[graphic] NPS Arrowhead and link to NPS.gov [graphic] Lewis and Clark Expedition
[graphic] Expedition Home  [graphic] List of Sites  [graphic] Itineraries home
 [graphic] Maps  [graphic] Essays  [graphic] Learn More   [graphic] NR Home
[graphic] Property Title

Offical symbol of the National Park Service's Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Image courtesy of Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Two hundred years later, what can be found on the Lewis and Clark Trail today? The pathway taken by these explorers has been greatly altered over the past two centuries. Highways cross the continent where once only American Indian trails and rivers were used for travel and communication. Towns and cities founded by American pioneers moving westward have altered the landscape, and the courses of rivers--such as the Missouri--have been altered by dams, in some instances forever covering campsites once used by the Corps of Discovery. There are however large areas such as Nez Perce National Historical Park that remain relatively unspoiled. Historian Dayton Duncan notes that "Without a doubt, the most unchanged section of the entire Lewis and Clark route is the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River in north-central Montana--a stretch of the river, now protected by Congress, that is only accessible by boat (usually canoe). This is the place, with its eerie sandstone formations, that Lewis described as 'scenes of visionary enchantment' ." The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail traces the route of the explorers as closely as possible given these changes over the years. Today you can follow in the approximate footsteps of Lewis and Clark, by boat, canoe, or kayak, by car or bus, on foot or bicycle, or by train, exploring the route they traveled and reliving the adventure of the Corps of Discovery.

President Bush ushering in the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial from the East Room in the White House
Photo courtesy of the White House

On July 3, 2002, President Bush was joined by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and other cabinet members in the East Room of the White House to usher in the Bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery. Across the nation events commemorating the bicentennial of the expedition have begun and will continue through 2006. President Bush remarked that "American history is filled with remarkable examples of heroism and adventure, and the voyage of Lewis and Clark is one of the most remarkable of them all."

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton with National Park Service Director Fran Mainella and park rangers in front of the Corps of Discovery II at its debut at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia
Photo from LewisandClark200.gov

The National Park Service's unique contribution to the bicentennial--the Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future--is a traveling education center that will recreate the epic journey and be the unifying component for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial observance. Over the next four years it will make stops in large urban areas, American Indian reservations and small towns along the original Corps of Discovery's route, and later travel to areas off the original trail from Florida to Texas, Minnesota to California. The traveling exhibit includes two interpretive tents with displays and a performance tent-- the Tent of Many Voices--with space for demonstrations, lectures, cultural presentations and audiovisual shows. Performances will be provided in partnership with American Indian tribes, State governments, local agencies, the private sector and other Federal agencies. The nation's commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition began with the debut of the Corps of Discovery II at Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, on January 14, 2003.

[photo] Superintedant Gerard Baker in front of the traveling exhibit Corps of Discovery II, which will cross 19 States during the commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial
Photo from LewisandClark200.gov

Time magazine estimates that approximately 25 million travelers will traverse the route of Lewis and Clark from 2004 to 2006. Communities around the country are planning local events to commemorate their place in the history of the expedition. Fifteen communities from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Astoria, Oregon, have been selected by the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial as sites for national heritage signature events. Each community was chosen for its place in the expedition's chronology, its historical relevance, cultural diversity, tribal involvement, geographic location and sponsoring organizations' capacity. Information about these signature events, as well as news and announcements about the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, can be found at www.lewisandclark200.org. Examples include:

  • The Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, will host a 13-day signature event from October 14-26, 2003, which will open with the reenactment of Lewis's arrival in Louisville and meeting with William Clark on October 14, 1803. It will close with the reenactment of the Corps' departure from Clarksville on October 26.
  • On March 12-14, 2004, in St. Louis, Missouri, the National Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee and the National Park Service will host an international ceremony observing the 200th anniversary of the transfer of the Louisiana Territory from Spain to France to the United States. Activities at sites surrounding the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site will feature the cultures of the Louisiana Territory-French, Spanish, Anglo-American and American Indians through interactive displays relating the legacies of these cultures in America and highlighting the roles of each in today's world. Information about this event can be found at http://louisianapurchase.umsl.edu.
  • On May 14, 2004, the communities of Hartford and Wood River, Illinois, will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's final departure from its winter encampment at Camp River DuBois. Discovery Expedition reenactors will trace the steps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, leaving the Camp River DuBois winter quarters to launch their boats from the eastern bank of the Mississippi into the mouth of the Missouri River to begin their journey into the West. By this date a new Lewis and Clark Visitor Center and Camp River DuBois fort replica in Hartford will be complete. To find out more about this three-day event go to www.lewisandclarkillinois.org
  • From November 24-27, 2005, there will be a symbolic walk across the four-mile bridge to Astoria, Oregon, from the Fort Clatsop National Memorial. The walk is one of several events cosponsored by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark and Fort Clatsop honoring the Corps of Discovery's historic arrival at the Pacific Ocean at Station Camp and the winter encampment at Ft. Clatsop.
  • An event on August 17-20, 2006, in New Town, North Dakota will mark the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery's return to the Knife River Indian Villages. This event offering American Indian perspectives will contrast the hopes and dreams of President Thomas Jefferson with those of tribal leaders who met Lewis and Clark and focus on the contributions of Sacagawea. For those seeking further information, please go to www.mhanation.com.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially ended September 23, 1806, when the explorers arrived in St. Louis, Missouri. A flotilla of watercraft will travel to various historic sites on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in commemoration of this bicentennial event. These historic sites will present exhibits and conduct programs during the commemorative weekend. See the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site for more information.

One of the many items you will see in the Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition is Meriwether Lewis's telescope made by William Cary of London post-1790, from the Missouri Historical Society Collections
Photo by David Schultz, courtesy of Missouri Historical Society
In addition to the 15 signature events, many States and communities are also hosting events commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Missouri, the starting point for Lewis and Clark into the largely uncharted West, offers a number of venues to explore the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Missouri's events can be found at www.lewisandclark.state.mo.us/ or www.mohistory.org. The Missouri History Museum at Forest Park hosts Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition, from January 20 through September 6, 2004. This is the opening venue of the national exhibition organized by the Missouri Historical Society. Events commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Iowa and Nebraska can be found at www.lewisandclarkne-ia.com. These include the annual Sgt. Floyd Re-enactment Days every August in Sioux City, Iowa. The South Dakota State Historical Society and the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will host an online exhibition tour combining photos and Lewis and Clark journal entries with modern visual images and historic renderings.

Pompey's Pillar, just one of the places around the country where an event will be held to commemorate the expedition
Photo from Bureau of Land Management

Information on North Dakota events during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial can be found at www.ndlewisandclark.com. Montana will host a Lewis and Clark Festival from June 25-29, 2003, to highlight events of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during their stay in Great Falls in 1805, and Clark Day on July 26-27, 2006, at Pompey's Pillar. An entire list of statewide events can be found online at Lewis and Clark in Montana. In Oregon, a play about Sacagawea was performed in January 2003 by the Oregon Children's Theatre (OCT). The play, written by nationally recognized playwright Eric Coble, tells how Sacagawea joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In June 2004, People of the River will debut--an exhibit focusing on the American Indians who lived on the rivers from the mouth of the Snake to the Pacific Ocean. The result of a collaborative effort between the Portland Art Museum and the National Museum of American Indians (part of the Smithsonian Institution), this 100-year-old collection of exclusively American Indian artifacts has never been on exhibit or published in journals. This and other events hosted throughout the Northwest can be found on the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Oregon or Washington State Historical Society websites.

If you are interested in participating in the Lewis and Clark commemoration and traveling the trail yourself, you will find helpful links to websites that list events in each State and nationally on our Learn More page.

 [graphic] Earlier Exploration  [graphic] Scientific Encounters
 [graphic] Preparing for the Journey  [graphic] American Indians
 [graphic] The Journey  [graphic] The Trail Today

Expedition Home | List of Sites | Maps| Learn More | Itineraries | NR Home
Essays: Earlier Explorations | Preparing for the Journey | The Journey |
Scientific Encounters | American Indians | The Trail Today

Journal Citations
Comments or Questions