Heritage & Eco-Tourism
To help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (2003-2006) Visit TRI-CITIES established the Tri-Cities Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Council, a consortium of state and federal agencies, tribal representatives, jurisdictional and community leaders, legislators and our corporate sponsor, Battelle.
Together, the group was able to leverage funds and coordinate local support for several bicentennial projects including The Confluence Project, the Sacagawea Heritage Trail and the improvements and expansion to the Sacajawea State Park Interpretive Center. These legacy projects will provide historical interpretation, educational opportunities and enjoyable recreation for many years to come.
Sacajawea State Park Interpretive Center
Open Seasonally, Wednesday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.
For more information, call 509.545.2361
- The Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery (Lewis & Clark Expedition) passed through the Richland, Kennewick and Pasco area, first on October 16-18, 1805 and again on their return trip, April 27-29, 1806.
- It was here in the Tri-Cities, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers or the "big forks" that the Expedition knew — for the first time since entering uncharted territory — exactly where they were! Patrick Gass recorded in a journal they were at the "great Columbia river which comes in from the northwest."
- The expedition spent two-and-a-half days in our area of Washington where they dressed skins, mended clothing and put their arms in order — and they paused to take celestial observations, record vocabularies and other ethnographic information about the Sahaptian-speaking peoples, make detailed descriptions of native plant and animal life, and document the river and its tributaries. This speaks to the importance of "the forks" as a place of great scientific and cultural significance as well as a must-see area attraction.
- The interaction of the Expedition at "the forks" or Qosispah, was the first presentation of Jeffersonian medals on the lower Snake River.
- The Yakima River near Richland represents the furthest point up-river on the mighty Columbia that was recorded by the Corps of Discovery.
- It was here that the Expedition first encountered and recorded the tradition of head shaping, a distinct custom found in the Pacific Northwest.
- The Hanford Reach in Richland is the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River in the United States. This area was designated a National Monument in June 2000, and represents the only place on the route where the Columbia River remains as when explored by Lewis & Clark!
"We formed a camp at the point"
"The wife of Shabono our interpreter we find reconsiles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions a woman with a party of men is a token of peace"
For additional information on the Lewis & Clark expedition, please contact the Visit TRI-CITIES or call 800.254.5824 or 509.735.8486.
- October 16 - 18, 1805 The Corps of Discovery encountered a large Sahaptian village on the point of land at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers which the native peoples called Qosispah. This village was an important gathering place for most of the Sahaptian-speaking people in the area. Today, we believe the Expedition met Palouse, Walla Walla, Wanapum, Yakama and Umatilla at Qosispah.
- The Interpreter was Toussaint Charbonneau and his wife was 17-year old Sacagawea. Today, Sacajawea State Park & Interpretive Center marks "the forks" or confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers where the Lewis & Clark set up camp in 1805; and Charbonneau Park just outside Pasco (on the Snake River northeast of Ice Harbor Dam) also reflects the areas ties to the Expedition.