Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration

Article excerpt

It was less than 200 years ago that the heroic expedition of the Corps of Discovery began, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark. Thirty- three people traveled with the two explorers into unknown territory, starting near what is now known as Wood River, Illinois in 1804 and reaching the Pacific Ocean by 1805. Today's trail follows their route as closely as possible, spanning approximately 3,700 miles, beginning near Wood River and passing through portions of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Although the official beginning of the Bicentennial is still two years away, planning and preparation for commemorative events and other activities have been underway for several years, led and coordinated to a great degree by the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council and the Federal Interagency Lewis and Clark working group.

In observance of Lewis and Clark's journey, an estimated twenty-five million travelers will camp, drive, bike, paddle, ride, or walk in the explorers' footsteps during the bicentennial from 2003 through 2006. People will be encouraged to attend commemorative events, festivals, and re-enactments; to view films, video, and online productions: and to visit interpretive and cultural centers, museums, and parks.

The National Park Service, in collaboration with other federal agencies, private partners and supporters, will implement Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future, a mobile national park providing living history reenactments, interpretive programs, and natural and cultural history lessons. The Corps of Discovery II will begin its journey at Monticello on March 1, 2003, and visit the eastern cities in which Meriwether Lewis prepared for his voyage. A gala send-off celebration will be held at the White House on July 4, 2003. From Washington DC, Corps II will follow the route of Lewis and Clark across the United States to the Oregon coast and return to St. Louis on September 23, 2006 - 200 years after the date of return of the original Corps of Discovery. It will travel, as nearly as possible, the exact route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and will serve as an anchor for hundreds of local and regional commemorations. During the 1,309 days of its journey (March 1, 2003, to September 23, 2006), it will emphasize conservation, history, education, and reconciliation with Native Americans. …

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