WALLA WALLA — With the changing seasons, Whitman Mission National Historic Site is resuming its autumn hours.

While the park grounds remain open seven days a week from dawn to dusk, the visitor center will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Initially founded in 1936 by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa, Whitman Mission served as a Christian outreach effort in the Columbia Plateau. According to the National Park Service, it served as a rest stop along the Oregon Trail and was the site of a 1847 massacre as white settlers clashed with American Indian tribes in the region. The couple died Nov. 29, 1847.

Today, people can learn about the Whitmans and their role on the Oregon Trail. The site includes a visitor’s center and a flat, paved trail loop through the original mission site, as well as paved paths to the Whitmans’ gravesite and a monument to the Whitmans — the latter path is steep.

The public is invited to participate in a cleanup effort to commemorate National Public Lands Day. Volunteers will remove invasive plants and restore native habitat on the hillside.

The event is Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon. Those planning to attend should wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes, and bring water. Also, sunscreen, bug spray and snacks are also recommended.

Also, as part of the Year of Indigenous Languages, special tours and programs will be offered each Saturday and Sunday in October and November. Ranger-led tours will begin at 11 a.m. The programs — which includes setting up a teepee, a focus on the Cayuse language, information about native plants and their uses and history of the Walla Walla Valley — start at 2 p.m.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site is located 8 miles west of Walla Walla at 328 Whitman Mission Road. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/whmi. For questions or specific program agendas for the dates in October/November, call 509-522-6360.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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