European and Native American cultures once converged at this Columbia River site, where the Hudson’s Bay Company stood as the first European trading post in the Pacific Northwest. Lewis and Clark camped here, and Fort Vancouver was built here 20 years later. Today, the site features a 40-foot wide earth-covered pedestrian bridge that arcs over State Route 14, reconnecting historic Fort Vancouver with the Columbia River, which helped extend the fort’s influence from Mexico to Alaska and across the Pacific Ocean. The Land Bridge was designed by architect Johnpaul Jones with consultation from Maya Lin.
Learn about the site’s indigenous plants as you walk along the Land Bridge, which leads you up to a grand view of the river and the surrounding mountains. From the south, walk under the Land Bridge’s Welcome Gate, designed by Native American artist Lillian Pitt. Two cedar canoe panels, each adorned with a cast-glass sculpture of a Chinook woman’s face, evoke the site’s role as a historic tribal crossroads as well as a point of contact between European and Native people
The Welcome Gate by artist Lillian Pitt greets visitors, representing the way Chinook people would welcome someone arriving by canoe. Two cedar logs are topped with crossed canoe paddles, set with the cast-glass face of a Chinook woman.
Three overlooks on the bridge mark the River, Prairie and Village. Spirit Baskets by Lillian Pitt, feature figures inspired by Columbia River petroglyphs. The words for River, Land, and People appear in nine native languages on stainless steel panels.
Until the 17 th century, this landscape was a patchwork of prairie, forest and wetlands. Native plant species from these distinct habitats are now showcased along the Land Bridge walkway, identified by a series of interpretive panels.
The Land Bridge was dedicated on August 23, 2008. The event featured remarks by Maya Lin and the site architect, Johnpaul Jones, of Seattle.
Construction of the $12.25 million Vancouver Land Bridge project is a partnership of Confluence Project members, the National Park Service, the City of Vancouver, and the Washington State Department of Commerce, and made possible through federal, state, and private funding.