Friday, July 31, 2009

New WebLog

After doing some traveling along the Lewis and Clark Trail, I decided to try something similar, but much closer to home. I just published the first entry for the new blog, which is called Historical Travel. It wll be pretty similar to what I started to do here, but with a focus on historical sites in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Please stop by and take a look!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fort Union Trading Post

In western North Dakota, right before you cross into Montana, the Yellowstone River joins the Missouri River from the south-west. On the journey westward Lewis and Clark passed the Yellowstone by, following Thomas Jefferson's order to follow the Missouri to its source. On the return journey Clark led a small exploration down the Yellowstone River, and the entire Corps of Discovery reunited at the confluence with the Missouri.

At that location there are actually a few places to drop in and visit.

At the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center there's an overlook where you can see the Yellowstone River come in straight towards you, joining the Missouri River flowing from right to left.

Fort Buford State Historic Site is located only half a mile eastward from that spot. It was a very large army post, established to protect settlers, and became a major supply depot for military field operations. It is perhaps most well known for being the place where Sitting Bull surrendered to the US Army. Managed by the state of North Dakota, the site has not received the attention that Fort Union Trading Post has, and has not been restored to nearly the same extent.

Located another two or three miles eastward, Fort Union Trading Post is a National Historic Site managed by the National Park Service. The fort was not a military site; it was a privately built and operated center for trading with the indigenous people of the region for furs.

It also was enormous.

Over the front gate.

A window next to the gate was used when the gates were shut.

A fur press was situated right outside of the front gate. Not far below was a dock from which goods were loaded onto boats traveling up and down the Missouri River. The Missouri has shifted away from the fort since that time. Here is a photo taken with my back to the gate, the channel cut by the Missouri is the the black strip that appears from side to side.

Mandan and Hidatsa Earthlodge Villages

In the winter of 1804-1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition stayed in the Mandan Villages, some of which were occupied by members of the Mandan tribe, and a couple by Hidatsas. The Mandan Villages were on the Missouri River, somewhat upstream from today's Washburn, North Dakota. Before the arrival of Euro-American explorers, the Mandans had lived a little farther downstream, in the vicinity of Bismarck, ND, but smallpox epidemics decimated their numbers, and the survivors moved upstream.

In the Bismarck vicinity there are a few archaeological sites where you can see remains of abandoned Mandan Villages; I wrote a little about them in Pre-Columbian Mandan Villages in North Dakota. I stopped by one of those sites today, namely Double Ditch Indian Village . It's really not much to see; what it has to offer is the opportunity to stand there and imagine the presence of a lost civilization.

It's called "Double Ditch" due to the detectable ditches which surrounded the villages. The villages were built like fortresses; the ditches were moats, and along the inner walls vertical wooden posts were placed to form a palisade. The village dwellings were eartlodges, which I will explain more in a bit.

In the center of the village site there are a few mounds called midden by archaeologists, these were village dumps where household refuse was thrown - things like animal bones, broken pottery, and ash from hearths.

Next I drove north to the site of the old Hidatsa villages. This is a much more organized site that's run by the National Park Service, it's called Knife River Indian Villages. They offer a thirteen minute orientation video, exhibits and a replica of a classic Hidatsa earthlodge.

It was at one of those Hidatsa villages that Lewis and Clark hired Toussaint Charbonneau to come along with them, so that his Shoshone wife Sacagawea could act as an interpreter. The Hidatsas would send raiding parties as far west as the Continental Divide, and Sacagawea (along with her sister) had been captured on one such raid. The French-Canadian Charbonneau was living at one of the Hidatsa villages, and won Sacagawea and her sister on a bet.

Vertical wooden poles formed the inner walls. These were covered with branches and twigs, and they were covered with earth.

The elder would sit before a fireplace situated at the center of the lodge.

A bed with what appears to be a bison hide blanket.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

God is Great, Beer is Good, People are Crazy

If you're from North Dakota, then turning on the radio and hearing a song with this title wouldn't surprise you in the least, but for someone from the Northeast it's a bit of an experience.

I started the day in South Sioux City, IA. I wanted to see the Missouri River that Lewis and Clark saw, and was told that starting from Ponca State Park and continuing upstream there's a 59 mile stretch of river that was never channelized. The Missouri River from that point downstream would - I daresay - be completely unrecognizable to anyone who saw it during the frontier era. Its course has been straightened, and the river bottom has been cleared, all to make the river navigable.

That's a the view upstream from Ponca State Park, located on the Nebraska side of that states' border with South Dakota. Notice the meandering path of the river; downstream the character of the Missouri River is much different, due to channelization.

I was told that if I drove ten minutes upstream, I would find a scenic overlook right before the bridge to Vermillion, SD. Here are a couple of photos from that spot, again facing upstream.

This time notice the sandbars. Lewis and Clark had to deal with these obstacles, plus clumps of driftwood, logs racing downstream and sawyers, which were parts of trees (or whole trees) rooted in the river bottom.

Next I would like to see a few sites in the vicinity of Bismarck, ND. The best route took me a bit away from the Missouri, but then again I was driving a car, not paddling a keelboat or pirouge. So I went up I-29, made a left at Fargo, ND onto I-94, and now I'm writing this in Bismarck.

From New York through Ohio the speed limit on interstate highways was 65, in Indiana through Nebraska it was 70. Once you get to South Dakota we bump it up to 75.

The day's journey:

According to Google Maps I drove 530 miles today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Road Trip - Westbound - Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

On August 3, 1804, Lewis and Clark had their first council with native chiefs on a bluff overlooking the western bank of the Missouri River. For that reason the site was called "Council Bluffs". Present-day Council Bluffs uses that name, but it was established on the Iowa side of the river. William Clark later recommended the site as an excellent location for a fort, and when Congress decided to built a series of trading-posts in the Louisiana Territory that site was among the chosen locations. As it turned out, Fort Atkinson was the only one built and put into use.

After a few decades the fort fell into disuse. Fort Atkinson State Historical Park consists of a (huge) replica of the fort, and a visitors center where the staff is happy to answer questions. I watched the twenty-minute orientation video, and thought that it was pretty thorough. I really learned a lot about what motivated Congress to plan development of the fort system, the trials endured while constructing the fort, events that occurred during the years that it was in use, and how the fort later fell into disuse.

The replica is behind the visitors center, you can take a walk or drive down a very short paved path to see the fort.

The approach to the fort from the visitors center.

Along the inner walls are soldier's barracks and other rooms.


Solitary cells

The shared cell.

The hospital. In front are displayed implements used by doctors at the fort, heaven please help us.

The courtyard.

The powder magazine was situated at the center of the courtyard, as far from the walls as possible. This enhanced soldiers ability to defend it from attack, and protected residents of the fort by distancing their quarters from the magazine. It was the only structure with stone walls. This was required so that it would not be flammable, and so that in event of explosion the stone walls would direct the force of the explosion in an upward direction, away from the walls and its inhabitants.

Road Trip - Westbound - Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Visitors Center

Between Kansas City and Sioux City, IA, the course of the Missouri River runs north-south. Following the Missouri any distance by road means taking I-29, which is right next to the eastern bank of that stretch of the river. I've had to cross from one side to the other a few times already, and it has never been a problem; there always seems to be a bridge where you need one.

The Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Visitors Center is located in Nebraska City, NE. If you're coming from the Iowa side of the river it's literally one of the first things that you see once you get off of the bridge. There are a few Lewis and Clark visitors centers along the Lower Missouri River, so each one needs to have something unique to offer. The Missouri River Basin visitors center focuses on how the Expedition related to the flora and fauna of the region.

At the entrance to the building there's a replica of the keelboat that was used from St. Louis to Fort Mandan (in today's North Dakota) - there seem to be a small number of similar replicas.

The sail was used when there was a sufficient wind, otherwise oars (seen on the far side) were used. When river conditions did not allow paddling, soldiers stood on the walkways along the inner side and pushed the boat upriver with poles. As a last resort men would have to get out and walk along the shore, pulling on ropes attached to the side of the boat.

On the first floor a tent is set up in the way Lewis and Clark most likely did so. Inside the tent there is an exhibit on each side. On one side the intricate process of preserving new species of animals is illustrated, and on the other side the process of preserving plant species is demonstrated. These preserves were shipped back to Thomas Jefferson from Fort Mandan. Species discovered after the winter at Fort Mandan returned with the expedition in 1806. The thought of Lewis following these procedures in the most distant wilderness is rather mind-boggling, and maybe even a little inspiring.

On the upper floor there are a few more exhibits. Here's an introduction to outdoors skills required to be part of the Corps of Discovery. You're asked to spot deer tracks, guess whether the deer was walking or running, and find scratches left by the bear on a nearby tree (to mark his territory).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Road Trip - Westbound - Fort Osage National Historic Landmark

I wrote about the history in The Treaty of Fort Clark, so I'll just talk about the visit now.

After visiting the Village of Arrow Rock, I followed the lady's advice (referring to the GPS navigator) and took Route 24 westward to Fort Osage National Historic Landmark. Route 24 goes through a number of towns with populations ranging from 50 to 600, following the path of the Missouri River much more closely than I-70. The sites that I'm visiting are along the Missouri River, so that somewhat slower route turned out to be a more direct one.

The staff there were very knowledgeable and happy to help, and I learned a lot while visiting. For a couple of decades following the return of Lewis and Clark to St. Louis, trade with Indians west of the Mississippi River was managed by the U.S. Government, which established a number of trading posts, built forts to protect them and and manned them with soldiers. Trade with indigenous nations was often subsidized, i.e. it was done at a loss to the Government. This was done in order to bring native tribes into the American sphere of influence, as we were competing with the British and Spanish at the time.

There is a visitors center at the entrance, which offers a brief orientation video, and a few exhibits on regional geology, flora and fauna, tribal history and colonial expansion. After exiting the visitor center there's a brief walk to the replica of Fort Osage.

Here's the eastward view from the fort, i.e. looking at the Missouri River downstream

Today's entrance to the fort. When it was in use, the only entrance was from the river, which is on the opposite side of the fort.

Natives brought pelts to this room, were they where appraised, processed and prepared to be shipped.

Directly across the hallway was this room, where the Indians would trade credits (given in return for the furs) for manufactured goods from the east.

At approximately this spot, across the Missouri River from the fort, Lewis and Clark are believed to have camped.

Soldiers and other residents within were greatly outnumbered by the surrounding native tribes, therefore maintaining discipline was of the utmost importance. In the middle of the courtyard stood this whipping post.

Road Trip - Westbound - The Village of Arrow Rock, MO

Arrow Rock is a Missouri River town in the state of Missouri; if you start from St. Louis and head towards Kansas City it's maybe two-thirds of the way there. Its origins are from the days when sons of Daniel Boone started a salt production operation at the location of the nearby Boone's Lick State Historic Site; Arrow Rock was the port town from which salt was shipped down the Missouri. Artisans such as blacksmiths and gunsmiths moved in, as well as physicians, and the town became an important stop for fur traders headed upstream, as well as for travelers along the Santa Fe Trail.

Arrow Rock State Historic Site consists of the restored village of Arrow Rock, plus an excellent visitors center situated at the entrance. The visitors center features a brief orientation video, and very informative exhibits tell the story of early native tribes, the influence of the French and Spanish, the entrance of American settlers led by Daniel Boone and his family, the later development of the town, and its decline after the river's course shifted away from the town, combined with the development of rail transportation.

The Friends of Arrow Rock operate a tram that takes you through the old town for only five dollars. Here are a few pictures from the tour.

The Tavern. You can go in and walk around, and even sit down and order a meal. And be served one. And pay for it.

The River Landing Trail. Goods were brought over this trail to warehouses on the river shore. The Missouri River shifted a mile away from the town, and this ended Arrow Rocks' importance as a stop along the river.

The Calaboose. This is a stone jail, which replaced an earlier one made from logs. Legend has it that the only prisoner ever placed here was a certain drunk, who made such a racket after being locked in here one evening that the townspeople demanded that he be released immediately, which he was.

The Masonic Lodge. There is also a restored Black Masonic Lodge Hall. About a third of Arrow Rock's residents were African American.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Road Trip - Westbound - Camp River Dubois

Before I begin, I have to apologize to the reader. Traveling from NY State, my first stop was the replica of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's 1803-1804 winter quarters, across the Mississippi from St. Louis. When I arrived, I immediately searched for the camcorder that surely had been packed. I still haven't found it, although a friendly passerby did point out the pair of socks that fell from the suitcase while I was searching through it. I also brought along a digital camera, but relying on the camcorder I didn't think to charge the digital camera battery before setting out this morning.

Bottom line: No images for this blog entry.

Fortunately, the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site - Camp River Dubois in Hartford, IL, is a mainly indoor site (so images aren't needed too badly), with the important exception of the replica of the fort itself.

I walked in expecting to see "another museum", but soon realized that the exhibits there are modern and comprehensive. For those unfamiliar with expedition history there is an excellent video presentation that is given in a small auditorium near the entrance. The staff are knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.

For me the best part of the interpretive center is the full-size replica of the keelboat. I was told that it was built by Butch Bouvier of Iowa, who has built similar replicas for other sites. It's actually half of a keelboat, open along the center lengthwise, so that you can see how it looked on the deck and how the lower deck was packed with provisions for the voyage. Until I saw that replica, I had no appreciation for the tremendous exertion that must have been required to push that huge vessel upstream. Examples of provisions packed, wrapped and waiting to be loaded were set alongside the boat, together with sample lists of goods brought on the voyage. Simply keeping track of all those supplies and instruments must have required a tremendous management effort, along with supervising the unpacking and repacking of those goods in proper order.

The replica of the fort (outside of the museum) is quite realistic-looking, and staff dressed in garments worn during that era wait inside, ready to answer questions. On the return trip I hope to stop there again, in order to take a few photos.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Road Trip Starts Tomorrow

OK, it looks like everything is ready. I set out from Rockland County, NY tomorrow morning, take Interstate 80 to Akron OH, hang a left and get onto I-71, continue down to Columbus OH and get onto I-70 which takes me directly to St. Louis. That should be pretty simple.

The first two sites that I want to see are Lewis & Clark State Historic Site - Camp River Dubois and Arrow Rock State Historic Site.

Camp Dubois is where the Expedition spent the winter of 1803-1804. It's actually in Illinois, right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. One good reason for choosing that spot was that territory west of the Mississippi had not yet been transferred to the United States. Now there's a replica near the original site.

Arrow Rock is a restored port town on the Missouri River; it is also a National Historic Landmark. It looks like it will be about an hour's drive from St. Louis.

Once I get out there I plan to write about the drive, the places and any interesting people that I should happen to meet. Now that I've procured and learned to use the laptop PC, camcorder and GPS navigator, and subscribed with AT&T for Wi-Fi access at any old McDonald's, Starbucks or Barnes & Noble that I come across, I should be able to upload blog entries and videos as we progress along the trail to the mouth of the Columbia River and back.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More additions to my Google Maps

While busy preparing an itinerary for my road trip along the trail from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River and back, I've been adding some new destinations to my website. I posted a couple of days ago about some recent additions, and here are some more.

C.M. Russell Museum Great Falls, MT
Lodgepole Gallery and Tipi Village Browning, MT
Ice Harbor Dam Visitor Center Pasco, WA
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute Pendleton, OR

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wildlife Refuges along the Lewis and Clark Trail

Here is a directory for the 57 wildlife refuges and conservation areas that I've located along the Lewis and Clark Trail. The listing is by state, and the states follow the trail from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. Within each state, sites are ordered from east to west.


Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Brussels, IL


Boone's Crossing Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
August A. Busch Conservation Nature Center St. Charles, MO
Daniel Boone Conservation Area Warren County, MO
St. Aubert Island Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Runge Conservation Nature Center Jefferson City, MO
Overton Bottoms North Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Stump Island Park Howard County, MO
Jameson Island Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Lisbon Bottoms Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge Sumner, MO
Cranberry Bend Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Baltimore Bottom Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Jackass Bend Unit, Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge Columbia, MO
Mark Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area St. Joseph, MO
Worthwine Island Conservation Area St. Joseph, MO
Honey Creek Conservation Area Andrew County, MO
Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Mound City, MO


Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge Fort Calhoun, NE
Elk Point Bend Wildlife Management Area Ponca, NE
Bazile Creek Wildlife Management Area Niobrara, NE


Hitchcock Nature Center Honey Creek, IA
Loess Hills Wildlife Area Des Moines, IA
Sioux Dam Wildlife Area Woodbine, IA
Murray Hill Scenic Overlook Woodbine, IA
Gleason-Hubel Wildlife Area Woodbine, IA
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Missouri Valley, IA
Ruffcorn Wildlife Area Woodbine, IA
Five Ridge Prairie Hinton, IA

South Dakota

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Lake Andes, SD
Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge Lake Andes, SD
LaFramboise Island Nature Area Pierre, SD

North Dakota

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge Moffit, ND
Cross Ranch Nature Preserve Hensler, ND
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Coleharbor, ND
Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge Dunn Center, ND


Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Medicine Lake, MT
UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge Lewistown, MT
War Horse National Wildlife Refuge Lewistown, MT
Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge Lewistown, MT
Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Great Falls, MT
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge Stevensville, MT
Teller Wildlife Refuge Corvallis, MT
National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge Moiese, MT


Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Sherwood, OR
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Hillsboro, OR
Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge Bandon, OR

Washington State

McNary National Wildlife Refuge Burbank, WA
Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge Burbank, WA
Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge Burbank, WA
Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Glenwood, WA
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge Skamania County, WA
Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge Washougal, WA
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Ridgefield, WA
Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer Cathlamet, WA
Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge Cathlamet, WA
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Ilwaco, WA

Additions to my website

I recently added some important interpretive centers and a state park to the Google Maps in my Lewis and Clark Trail website. The first four are located along the Kansas City - Omaha stretch of the Missouri River, and the final two are in the Columbia River Gorge. Would you please welcome:

Lewis and Clark Visitor Centers-Trail Headquarters Omaha, NE
Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Visitors Center Nebraska City, NE
National Frontier Trails Museum Independence, MO
Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska Shubert, NE
Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum Stevenson, WA
Bonneville Lock and Dam Cascade Locks, OR

Lewis and Clark Trail Maps: The Split Into Subgroups

This article has been relocated to

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lewis and Clark Trail Maps: Across the Rockies Westbound

This article has been relocated to

Planning a Road Trip

I live in New York State, and only became interested in the Lewis and Clark Expedition recently from the audio book version of Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.
Now that the weather is warm, I want to get out and see the Lewis and Clark Trail! The plan is to drive out to St. Louis, follow the trail to the mouth of the Columbia River, follow it back to St. Louis, and then drive back home. Hopefully the trip eastward will be enhanced by ideas and knowledge gained on the trip westward.

I want to make videos along the way and post them to YouTube. From there the videos can be embedded on pages in this blog and my website. I plan to stay over at places with Wi-Fi coverage so that I can upload videos and blog about the trip along the way. This means that I'll need a camcorder and a laptop computer, and I also want to get a GPS Navigator. Once these are procured and set up, I'll need to learn the procedure for recording, transferring to PC, uploading to YouTube, and then I should be on my way!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lewis and Clark Trail Maps: The Entire Trail

This article has been relocated to

Brief Update

Click on the map to see a full-scale version, so long as you're not using a dial-up connection!

This week I discovered online the map that Captain William Clark drew after returning to St. Louis, and now I'm busy trying to absorb it. Most of their route was pretty straightforward (apart from actually having to travel it), but in the Rocky Mountain vicinity it gets a little complex, especially since the Corps of Discovery split up on the return trip eastward.

I want to write about the routes that the expedition took through this region, using the map as a reference. As soon as I'm ready I will do so.

I'm also setting up an account on Facebook. If you would like to connect over there please send an email to the address given on my profile page, telling me how I can find you on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

National and State Parks

Now that I can't think of anything more to write about John Colter, I want add another directory to the blog. This is a list of national and state parks included in my website's Google Maps. Each of the following links takes you to a page dedicated to the referenced park. That page will give you a map showing the park's location, contact information and a brief description of the available activities and features.

The links are grouped by state, and the order of the states follows the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. Within each state, parks are listed from east to west. In some cases this ordering is very helpful (e.g. Missouri and Oregon) and in some cases it really doesn't help at all (e.g. South Dakota).


Fort Belle Fontaine Park St. Louis, MO
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park Wildwood, MO
Binder Park Jefferson City, MO
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Columbia, MO
Van Meter State Park Miami, MO
Weston Bend State Park Weston Bend, MO
Lewis and Clark State Park Rushville, MO
Big Lake State Park Craig, MO


Fort Atkinson State Historical Park Fort Calhoun, NE
Platte River State Park Louisville, NE
Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area Ames, NE
Ponca State Park Ponca, NE
Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area Crofton, NE
Niobrara State Park Niobrara, NE


Waubonsie State Park Hamburg, IA
Lake Manawa State Park Council Bluffs, IA
Preparation Canyon State Park Onawa, IA
Wilson Island State Recreation Area Missouri Valley, IA
Lewis and Clark State Park Onawa, IA
Stone State Park Sioux City, IA

South Dakota

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve McCook Lake, SD
Spirit Mound Historic Prairie Canton, SD
Chief White Crane Recreation Area Yankton, SD
Lewis and Clark Recreation Area Yankton, SD
Randall Creek Recreation Area Lake Andes, SD
Snake Creek Recreation Area Platte, SD
West Bend Recreation Area Pierre, SD
Swan Creek Recreation Area Gettysburg, SD
West Whitlock Recreation Area Gettysburg, SD
Farm Island Recreation Area Pierre, SD
West Pollock Recreation Area Mobridge, SD
Indian Creek Recreation Area Mobridge, SD
Oahe Downstream Recreation Area Ft. Pierre, SD

North Dakota

Ft. Abraham Lincoln State Park Mandan, ND
Double Ditch State Recreation Area Mandan, ND
Cross Ranch State Park Center, ND
Fort Stevenson State Park Garrison, ND
Lake Sakakawea State Park Riverdale, ND
Crow Flies High Scenic Overlook Epping, ND
Little Missouri State Park Center, ND
Lewis and Clark State Park Epping, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Northern Unit Medora, ND


Makoshika State Park Glendive, MT
Pirogue Island State Park Miles City, MT
Fort Peck Lake Reservoir and Recreation Area Fort Peck, MT
Hell Creek State Park Miles City, MT
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Fort Smith, MT
Pictograph Cave State Park Billings, MT
Lake Elmo State Park Billings, MT
Chief Plenty Coups State Park Pryor, MT
Cooney State Park Roberts, MT
Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park Billings, MT
Sluice Boxes State Park Great Falls, MT
Smith River State Park Great Falls, MT
Giant Springs State Park Great Falls, MT
Missouri Headwaters State Park Bozeman, MT
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park Ulm, MT
Tower Rock State Park Great Falls, MT
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Whitehall, MT
Black Sandy State Park West Helena, MT
Clark's Lookout State Park Dillon, MT
Bannack State Park Dillon, MT
Salmon Lake State Park Seeley Lake, MT
Placid Lake State Park Seeley Lake, MT
Beavertail Hill State Park Missoula, MT
Travelers' Rest State Park Lolo, MT
Council Grove State Park Missoula, MT
Frenchtown Pond State Park Missoula, MT
Painted Rocks State Park Missoula, MT


Winchester Lake State Park Winchester, ID
Hells Gate State Park Lewiston, ID


Hat Rock State Park Salem, OR
Deschutes River State Recreation Area Salem, OR
White River Falls State Park Salem, OR
Memaloose State Park Salem, OR
Wygant State Natural Area Salem, OR
Ainsworth State Park Salem, OR
Tryon Creek State Natural Area Portland, OR
Bradley State Scenic Viewpoint Salem, OR
Saddle Mountain State Natural Area Salem, OR
Netul Landing Astoria, OR
Sunset Beach State Recreation Site Salem, OR
Fort Stevens State Park Salem, OR
Ecola State Park Salem, OR

Washington State

Fields Spring State Park Asotin County, WA
Steptoe Butte State Park Whitman County, WA
Lewis and Clark Trail State Park Columbia County, WA
Palouse Falls State Park Franklin County, WA
Sacajawea State Park Franklin County, WA
Maryhill State Park Klickitat County, WA
Columbia Hills State Park Klickitat County, WA
Doug's Beach State Park Klickitat County, WA
Beacon Rock State Park Skamania County, WA
Reed Island State Park Clark County, WA
Lewis and Clark State Park Lewis County, WA
Fort Columbia State Park Pacific County, WA
Cape Disappointment State Park Pacific County, WA

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Adventures of John Colter

This article has been relocated to

An All-Water Route: Outfitters and Guides

President Thomas Jefferson's principal objective in sending the Corps of Discovery to explore the northwest was to find opportunities for new commercial ventures. These could involve trading goods from the United States (as it existed at that time) with native tribes inhabiting the Louisiana Territory and beyond, and it could involve opening up a new route for trading goods with the Far East.

In those days the only way to move large quantities of goods over long distances was by water, so Meriwether Lewis was instructed to seek an all-water route linking the two sides of the continent. Jefferson's instructions read:

"The object of your mission, is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by it's course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregan, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce."

After setting out, the expedition was to follow the Missouri River to its source (as instructed), cross the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountains, follow the Clearwater River across the Idaho panhandle to its confluence with the Snake River at the Idaho-Washington border, follow the Snake forty miles or so to its confluence with the Columbia River, and then paddle downstream to the Pacific Ocean.

That being the case, the Lewis and Clark trail today offers many opportunities for those interested in combining historical curiosity with an enthusiasm for water sports, particularly fishing. I should talk about which species are popular at different points along the route, but for today I simply want to list the Outfitters and Guides that are referenced on my Google Maps website.

Lower Missouri River

Missouri River Paddling Company Parkville, MO

Upper Missouri River & its Tributaries in Northern Montana

Billingsley Ranch Outfitters Glasgow, MT

Yellowstone River & Southern Montana

Rollin’ Boulder Outfitters McLeod, MT
Bear Paw Outfitters Livingston, MT
The River's Edge Fly Fishing Shop Bozeman, MT
Medicine Lake Outfitters Bozeman, MT

Western Montana

Central Montana Outfitters Great Falls, MT
Beardsley Outfitting Ennis, MT
Carl Mann's Montana Experience Outfitters Stevensville, MT
Redbone Outfitting Corvallis, MT
Osprey Outfitters Guide Service and Fly Shop Hamilton, MT
Blackfoot River Outfitters Missoula, MT
Wapiti Waters Victor, MT

Snake River

Northwest Fishing Guide Service

Lower Columbia River & its Tributaries

Mid Columbia River Guide Service Milton-Freewater, OR
Adventure Fishing Klickitat, WA
Young's Fishing Service The Dalles, OR
Dennis Pratt's Guide Service Battle Ground, WA
Lucky's Guide Service Vancouver, WA
Portland Kayak Company Portland, OR
Columbia River Fishing Guide Woodland, WA
Streamside Fishing Guide Service Forest Grove, OR

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Public Lands: An Owner’s Manual

Guest Author: Kimberlee Riley of the Jefferson National Parks Association

In 1803 Thomas Jefferson sent instructions to Lewis and Clark advising them that the object of their mission was to ‘explore’. The purpose for the exploration was to learn about the lands and rivers to the west which for the most part had been unseen by American citizens. The information gathered about the plants, the animals, the peoples and the accessibility of this uncharted territory was to be used for the growth and development of our country. The growth envisioned was beyond just possessing the territory but growth through the inhabiting and development of commerce in this territory.

As we know today, Lewis and Clark explored this territory and found an abundance of lush lands and natural resources. The journey was a difficult and challenging one, with natural threats as well as threats from the tribes they would encounter. Thomas Jefferson knew the challenges and the risks involved, and he advised Captain Lewis to measure their risks and to abandon the mission should they be too great. Thomas Jefferson noted “… in the loss of yourselves, we should lose also the information you will have acquired…”

After the successful return from this exploration, with the incredible information detailed, this territory was used for our country’s growth and development. The opportunities to inhabit this territory and the new commerce increased American citizens’ prosperity as well as our country’s prosperity. In the late 1800’s our government began to recognize that in order to sustain this territory for future generations and for our country -- the use of the territory would have to managed properly. In 1872 America’s first national park was established in Yellowstone. This lush land and abundance of natural resources now was reserved for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. The natural resources would be managed appropriately and by 1916 the National Park Service was established for this purpose.

Today there are hundreds of national and state parks with millions of acres along the Lewis and Clark trail, public lands reserved just for you. Just as Lewis and Clark were instructed by Thomas Jefferson, these lands are there for you to explore. Fortunately today, because of the management of public land agencies and the support of non-profit organizations and their donors, these lands are maintained for accessibility and have educational exhibits and programs to help you explore and enjoy them and to benefit from them.

While the variety of ways we enjoy our public lands may be obvious, the benefits are not always as obvious. Public lands provide educational programs and healthy lifestyles. In addition to the physical activities we do on our public lands research shows that a connection with nature can have physical and psychological benefits. For some of us public lands provide inspiration. Public lands provide environmental benefits such as pollution control. There are economic benefits to public lands – they can positively impact residential and commercial property values. Public lands attract visitors and business to local areas, too. So, with all these benefits and the enjoyment we have when we do visit our public lands – is there any action we need to take for our public lands?

We do need to guard against their loss just as Thomas Jefferson advised Captain Lewis in 1803 to guard against the loss of information about the uncharted territory. Public lands today help us to explore our country’s natural and historical treasures. These are now our lands. However, they do not come with an owner’s manual. If we had an owner’s manual it would tell us what actions to take for the general care and growth and development of our public lands, actions such as these:

1) Access your public lands and explore them often so that you may reap the fullest benefits from them.

2) Exercise the seven Leave No Trace principles so that others may find our public lands in the same conditions you have.

3) Contact the agency caring for your land for more information. There are a variety of national, state, and city agencies that conserve and manage our public lands.

4) Communicate and collaborate with your fellow land owners and exercise your democratic privileges to provide direction for your public lands in public sessions or on voting ballots.

5) Participate in the management of your public lands by volunteering and working with the land management agencies or their non-profit partners.

6) Engage youth with their public lands, so that they receive the same benefits as you. Also, instill in them the details of this owner’s manual in order to prepare them to be good land owners.

7) Reinvest in the maintenance needs of your public lands to ensure that future generations will continue to benefit from them.

Non-profit partners like Jefferson National Parks Association provide support for the land management agencies that care for and improve our public lands. Lewis and Clark Visitor Center in Yankton, SD is one of our partner sites. Learn more about Lewis and Clark and the natural resources along the trail with books and products from our store.

Your invaluable support is critical to the future of these, our most treasured places.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Campgrounds and RV Parks

This "blog entry" is nothing more than a directory of all the campgrounds and RV parks included on my website. Each link takes you to a page showing the campground on a Google Map, with contact information and a brief description of the campsite. For each state, entries are ordered from east to west as you scan the list from top to bottom.

If you have been enjoying my historical background articles, I do intend to return to that very shortly, so please bear with me!


Granite City KOA Granite City, IL


Historic Route 66 KOA Eureka, MO
Meramec KOA Stanton, MO
Kan-Do Campground & RV Park Montgomery City, MO
Crooked Creek Campground Kingdom City, MO
Interstate RV Park Higginsville, MO
Country Gardens RV Park Odessa, MO
Oak Grove KOA Oak Grove, MO
Rock Port KOA Rock Port, MO


Longscreek RV Park Auburn, NE
Victorian Acres Campground Nebraska City, NE
West Omaha KOA Gretna, NE


Woodland Campground Little Sioux, IA
Blue Lake KOA Onawa, IA

South Dakota

Sioux City North KOA North Sioux City, SD
Al's Oasis Oacoma, SD
Kennebec KOA Kennebec, SD

North Dakota

Bismarck KOA Bismarck, ND
Lewis & Clark RV Park Hazen, ND
Hazen Bay Recreation Area Hazen, ND
Summit Campground: Little Missouri National Grassland Bismarck, ND
Juniper Campground: Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit Medora, ND


Miles City KOA Miles City, MT
Hardin KOA Hardin, MT
Billings KOA Billings, MT
Red Lodge KOA Red Lodge, MT
Old West RV Park Reed Point, MT
Big Timber KOA Big Timber, MT
Spring Creek Campground & Trout Ranch Big Timber, MT
Rock Canyon RV Park Livingston, MT
Osens RV Park & Campground Livingston, MT
Livingston / Paradise Valley KOA Livingston, MT
Conestoga Campground White Sulphur Springs, MT
Bozeman KOA Bozeman, MT
Great Falls KOA Great Falls, MT
Townsend / Canyon Ferry Lake KOA Townsend, MT
Alder / Virginia City KOA Alder, MT
Butte KOA Butte, MT
Dillon KOA Dillon, MT
Missoula KOA Missoula, MT
Square Dance Center & Campground, Inc. Lolo, MT


Sundown RV Park Grangeville, ID
Bear Den RV Resort Grangeville, ID
Hells Canyon Resort Lewiston, ID


Pendleton KOA Pendleton, OR
Pioneer RV Park Hermiston, OR
Cascade Locks / Portland East KOA Cascade Locks, OR
Crown Point RV Park Corbett, OR
Pheasant Ridge RV Park Wilsonville, OR
Kampers West RV Park Warrenton, OR
Astoria / Seaside KOA Hammond, OR

Washington State

Dayton / Pomeroy / Blue Mountains KOA Pomeroy, WA
Coyote Run RV Park Connell, WA
Beach RV Park Benton City, WA
Timberlake Campground and RV Park Home Valley, WA
99 RV Park Vancouver, WA
Columbia Riverfront RV Park Woodland, WA
Bay Center / Willapa Bay KOA Bay Center, WA
Ilwaco / Long Beach KOA Ilwaco, WA
Lands End RV Park Long Beach, WA
Driftwood RV Park Long Beach, WA
Westgate Cabins & RV Park Ocean Park, WA

Guest ranches, dude ranches and resorts

After starting to develop The Lewis and Clark Trail Road Trip Planner, I quickly realized that an arbitrary rule was needed to decide which points of interest could be included. I wanted the maps to show anything along the trail that looked interesting, but what is "on the trail" and what isn't? I decided to include anything within a distance of twenty miles from the line drawn to represent the trail.

I found a small number of guest ranches, dude ranches and assorted resorts along the way, and you probably won't be surprised to see that most of them are in Montana. This is just a list showing who they are and what town they're in. The links will bring up a Google Map displaying their location and contact information, and give you a brief description of what the place has to offer.

As you go down the list, the ranches are ordered from east to west, which might help you guess where in Montana some of those ranches are.

Badlands Trail Rides and Eastview Campground Killdeer, ND

Montana River Ranch Bainville, MT

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch McLeod, MT

Lone Mountain Ranch Big Sky, MT

Madison Valley Ranch Ennis, MT

Five Rivers Lodge Dillon, MT

The Alta Ranch Darby, MT

Lolo Hot Springs Lolo, MT

Mt Adams Lodge at the The Flying L Ranch Glenwood, Klickitat, WA

Eagles Nest Resort Ilwaco, WA

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guided walk at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Located about ten miles west of Three Forks, Montana, Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is Montana's first and perhaps best-known state park. The park features one of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the US Northwest. These spectacular, naturally air conditioned caves are lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites.

On June 20 at 7 p.m., the park will offer a guided walk to publicize their newest hiking trail. The nature walk will feature wildflower viewing and birding opportunities. The event is free for registered campers and Montana residents. Call 406-287-3541 for more information.

Places mentioned in this article

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Other points of interest in the Three Forks vicinity

Missouri Headwaters State Park
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
Parker Homestead State Park
Medicine Lake Outfitters

Find more places of interest in southwestern Montana

The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: On to the Continental Divide

The Treaty of Fort Clark

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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Voyages of the Columbia Rediviva

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Hiking Trail Improvements at Beacon Rock State Park

Beacon Rock State Park is a 5,100-acre year-round camping park located on the Washington State side of the Columbia River Gorge. The park is famous for the historical 848-foot rock, and boaters value the Columbia River moorage and boat ramp. It was near Beacon Rock that Lewis and Clark first measured tidal influences from the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia River.

The park's largely unappreciated value lies in thirteen miles of old fire roads and twelve miles of hiking trails. The State Department of Natural Resources logged the area in the early 1960s, leaving a network of old roads.

A connection between fire roads on the west and east sides evolved in the mid to late 1990s by adventurous hikers, and that informal path has just been improved. Working in partnership with the Washington Trails Association, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington and others, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has created a 1.6-mile connecting route that offers hikers easy access to spectacular views from both the east and west sides of the rock.

Source article, containing more information
Hardy Ridge a hiker haven in the Gorge | The News Tribune - Northwest

More points of interest near Beacon Rock State Park

Mt. Hood National Forest
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Ainsworth State Park
Hamilton Island Boat Ramp
Fort Cascades Historic Site
Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Fate of the Arikaras

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Road To The Buffalo

Guest author: Dennis A Carroll from Augusta, Montana

On their return from the Pacific, the Corps of Discovery split up on 3 July 1806. William Clark took his party to the Jefferson River. Sergeant Ordway and nine men would follow it to the Missouri and eventually to the confluence with the Yellowstone River. Clark’s remaining men headed for the Yellowstone and followed it to the Missouri.

Meriwether Lewis made a direct overland route to the Great Falls of the Missouri. Lewis’ journal said:

[. . .] the road which they (Nez Perce) shewed me. . . would lead up the East branch of Clark’s river and a river called Cokahlarishkit (Lewis mistranscribed, “Qoq’aalx’Iskit”), or the river of the road to buffaloe and thence . . . the falls of the Missouri where we wished to go. They alleged that as the road was a well beaten track we could not now miss our way. July 3, 1806

The “well beaten” track was the result of generations of Indians and travois coming and going from buffalo country on the plains. It must have been easy to follow. Within four days, Lewis’ contingent traveled over 70 miles, crossing “Smitu Sx cu si,” or Indian Fort Pass. Indian Fort Pass, named by the Salish, referred to small stone forts used to watch for Blackfeet warriors. The pass is now known as Lewis and Clark Pass, although Clark never saw it.

The modern explorer can mirror Lewis’ path. From Missoula, Montana, take Interstate 90 south about five miles to the Bonner Exit. Take Montana Highway 200 toward Great Falls. Highway 200 parallels much of the Buffalo Road until it reaches Lander’s Fork, 7 miles east of Lincoln, Montana.

Buffalo Road followed Lander’s Fork a short distance, then crossed a ridge to Alice Creek. Today’s discoverers can take the Alice Creek road (about three miles beyond Lander’s Fork) off Highway 200 to the trailhead, eleven miles distant. The road is passable by all vehicles, but the last four miles is one lane and has potholes. The trailhead has several kiosks that describe the Buffalo Road, Lewis’s journey over the pass and the first settlers in the area. The more adventuresome may want to take the mile-and-a-half hike to the pass. Although good trail, it is an uphill climb. Those in average physical condition, taking their time, can complete the round-trip in 2 hours.

Looking southeast on “Smitu Sx cu si,” or Indian Fort Pass, today’s Lewis and Clark Pass.

If you hike remember it’s grizzly country--take precautions. While not as fearsome, ticks are present, especially in spring and early summer. For more information see:

Bear Safety - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Ticks - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Forest Service sign on Lewis and Clark Pass, elevation 6000.

Private ranches deny public access east of Lewis and Clark Pass, but you can approximate Lewis’ journey by returning to Highway 200, crossing the Continental Divide at Roger’s Pass and taking County Road 434 below the pass. The road closely parallels Lewis’ journey from today’s Highway 200 to present-day Augusta, Montana. Road 434 is safe for all travel unless there has been a heavy rain. Stretches of mud road become impassable to all except four-wheel drives. All-weather travel can be accomplished on US Highway 287, which intersects 200 several miles past 434.

Looking west, up Torrant River (Dearborn) a mile or two above where Lewis’ group crossed.

Lewis probably crossed the Torrant River a mile or two below the picturesque high bridge on the Dearborn River. At the time, Lewis was unaware that the Torrant River was the Dearborn River he had named 18 July 1805 on the westward leg.

As you top out of Dearborn canyon, Shishequaw Mountain--one of Lewis’ navigation points--can be seen 10 miles distant. Modern maps list Shishequaw Mountain as “Haystack Butte.”

Looking west from County Road 434 to Shishequaw Mountain (Haystack Butte). It perfectly fits Lewis’ description, “a high conic mountain standing several miles in advance of the Eastern range of the rocky mountains. 8 July 1806”.

County Road 434 becomes asphalt, and crosses Shishequaw Creek, later called South Fork (for South Fork of the Sun River), and is now called Elk Creek. Lewis followed Shishequaw Creek to the Medicine River. In earlier times, Medicine River was called “Pile of Rocks River,” and is now called the Sun River.

Lewis’s party traveled along the Medicine River to the Missouri and camped several days on White Bear Island, one of their previous camps.

This phase can be approximated by taking Highway 21 to Simms, turning left on Montana Highway 200 to Vaughn and finishing the trip to Great Falls on Interstate 15.

Lewis remarked in his journal that he saw buffalo everywhere near the Missouri:

[ . . ] it is now the season at which the buffaloe begin to coppelate and the bulls keep a tremedious roaring we could hear them for many miles and there are such numbers of them that there is one continual roar. our horses had not been acquainted with the buffaloe they appeared much alarmed at their appearance and bellowing. When I arrived in sight of the whitebear islands the Missouri bottoms on both sides of the river were crouded with buffaloe I sincerely belief that there were not less than 10 thousand buffaloe within a circle of 2 miles around that place. 11 July 1806

Lewis noticed large herds of buffalo and the bluffs on either side of the river, but may not have connected the two. The bluffs on the south side of the river (your right going toward Great Falls) were called pishkuns, or buffalo jumps. Twenty pishkuns rise between Shishequaw Creek (Elk Creek) and the Missouri. Native American hunters stampeded buffalo over these cliffs. The north-side bluffs were rarely used. Prevailing wind is from the southwest, and buffalo hunters relied on their scent, carried by the wind, to panic the beasts.

The pishkun located between Great Falls, Ulm and Vaughn Montana has been made a day-use park, called First Peoples Buffalo Jump. To get there travel 10 miles south of Great Falls on Interstate 15, exit at Ulm, turn right and go 3.5 miles on the Ulm-Vaughn road.

Discoverers can find two more interesting sights in Great Falls that relate to the Corps of Discovery:

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
4201 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405
406) 727-0900

The Interpretive Center has displays, dioramas, and events that relate directly to the Corps of Discovery.

C. M. Russell Museum
400 13th Street North
Great Falls, MT 59401
(406) 727-2402

The Russell Museum houses works of the late Charles M. Russell, renowned cowboy artist. His paintings, sculptures, illustrated postcards and letters cover subjects from cowboys, to Indians, to Lewis and Clark and before.

In three days your personal Corps of Discovery can retrace eight days of Lewis’ journey and connect with hundreds of years of pre-European, pre-Montana history.

Text and photos copyrighted 14 June 2009, by Dennis A Carroll.

More Montana Outdoors, Montana Elk Hunting, and a little humor can be found at Montana Elk Hunting.

Bad Humor Island in South Dakota

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lake Francis Case in South Dakota

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The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

The Missouri River is nicknamed "Big Muddy" because of the high silt content. Mark Twain once famously described the Missouri as being “too thick to drink and too thin to plow”.

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is actually a series of small units in the state of Missouri, located along the entire stretch of river between St. Louis and Kansas City. The units are named after towns that once flourished, pioneers, or interesting facts or landmarks along the route.

Here is a list of units located close to the shoreline, from East to West. Each link takes you to a Google Map showing the location of that unit, along with a brief description and a link to the official site.

Boone's Crossing Unit
St. Aubert Island Unit
Jameson Island Unit
Lisbon Bottoms Unit
Overton Bottoms North Unit
Baltimore Bottom Unit
Jackass Bend Unit
Cranberry Bend Unit

For more things to do and places to stay in Missouri

The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: Eastern Missouri
The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: Western Missouri

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse on the Columbia River

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Fort Benton, Montana

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Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex in South Dakota

The Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex is headquartered at Lake Andes, South Dakota, located a little to the east of the Missouri River and maybe ten miles north of the state's border with Nebraska. The complex comprises two separate refuges, the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge and the Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge.

Lake Andes is a natural, shallow prairie lake that is fed by underground springs, and once every twenty years (approximately) the lake dries up. Sioux Indians frequently made camp at the lake while pursuing migrating herds of buffalo and flocks of waterfowl. Two dikes separate the lake into three sections, allowing better water retention during the dry summers.

Wildlife observation, hunting, and fishing are the major attractions at the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge during wet years. Over one hundred species of birds nest at the refuge, including bald eagles, ring-necked pheasant, northern pintail, ducks and geese. Various mammal species are commonly found at the refuge, including white-tailed deer, coyote, muskrat and badger.

The Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge has the largest concentration of Bald eagles in the lower 48 states, with over 200 eagles often spending the winter there. The refuge is closed to the public, but bird watching is available from the Ft. Randall Dam. A kiosk at the dam provides information on optimal times and locations for viewing various species.

To obtain more information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex
38672 291st Street
Lake Andes, South Dakota 57356
(605) 487-7603

To find more things to do and places to stay in South Dakota
The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: On to the Grasslands

Ulm Buffalo Days at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

For over six hundred years, Indians stampeded bison over the mile-long cliff at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, a day-use-only park in the town of Ulm. Ulm is located a couple of miles to the southwest of Great Falls, Montana. At the top of the jump there's a panoramic view of the Missouri River valley, the Rocky Mountain Front, and the buttes and grasslands of the High Plains. A visitor center and interpretive trails relate the story of this prehistoric site, one of the largest in the United States.

Today and tomorrow (June 12 and 13) the town of Ulm will celebrate its 120th anniversary with Ulm Buffalo Days, a two-day celebration jam-packed with events and activities. Events will take place in Ulm itself and at First People's Buffalo Jump State Park.

The celebration starts today with Native American dancing from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a bison dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. The dinner will feature entertainment by singer and poet Greg Keeler and a Montana Black Powder shooters presentation.

Saturday there will be a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., and a fun run starting at the Ulm school at 9:30 a.m.

For further information see the complete article at the Great Falls Tribune
Ulm Buffalo Days celebration is today and Saturday

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Lolo Trail

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The Old Celilo Falls

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buzzard Day at Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park is located in the rugged badlands through which the Yellowstone River passes in southeastern Montana. The word Makoshika is from the Lakota language, and means "land of bad spirits" or "badlands". Makoshika is the largest state park in Montana, covering over 11,400 acres.

On Saturday, June 13th, Makoshika State Park will holds its 20th Annual Buzzard Day Celebration. The tradition began in commemoration of the Turkey Vulture’s return to Makoshika State Park, and over the years the event has evolved and grown. Guests are offered free entertainment as well as educational and recreational opportunities.

Original Announcement
Makoshika State Park Buzzard Day

To find more things to do in southern Montana
The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: Following the Yellowstone River

Historical Sites in North Dakota

"Retirement is Grand" posted a new entry from their Lewis and Clark Trail road trip, called New Town, North Dakota.

Sites on the itinerary were:

Fort Mandan Visitor Center, a replica of the stockade where the Expedition spent the winter of 1804-1805, located in Washburn, ND.

Knife River Indian Villages, a reconstructed Hidatsa Indian village located in Stanton, ND

Fort Union Trading Post, an important fur trading post that was in use between 1828 and 1867, located in Williston, ND

Some personal narrative relating the story of each site is given, and a few good photos from each visit (and the drive along the way) are included.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bitterroot BioBlitz at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Located in the scenic and historic Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, surrounded by the Bitterroot Range and Sapphire Range, the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge offers spectacular opportunities to view regional landscape and wildlife. The Refuge's primary missions are to manage habitat for migratory birds and for endangered and threatened species.

Part festival, part educational event, and part scientific endeavor, the Bitterroot BioBlitz will bring together scientists from across the region in a race against the clock to see how many species they can count in a 24-hour biological survey of the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. The public is invited to observe their activities, and to participate in other activities presented by the refuge and a host of invited organizations.

Dates: June 26 and 27, 2009

For further information: Bitterroot Bio BLitz - Home

Stabilization project in Bannack Ghost Town

Located in southwestern Montana, the town of Bannack was founded in 1862, when it became the site of Montana's first major gold discovery. It served as the capital of Montana Territory until 1864, when the capital was moved to Virginia City. The strike set off a gold rush that swelled Bannack's population to over 3,000 by 1863, but the population slowly dwindled as the ore was depleted, with the last residents leaving in the 1970s. Bannack is known as the best preserved of all Montana ghost towns, with over 50 buildings lining Main Street, and their historic log and frame structures recall Montana's formative years.

The town had a "sheriff" by the name of Henry Plummer, who was in fact a gang leader. His gang was responsible for nearly a hundred deaths during robberies in the Virginia City and Bannack gold fields and along trails leading westward. Plummer and about twenty members of his gang were tried and hanged in early 1864 by vigilantes from Bannack and Virginia City.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has received funding to continue drainage and stabilization work on historic buildings within the ghost town. Montana winters are harsh, as is the summer sun, and rudimentary building structures don’t last long without preservation.

Last year, the park received $500,000 in legislative funding, and this year a $190,000 grant from Save America’s Treasures be used to stabilize additional structures.

Here's a video that was produced during last year's restoration efforts.

Source: Dredging up GHOSTS

On Google Maps
Bannack State Park