appropriate recognition at the event, and finally, private events. Some will be “pending donor approval” (i.e., public press events, etc.).

Acknowledgement on a Donor Recognition Display

The Park believes it is fitting and appropriate that there be a single location in the Park where donors can be publicly recognized in a systematic and ongoing manner.  This acknowledgement will serve as both 1) a tangible and visible record of philanthropic support for the Park, and 2) an expression of Lewis and Clark NHP’s and its partners’ appreciation for such support.

Since the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center (VC) is the Park’s most popular destination, and it is accessible, it is fitting that the VC serve as the location where donors are appropriately recognized.  A donor recognition display will be placed in the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center near the visitor contact desk.  It will be maintained and managed by the Park. The Park, through a philanthropic agreement and work plan, may allow partner organizations to assist with maintenance of the on-site donor recognition display.

The donor recognition display will consist of a well-designed, plaque type donor board or digital display that recognizes the following:

  • Corps (of Discovery) Contributors recognizes individual, corporate and foundation donors at the $100 and above levels (see giving levels).
  • Capital contributions by project

The donor recognition display will also include recognition of volunteers who have:

  • Donated 1,000 or more hours to the Park and are still actively serving;
  • Donated 5,000 or more hours; these volunteers will be recognized for five years following their service.

Donor recognition may include the donor’s name and the category designation within which the donation falls. Donor and volunteers who do not request anonymity will be acknowledged appropriately. Donor request for anonymity will be respected. The donor display may not include logos, advertising, marketing slogans, taglines or other forms of commercialism.

In any given year, monetary contributions will be recognized as follows:

Corps Contributors

Amount of Donation

Giving Level

Duration of Recognition

$100 – $499

Privates’ Mess

1 year

$500 – $999

Sergeants’ Mess

2 years

$1000 – $2499

Captains’ Mess

5 years

$2500+

President’s Circle

10 years

Capital Contributions by Project (Special Projects)

For funding specific projects/assets (i.e., project, vehicle, building, trail, etc.)

Amount of Donation

Duration of Recognition

$1,000 – $9,999

5 years

$10,000 – $24,999

Lifetime of the project/asset

$25,000 – $99,999

Lifetime of the project/asset

$100,000 +

Lifetime of the project/asset

Memorials / Living Memorials

Cash donation or planned gifts may be given “in memory of” or “in honor of” an individual and will be recognized as such for the durations otherwise indicated in this plan.


Jon Burpee is Lewis and Clark National Historical Park Superintendent