Maya Lin at Chief Timoth Park. Photo: Betsy Henning

Chief Timothy Park

Chief Timothy Park, on an island at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in Clarkston, Washington, is the only Confluence Project site that still resembles what Lewis and Clark saw 200 years ago. Here, Ms. Lin is fully restoring a section of the island to native grasses and wildflowers and will install a large, stone-rimmed earthwork: a "listening circle" sculpted out of a natural amphitheater located at the top of the island. The shape is inspired by a Nez Perce blessing ceremony performed here in spring 2005, at which the women were seated facing north, the men facing south, and the elders facing east, with no one allowed to pass behind them. The form of the "listening circle" also arises from Ms. Lin's initial response to this site, where she envisioned creating a modern-day hieroglyph, representing waves moving on the water. A pathway from the parking area will lead to the top of a hill, and around and down into the amphitheater before connecting with other trails on the island. Near the top of the island, at a slight outcropping facing the basalt cliffs on the opposite shore, Ms. Lin will set this passage from Clark's journal:

Worthy of remark that not one tick of timber on the river near the forks and but a fiew trees for a great distance up the River.
-William Clark, Oct 10, 1805, 2 miles upstream.

Visitors to this Nez Perce homeland will experience Ms. Lin's planned "listening circle," and focus their attention on the breeze through the trees, the gentle sound of the water, and the muted browns, greens and yellows of the enduring landscape that surrounds them. The Chief Timothy Park site is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Getting There: Chief Timothy Park is just off Highway 12, 9 miles west of Clarkston, WA. After passing through the park entrance, drive to the T and turn left. The trail to the Confluence Listening Circle begins at the north end of the farthest parking lot. 

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