Visitors to the park can see a reconstruction of the 1825 fur trading post Fort Vancouver, which was founded on the north bank of the Columbia River as the Northwest headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1849, when Americans began settling the area via the Oregon Trail, the U.S. established Vancouver Barracks near the fort—the first U.S. Army post in the Northwest. Pearson Field, at the Barracks, later became a popular practicing ground for early aviators.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Outside the walls of Fort Vancouver, working-class, non-British employees lived in a settlement known as the Village. Hailing from all over the New and Old Worlds its citizens included French Canadian, Scottish, Irish, Hawaiian, Iroquois, and people from over 30 different regional Native American groups. Ongoing archaeological research at the Village continues to uncover information about the daily lives of its diverse population.
Park website: www.nps.gov/fova/
In addition to the hottest temperature recorded on earth and the lowest elevation point in North America, Death Valley boasts a wide range of ecosystems and natural wonders. For hundreds of years, the Timbisha Shoshone Indians hunted and gathered here, and many places in the valley are considered sacred. Cultural points of interest include petroglyphs, a ghost town, a 1920s mansion, and the Harmony Borax Works, famous for using “20-mule teams” to move the mineral borax during the 1880s.
Archaeological Fun Fact: During the 1950s, a University of Southern California project documented more than 1,400 archaeological sites at Death Valley, including campsites, caves, quarries, and rock art.
Park website: www.nps.gov/deva/
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