Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sacagawea statue in Great Falls, MT

The Portage Route Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation has agreed to serve as a 501(c)(3) organization (making donations tax-deductible) in the drive to keep the "Arduous Journey" statue of Sacagawea in Great Falls, Montana.

The 9 1/2-foot-tall bronze statue was created by Montana artist C.A. "Carol" Grende, who died from cancer complications and pneumonia in March this year. The plan is to raise $80,000 to purchase the sculpture and place it near the new federal courthouse on the west bank of the Missouri River.

The complete Great Falls Tribune article
Group works to keep Sacagawea statue here

Points of interest along the L&C Trail in Northern Montana
The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: The Upper Missouri River

Farm Island Recreation Area

This blog entry shows a series of photos taken on a kayak trip through the interior of the Farm Island Recreation Area, located just east of Pierre, South Dakota.

Click on the photos to see them at full resolution.

Petroglyphs in the Columbia River Gorge

Here's a series of photographs displaying Native American Petroglyphs. These photos where taken along the Temani Pesh-Wa Trail in Columbia Hills State Park, which is located on the Washington State side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Hint: You need to scroll down a little in order to see them.

Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum

The Wyandotte County Museum showcases one of the few remaining Native American dugout canoes, in addition to a rare American laFrance Steam Fire Engine manufactured in 1903. In front of the museum is a monument to the World War II Bomber Builders, honoring employees who built close to 7,000 B-25 bombers in that district during World War II.

Home Page
631 N 126th St
Bonner Springs, KS 66012
Phone: (913) 721-1078

On Google Maps
Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum

The Steamboat Arabia Museum

The Steamboat Arabia was a side wheeler steamboat built in 1853, and was capable of carrying a full 222 tons of cargo. It hit a large walnut tree just below the water level in the Missouri River on September 5, 1856, and sank near current-day Parkville, Missouri. Thousands of artifacts from the cargo and the steamboat were recovered, and are displayed in the Steamboat Arabia Museum, which is located in the River Market district of Kansas City, Missouri.

Home Page
400 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 471-1856

On Google Maps
Steamboat Arabia Museum

Airline History Museum at Kansas City

The Airline History Museum is located in Kansas City, Missouri's Historic Downtown Airport. Walking through the museum brings you back to a more graceful era in air transportation, with collections of photographs, printed material, and audio/visual displays. Uniforms, instrumentation, logbooks, galley items, and personal mementos bring to life the propeller-driven era. There's also an aircraft collection including a Lockheed L1049 "Super G" Constellation, a Martin 404, and a Douglas DC-3 (currently undergoing restoration).

Home Page
Kansas City Downtown Airport, Hangar 9
201 NW Lou Holland Drive
Kansas City, Missouri 64116-4223
(816) 421-3401

On Google Maps
Airline History Museum at Kansas City

The Jesse James Farm

At the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri, you can take a tour beginning (and ending) at the James Farm Museum. The museum holds Jesse James and James family artifacts, including three of Jesse James's guns, the boots he was wearing when he was killed, and the James family Bible, which contains hand-written inscriptions. You can also see the remains of Jesse's original tombstone (the base and the foot stone are all that's left).

Home Page
21216 James Farm Road
Kearney, Missouri 64060
(816) 736-8500

On Google Maps
Jesse James Farm

Battle of Lexington State Historic Site

Restored and furnished in the mid-19th century fashion, Oliver Anderson's mansion still displays damage from the shot and shell that hammered it during the Battle of Lexington. Before the Civil War it had been called "the largest and best arranged dwelling house west of St. Louis", but three bloody days in 1861 changed that. The mansion was a fiercely contested prize in a battle between the Union army and the Missouri State Guard, during which the house changed hands three times.

The site offers tours of the 1853 Anderson House, and a visitor center with exhibits and audio-visual programs explaining the battle and its effects on the war.

Home Page
1101 Delaware Street
Lexington, MO 64067

On Google Maps
Battle of Lexington State Historic Site

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Located near the confluence of the Grand and Missouri Rivers, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 to provide resting, nesting and feeding areas for waterfowl, primarily ducks. Since then, emphasis has expanded to include the Eastern Prairie Population of Canada geese. The refuge is a main wintering area for Canada geese, with a population numbering between 10,000 and 80,000 annually.

Home Page
16194 Swan Lake Avenue
Sumner, MO 64681
(660) 856-3323

On Google Maps
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Captain William Clark observed that the site was an excellent location for a fort, and Fort Atkinson was established at that spot in 1820, the first U.S. military post west of the Missouri River. The fort is located in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, and was established to secure early fur trade and river traffic. Much of that historic outpost has been reconstructed here, and historical reenactments are given throughout the summer.

Home Page
PO Box 240
Fort Calhoun, NE 68023-0240
Phone: (402) 468-5611

On Google Maps
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Portland kayaker witnesses Palouse Falls descent

Sam Drevo, owner of eNRG Kayaking in Portland and a swift-water rescue instructor, tells about the day that Tyler Bradt ran the 186-foot Palouse Falls in southeastern Washington.

Portland kayaker witnesses Palouse Falls descent

On Google Maps
Palouse Falls State Park

The Historic Daniel Boone Home & Boonesfield Village

The Historic Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village, collectively a registered National Historic Site, are located in Defiance, Missouri. The Boone Home is nearly 200 years old, and even by today's standards is quite large, rising four stories tall.

The Daniel Boone home overlooks the Boonesfield Village, comprised of over a dozen 19th century buildings including a grist mill, the Old Peace Chapel, a schoolhouse and a carpenter’s shop.

There is a separate one hour tour for both the Boone Home and Boonesfield Village.

Home Page
1868 Highway F
Defiance, MO 63341

On Google Maps
Historic Daniel Boone Home & Boonesfield Village

Fort Walla Walla Days

The Fort Walla Walla Museum in Walla Walla, WA, will celebrate the Sesquicentennial (150 years) anniversary of the founding of the town of Walla Walla on June 13th and 14th, from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Fort Walla Walla Days and Western Art Show will feature encampments of mountain men, a Civil War battle re-enactment, presentations of Native American culture, and a western art show presenting the work of regional artists, coordinated by the renowned artist Norman Adams.

For the official announcement see Fort Walla Walla Days!.

Featured Stop: Van Meter State Park

The Van Meter State Park features remnants of a Missouri Indian village. A hand-dug earthwork and a few burial mounds are found within park boundaries. The park’s cultural center interprets the region’s Native American history through exhibits and a large mural depicting day-to-day the life among the Missouri Indians.

Park attractions include hiking trails, an 18-acre fishing lake, a campground, a fresh-water marsh, fens and forests. Lofty trees provide shade for picnic sites and two picnic shelters.

Van Meter State Park
32146 N. Hwy. 122
Miami, MO 65344

Featured Stop: Stump Island Park

Stump Island Park is located on the Missouri River shoreline in Howard County, Missouri. This conservation area is great place to spend an afternoon fishing for catfish, and the park features a concrete boat ramp. Also available are primitive tent camping facilities, a picnic area and a pavilion.

Stump Island Park
Howard County, MO

Friday, May 29, 2009

Immigrants have built Astoria

An interesting editorial appearing in today's The Daily Astorian recounts the waves of immigrants that helped to build Astoria, an important Oregon town at the mouth of the Columbia River. The author recalls the wave of "immigrants" from an earlier version of the United States that followed the establishment of Fort Astoria in 1811, followed by waves of Chinese, Scandinavians and now Hispanics.

Learn Mandan: Nu’eta word post #3

In the winter of 1804-1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition set up camp in the Mandan Villages. A replica of that site has been established at the Fort Mandan Visitor Center in Washburn, ND.

You can actually learn a little of the Mandan language on the website managed by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations! The title-line for this blog entry links to a sample lesson. This language is rapidly disappearing, as the Mandan Nation was decimated by smallpox after exposure to early European explorers.

The Three Affiliated Tribes (specified above) are located in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The McLean National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, is located within the reservation's boundaries.

Visiting Stevenson, Washington

Kathika Travel Website published an article today covering things to do and places to stay in Stevenson, WA. The article also mentions a few sites in the surrounding Columbia River Gorge vicinity. Receiving prominent mention are the hiking trails at Beacon Rock State Park.

In Captain William Clark's "blog entry" dated October 31, 1805 he mentioned Beacon Rock, writing "a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side &about 800 feet high and 400 paces around", calling it "the Beaten rock".

And the river shall rise

This Monday at noon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released extra water into the Missouri River at Gavins Point Dam, near the Nebraska-South Dakota border. The motivation for this project is to help preserve the pallid sturgeon, which is on the endangered species list. The “spring pulse” is meant to replicate what once was a natural occurrence when melting snow caused a heavy flow of water downstream.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called on the agency to discontinue the operation, due to flooding conditions. Missouri Farm Bureau President Charles E. Kruse adds: “This is yet another example of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps ignoring common sense and placing landowners at increased risk as they attempt to justify the millions of dollars being spent on new Missouri River management practices.”

The Gavins Point Dam is the most downstream dam on the Missouri, and impounds the Lewis and Clark Lake near Yankton, South Dakota.

The roadtrip: National Bison Refuge

The title-line directly above links to a blog entry describing the 40 mile drive (odometer-wise) from Missoula, Montana northward to the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge . The description is well-written, helping you to imagine actually sitting there and looking out the window while driving along Highway 93, although some photos would have been greatly appreciated.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Featured Stop: Arrow Rock State Historic Site

Arrow Rock, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, is a place where you can enjoy the serenity of an easygoing, quiet village. This once thriving river port is dotted with architectural treasures from the past.

The historic site features a visitor center museum, the Bingham Home, built by Missouri's preeminent artist of the 1800s, and the Huston Tavern, dating back to 1834. The site offers a walking tour which will take you to the old courthouse, a stone jail, a town doctor's home and other historic buildings.

Arrow Rock State Historic Site
P.O. Box 1
Arrow Rock, MO 65320

Saddle Mountain Hike

On May 30, 2009 at the Saddle Mountain State Natural Area, from 10AM through 2PM. The hike is sponsored by the Angora Club. This is a difficult five-mile round trip, on which you can marvel at the beauty of the mountain.

Activities held across S.D. for National Trails Day

South Dakota State Parks will host Walk in the Park events across the state from June 5 through June 8 in honor of the American Hiking Society's 17th annual "National Trails Day".

Scheduled events include a "Bird ID Walk" at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area near Yankton, SD, starting at 7:30 p.m. on June 5. Participants will walk and talk with naturalists as they seek and identify common birds found in the vicinity.

Wildlife refuges get nearly $2M for improvements

Two federal wildlife refuges on the Missouri River north of Omaha will receive almost $2 million in funding to help pay for upgrades and improvements.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the money will be used to improve the energy efficiency of the visitor's center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge on the Iowa side, and the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge on the Nebraska side of the river.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Featured Stop: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

You can see some of Missouri’s finest karst features at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The foremost attraction is the rock bridge after which the park is named, and you can also explore its forests, streams and restored grasslands to find more such features.

Picnic sites, a picnic shelter (reservable), and a playground make the park a fine place for family gatherings.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
5901 South Hwy. 163
Columbia, MO 65203

A Two-Wheeler Tour of Wine Country

The New York Times "Frugal Traveler" takes a bicycle tour of the Washington State side of the Columbia River Gorge, visiting a few wineries along the way. Wines produced on the Oregon side of the Columbia River are more well-known and expensive, so the frugal traveler searched the Washington side for undiscovered value.

Featured Stop: Daniel Boone Conservation Area

The Daniel Boone Conservation Area, located in western Warren County, is 8 miles southwest of Jonesburg, and about an hours drive from St. Louis. This conservation area is a predominantly forested area. Features include primitive camping, a picnic area, four fishing ponds (with two currently under renovation), and a multi-purpose trail.

Daniel Boone Conservation Area
Warren County, MO

The Big Canoe River Float 2009

Join the Missouri River Communities Network to canoe the Missouri River while learning about its natural and historical beauty. This 9.5 mile stretch between Huntsdale and Easley takes participants past the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area provides a resting stop on California Island. This float includes a live animal demonstration and presentations by river history and ecology experts.

Featured Stop: Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

At Babler State Park you can have it both ways, spending a peaceful night camping under the stars while only minutes from downtown St. Louis. You can enjoy afternoons of softball and volleyball or cooking on an open grill. A variety of outdoor experiences are offered, featuring thirteen miles of hiking trails . A visitor center illustrates the wonders of the park's natural communities.

Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park
800 Guy Park Drive
Wildwood, MO 63005

Columbia River sturgeon are celebrated May 30, 31

The Columbia River and its ancient inhabitant, the sturgeon, will be honored May 30 and 31 at the 13th annual Sturgeon Festival at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way in Vancouver, Washington. It’s a family oriented celebration that includes a bird presentation, puppet shows, Portland Audubon’s “Birds of Prey,” a Reptile Zoo and Chinook Indian Tribal Lore.

Kickoff Event for the Missouri River Water Trail

A water trail paddle, sponsored by Missouri River Expeditions of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is scheduled for Saturday, June 6. The paddle will showcase the development of the Missouri River Water Trail. The first 24 registered participants can participate for $20, and those bringing their own kayaks or canoes can join for free.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Featured Stop: Fort Belle Fontaine Park

Established in 1805 near the confluence of the Missouri River and the Mississippi River, Belle Fontaine was the first U.S. military post located in the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. It served as a “factory” or trading post for local Sac, Fox and other American Indian tribes. The Lewis and Clark Corps of discovery stayed at the site on September 22, 1806, the night before their triumphant return to St. Louis.

Situated in what used to be the prairie belt of St. Louis County, the old 30 acre agricultural plot again consists of prairie grasses and wildflowers.

Fort Belle Fontaine Park
13002 Bellefontaine Rd
St. Louis, MO 63138

Missouri River journey aims to help wounded veterans

Dan Cook, 38, has a non-profit agency in Utah that provides recreational rehabilitation for active and discharged military personnel. To publicize his efforts he's taking a 3,700-mile journey by boat from the headwaters of the Missouri River in Western Montana to the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal Judge considers breaching Snake River dams

Many agree that the salmon species on the Columbia River and its tributaries is endangered, and much time and effort has been applied towards developing a consensus around a possible solution. The game has changed with the change in administration, and this story from the Los Angeles Times brings you up to date.

As with everything, there are trade-offs involved. Everyone wants to see the Salmon thrive, but who will be first to give up power generated by those dams?