The 2005-06 bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is the motivating factor behind the Confluence Project. Two of the six sites selected for the project are in Clark County — Frenchman’s Bar Park and Fort Vancouver. Through place and art, the project’s goal is to integrate environmental concerns with an awareness of and sensitivity to the tremendous cultural changes the expedition effected on Native Americans and their homelands.
The Confluence Project is the result of collaboration among the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Lewis and Clark Commemorative Committee of Vancouver/Clark County, and the Friends of Lewis and Clark of Pacific County. The group identified artist Maya Lin, whose work combines history, art, environmental issues, and cultural awareness, as the artist who could best interpret the complex story of the Pacific Northwest.
Six interpretive artworks by Lin will be located near key confluences of the Columbia River Basin, with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2007. The selected sites mark important confluences of rivers and ecosystems as well as Native American and Euro-American cultures.
Maya Lin’s artwork will be incorporated into a land bridge that will reconnect Fort Vancouver to the Columbia River over the highways and railways that now divide it. The idea is to reestablish the land back to the way it was, pulling the prairie up and over and back to the river. Groundbreaking for the land bridge is expected in 2005 with completion scheduled for 2006.
“Frenchman's Bar Park offers us the possibility of increasing the size of the adjacent wetlands habitat, including a heron rookery and bald eagle nesting grounds,” says Lin. “A critical aspect of wildlife preservation efforts is the careful restoration of their habitats. If one of our selected sites along the river could create new wetlands and protect existing preserves, we will have fulfilled one of our goals.”
For more about the Confluence Project, visit the Web site at www.confluenceproject.org.