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project date: 2006 | by peter reedijk

The bicentennial of Lewis & Clark's epic transcontinental journey to the Pacific Ocean, during which they notably passed through the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, has inspired thousands of art and interpretive projects over the years.

Embarking on May 14, 1804, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led thirty-one men and one dog over 8,000 miles of uncharted territory. They completed their expedition two years and four months later, returning home with a deeper knowledge of the uncharted West. President Jefferson, who commissioned the expedition, tasked the explorers to take careful note of the plants and animals they encountered along the way. By the end of their journey, they had recorded 178 plants and 122 animals never before described.

Sea Reach worked with county commissioners to develop an interpretive project for the City of St. Helens to honor these historic explorers. To reenact the journey, we designed a meandering "discovery" path of tiles that ran across the city's Plaza. The path is 200-feet-long and features over 180 tiles. Some tiles are etched with journal entries chronicling the journey down the Columbia River - the last 400-miles travelled before reaching the Pacific. Other tiles feature fanciful items for discovery - a deer antler, a peace medal. A few tiles, featuring a magnifying glass icon, indicate the discovery of a new plant or animal species, a significant part of the Lewis and Clark expedition.



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