Missouri River: River of Opportunity
By Brett Dufur
Excerpted from the book
& Clark's Missouri, available from
Todayís Missouri River offers many exciting ways to
explore the Lewis & Clark Trail. As the Bicentennial
Commemoration of Lewis & Clarkís 1804 Ė 1806
voyage showed, itís incredible how few people venture out on the
Missouri River. In fact, you could argue that the Missouri River valley (the
river and its banks) is the least trod ground in Missouri.
Travel on the river that gave the state its name. Here we are in the
state where Lewis & Clark for all practical purposes began and ended their
trip. The Missouri River was Lewis & Clarkís superhighway to the West. Yet
today, although many people enjoy Missouri River views, few realize the
countless ways to enjoy and to interact with the Missouri River valley.
The Missouri River has developed what I call the Grand Canyon Syndrome.
That is, people drive up to see it, get out of their air-conditioned cars
and photograph it. Perhaps they walk along its banks for a bit, but then
they get back in their cars and move on to the next spot. Been there, done
The bicentennial rekindled many people's interest in Lewis & Clark. The
Missouri River of today offers a golden opportunity for people to not only
reconnect with the Missouri River valley, but the Missouri River itself.
Today, perhaps more than at any other time in the past 200 years, save for
the riverboat days, there are more ways for landlocked Missourians to
explore the Lewis & Clark Trail.
For so many years the river has taken a back seat to our rush for
progress. And so, it only seems appropriate, that in this time of
uncertainty, that nature would regain its prominent place in our psyche.
There are many opportunities available for those wanting to explore the
Missouri River, to see the river from the exact same vantage point as Lewis
And after all, you canít say youíve done the Lewis & Clark Trail if
you havenít gotten your feet wet. That trail is the Missouri River.
Everyone is busy with the phrase "Lewis & Clark Stood Here." Sort of odd,
considering they were moving by water. The river is where their greatest
mishaps and also most serene moments occurred.
Perhaps instead of using the phrase "Lewis & Clark Stood Here," it would
be more beneficial if the slogan of Missouriís Bicentennial were "Lewis &
Clark Rowed Here." After all, even the Division of Tourismís theme of
"Missouri: Where the Rivers Run," seems an apt nod that the rivers are where
itís at. If the Missouri motto were "Lewis & Clark Rowed Here," we could
blanket both banks with spots that would suddenly gain much needed notoriety
for the river. Photo ops would increase immeasurably!