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Lewis and Clark fans trek to Lewiston for gathering

Almost 200 Lewis and Clark devotees will visit Lewiston this coming week for the annual meeting of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.

The foundation is dedicated to preserving the story of the 1804-1806 expedition, which passed through the Snake River-Clearwater River region twice on its way to and from the Pacific Ocean.

The annual meeting takes place Sunday through Wednesday at the Clearwater Casino Resort. While some lectures will be given, most of the event will be taken up by field trips to various Lewis and Clark sites between Dayton and Kamiah.

“That’s what this area is known for,” said John Fisher of Juliaetta, an interpretive consultant who specializes in the medicine and medical equipment used during the expedition. “We have more Lewis and Clark sites, in better condition, than you can find anywhere else along the trail. Within a few hundred yards, we can identify where they camped and where they walked.”

Chuck Raddon of Orofino was the driving force who brought the annual meeting to Lewiston, Fisher said. He proposed the idea about two years ago and has been working on it since.

The heritage foundation conducts its annual meeting at different locations every year, typically at the beginning of August to coincide with William Clark’s Aug. 1 birthday and Meriwether Lewis’ Aug. 18 birthday. It’s been 20 years since the meeting last took place in Lewiston.

Fisher said many of meeting participants are scholars in their own right. Some have discovered original documents related to Lewis and Clark; others are re-enactors or, like him, they give presentations at schools or lecture on different aspects of the expedition.

The meeting culminates with a visit to the Nez Perce Historical Park at Spalding. Fisher said the park staff will set up special exhibits regarding Nez Perce horse equipment and Nez Perce canoes and fishing equipment. Re-enactors will also give presentations regarding surveying, navigation and astronomy, and cooking on the expedition, plus a display of guns, furs and other accoutrements.

On all the field trips, he said, “we’ll have someone there to give the Nez Perce perspective, as well as a Lewis and Clark interpreter.”

Registration for the annual meeting costs $375. Several pre- and post-meeting trips have been scheduled, including a jet boat tour to a Nez Perce site on the Salmon River, where Sgt. John Ordway may have purchased salmon during the return trip in 1806.

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