1804-1806 Natural Missouri River
Traveling by keelboat and dugout canoes, Lewis and Clark and their party of soldiers and scouts explored, mapped and described in detail the entire length of the Missouri River as part of their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. At the time, the Missouri River functioned naturally, without man-made influences such as dams or channelization.
Lewis and Clark marveled at the river’s abundant wildlife and natural landscapes, and wrote descriptively about the river’s challenges to their mission. Soon after Lewis and Clark concluded their exploratory expedition, an array of commercial interests endeavored to take advantage of the river basin’s resources. Fur traders, gold miners, buffalo hunters and other fortune seekers were greatly aided by the river’s navigational opportunities.