Local sites host eclipse-viewing events

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



Fort Vancouver will be back in the skywatching business this month.

In addition to several local libraries that have scheduled free public events, the historic area where huge crowds gather to watch fireworks each July 4 is offering vantage points for the Aug. 21 eclipse.

With plenty of parking, a clear view of the southern sky, and lots of open spaces for sitting down while looking up, there’s actually room for two different eclipse-watching events.

• Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will do a limited opening on Aug. 21 to accommodate eclipse watchers. The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd., will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so people will have access to drinking water and restrooms; eclipse-viewing glasses also will be on sale at the Friends of Fort Vancouver bookstore in the Visitor Center.

The national park is usually closed on Mondays, but Bob Cromwell, chief of interpretation, said, “We wanted to provide people with an opportunity to stay close to home, at a site with a lot of green space.”

Rangers will distribute information cards that will double as pinhole eclipse viewers.

At 11:30 a.m., following the eclipse, Confluence historian Mary Rose will present a lecture on the history of Northwest eclipses in the Visitor Center. Northwest artist Lillian Pitt will launch a line of “Eclipse Over Warm Springs” jewelry and masks at the bookstore. Other park facilities will be closed.

• The Fort Vancouver National Trust will hold an eclipse event from 8 a.m. to noon. Participants will assemble in front of the Grant House, 1101 Officers Row, Vancouver.

Register at Tours@fortvan.org to ensure a spot. Free eclipse glasses will be provided to the first 100 people who register.

The eclipse viewing is part of a weeklong series of heritage and cultural events scheduled by the Fort Vancouver National Trust (go to fortvan.org/freetours).

• The Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., Vancouver, will hold a viewing event from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It will include an opportunity to watch the eclipse from the library’s fifth-floor exterior terrace. Free eclipse glasses will be available while supplies last.

• The Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth St., Camas, will hold a solar eclipse party from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Third Street will be blocked off, and people can bring lawn chairs so they can settle back and watch the eclipse. Free eclipse glasses will be distributed on the morning of the eclipse while supplies last.

• La Center Community Library, 1411 N.E. Lockwood Creek Road, La Center, will host an eclipse event at 9:30 a.m. Free eclipse glasses will be provided for the first 150 people.

• Woodland Community Library will hold an eclipse watch at 9:30 a.m. at Hoffman Plaza at Horseshoe Lake, 510 Goerig St., Woodland. Free eclipse glasses will be provided while supplies last.

• Mill Creek Pub, 1710 S.W. Ninth Ave., Battle Ground, will host an eclipse party from 9 a.m. to noon. Eclipse glasses will be provided to the first 50 people.