Currently there is a single sign at this location that relates the story of Lewis being chased into the Missouri River by a grizzly bear. That sign is in bad condition and desperately needs replacing. With this project the interpretation will be expanded to a series of three double-sided signs that tell the story of this area before, during, and after the time of the Expedition.
An archaeological dig in this area several years ago uncovered an interesting story of this place that needs to be told. The area was used by prehistoric people for a camping area as they followed the migrations of the vast herds of plains animals. West Bank Park is near a natural ford in the Missouri River so it became a part of the much larger migration route of the buffalo, elk, deer and other plains animals—the Old North Trail.
In addition to the grizzly bear story, this area was used by the Expedition hunters for several days in late June as a camp and to process several buffalo they shot to feed the Expedition as they worked to portage the Great Falls of the Missouri.
We learned a valuable lesson on site interpretation during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial on the need to fit the Lewis and Clark story into its proper context of historical time and place. By expanding the interpretation of this location we will be putting that lesson to use.
The photo shows the existing sign location near the bank of the Missouri River near the place the grizzly chased Lewis into the river. A segment of the River's Edge Trail runs nearby. The new signs will be on the opposite side of the trail.