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Searching for the Prairie of c. 1800

November 30, 2013

Buffalo Doug

Katie Kramon, a summer intern at the American Prairie Reserve, reflects on what she learned about the American prairie of the Middle West around the time of the Corps of Discovery:

A highlight of my time here was the chance to visit the reserve, about five hours northeast of Bozeman—closest to Malta, Montana. Its bison herd—now 270 strong, was a sight to behold, and the landscape was inspiring to say the least. Comparing what we see today, however, to what I envisioned when reading the Journals of Lewis and Clark, was a melancholy endeavor. The bison herd has quite a bit of growing to do before it reaches the 10,000-strong former herds, inspiring quotes like that of June 13, 1805: “From the extremity of this roling country I overlooked a most beatifull and level plain of great extent or at least 50 or sixty miles; in this there were infinitely…

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