Rick McClure – Preserving History in the Gifford Pinchot

In the Cascade Range, historic buildings don’t last if they aren’t cared for. More than 80 percent of Skamania County is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and fortunately, the man in charge of preservation is paying attention. And he’s coming to the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center to talk about it.

Rick McClure, archaeologist with the US Forest Service, is the featured speaker this month at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center’s “Sundays on the Gorge” series. “Historic buildings such as an old ranger station, a fire lookout, or a trail shelter, as well as other historic sites, are reminders of the importance of the history of the US Forest Service in Skamania County,” he said. “Despite their importance to local and national history, these resources are at risk. And their greatest enemy is neglect.”

McClure is the Heritage and Tribal Programs manager for the Gifford Pinchot. His Heritage Program responsibilities include the inventory, evaluation, and protection of archaeological, historical, and traditional cultural places within national forest system lands in Skamania County.

Trained as a professional archaeologist, McClure has been employed by the Forest Service for 32 years, and is currently based at the Mount Adams Ranger Station in Trout Lake. Along with his wife, Cheryl Mack, who also is an archaeologist, McClure is co-author of For the Greatest Good: Early History of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, published by the Northwest Interpretive Association in 1999.

McClure’s presentation, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in the DeGroote Theater, will highlight the challenges for historic preservation within the Gifford Pinchot, with an emphasis on local historic sites. Attendance at his presentation is free with paid admission to the museum.