Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Big Muddy Volunteers continue blazing trail
Midwest Region, February 21, 2004
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The Lewis and Clark Trail of Discovery is a little longer and closer to completion thanks to the help of some dedicated volunteers. The trail is located on the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Jameson Island Unit. This unit of the refuge is adjacent to the town of Arrow Rock, Mo.

On a mild February day, more than 30 volunteers participated in construction of the trail. Volunteers ranged in age from 8 to 68, they included Scout troop 67 out of Boonville Missouri who had spent the previous night camping in Arrow Rock State Historic Site campground, near the trail. Other volunteers included Kathy Borgman from the Friends of Arrow Rock, and Tom Beamer, Arrow Rock mayor.

"This trail is really going to be a bonus for town," said Beamer, "Arrow Rock has needed a way to get to the river". A host of other volunteers included Friends of Big Muddy, and Helias High school students.

Arrow Rock is a historic community founded because it was located on a bluff directly above the Missouri River. At its founding the river was the mass transit of the day, but like many other river towns advances in technology brought change. The river itself changed, through channelization and land accretion the river moved a mile away from town. Farm fields and roads still connected the town to the river but the floods of ?93 and ?95 changed even that link to the river. The refuge was established here in 1995 and the bottoms below Arrow Rock have been allowed to return to a natural state. This completely severed the town's link to the river except for those few hardy souls willing to brave the mile of brush and briars.

In the fall of 2002 a volunteer project was started up with Friends of Big Muddy, Friends of Arrow Rock and refuge staff to build a connection back to the river. The trail was dubbed the Lewis and Clark Trail of Discovery because of its link to the famous exploration and projected completion in the bicentennial year. The trail will be used by the reenactment crew scheduled to visit Arrow Rock on June 9, 2004, exactly 200 years from when the original crew passed this point.

Volunteers worked on placing down geo-textile and then a fine rock chat to make the trail accessible to all. When completed the trail will be almost one mile long and end up on a bench adjacent to the mighty Missouri. Further volunteer projects are scheduled with completion of the trail set for April of this year. When completed the trail will have been constructed with 90 percent volunteer labor.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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