Interpretive and Visitor Centers • Lewis & Clark • North Head Lighthouse • Mt. St. Helens • Sacajawea • Dry Falls
On May 14, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left Camp Dubois (Illinois) and headed west into half a continent of land largely unmapped and unknown to people of the United States and Europe. As the Corps of Discovery set out, no one realized the journey ahead would cover more than 7,500 miles and last almost two and half years.
On Oct. 16, 1805, the Expedition arrived at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, the site of today's Sacajawea State Park. They camped here for two nights, hunting, repairing equipment and meeting some 200 Sahaptin-speaking Indians in the area.
The Sacajawea State Park and Interpretive Center features the Lewis and Clark Room which tells the remarkable story of these early explorers. The exhibits highlight their activities at this site and the role of their interpreter, Sacagawea.
"Sah-kah-gar we a"
Recent scholarly research and extensive study of the original journals indicate that both the preferred spelling and pronunciation of the Shoshoni woman's name are with a "g." Because the park has been known as Sacajawea for many decades, the "j" spelling is retained. Elsewhere in brochures, exhibits and programs, the "g" is used – Sacagawea.
This young woman's role was not that of the guide of legend, but that of a hardworking member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Sacagawea was a food-gatherer, interpreter, and along the Snake and Columbia rivers, a symbol of "peace and friendship" between the Expedition and the Native Americans.
The Jay Perry Room of Indian Artifacts
This room contains outstanding stone and bone tools from the Columbia Basin Plateau. The tools were made by Sahaptin- and Cayuse-speaking Indians living along the Columbia, Snake, Palouse and Walla Walla rivers. They date in age from 200 to 12,000 years.
Interpretive displays show how the tools and implements were made and used. They also explain how the artifacts reflect the culture and the individual personalities of their creators.
Jay Perry of Kennewick, Wash., was largely responsible for the excellent collection of artifacts at the Interpretive Center. For five decades, Jay worked tirelessly to build and preserve this collection of local prehistory. He donated thousands of his own artifacts and arranged for the donation of many other collections.
Hours of Operation
The center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The center closes for the season Nov. 1.
Admission into the center is free, but a $1 donation is suggested.
At Sacajawea State Park, five miles southeast of Pasco, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers.
Driving directions: From Pasco: Drive east on Hwy. 12 toward Walla Walla. Take a right on Tank Farm Rd. Continue across railroad tracks. The park is at the end of the road.
Sacajawea State Park
Sacajawea State Park is a 284-acre marine, day-use park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. It features 9,100 feet of freshwater shoreline. The area is spread out with a big sky and excellent views of the two rivers as they flow together.
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