Group plans protest at Pearson Air Museum

Gathering planned for 3 p.m. at the museum

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

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James Beckelhiemer, a supporter of Fort Vancouver National Trust and the Pearson Air Museum, has put together a Facebook page and is organizing a protest in front of the museum at 3 p.m. today.

A dispute between the National Park Service and the trust over management and policy led the trust to announce Wednesday that the museum is closed until further notice.

NPS owns the land and hangar but not the displays or planes, so the trust has removed those items from the hangar and plans to turn the empty museum over to the Park Service.

Beckelhiemer, who's volunteered for the museum in the past, got together with a few friends and built a website to support the trust's management of the museum at https://www.facebook.com/SavePearsonAirMuseum.

The group plans to protest today and also through the weekend, he said.

"I don't know it it will be three of us or if it will be 100," Beckelhiemer said. "I just think the museum belongs to the community, not the National Park Service."

The trust has also added information about the closure to its website at http://pearsonairmuseum.org/.