In the footsteps of Lewis and Clark

Monday, June 28, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 23, 2008

The same path William Clark followed to get a view of the Missouri and Osage rivers is now open to the public.

Clark’s Hill/Norton State Historic Site opened at the end of May. From the bottom of the hill to the top, there are 10 interpretive panels that explain historical and environmental aspects of the paths. At the end of the path you can see out over the rivers. You can also see a rock where Meriwether Lewis and Clark carved their initials.

“It was typical for Lewis and Clark to use hills to try to see down the river,” said Bob Meinen, deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks. “They didn’t have maps.”

Bill and Carol Norton owned the land for 30 years before donating it to the department. They said their motivation in donating it was to ensure the land would be protected and preserved.

Frank St. Claire, district supervisor for the department, said the new site is wonderful for families.

“It’s a way for families to have fun and incorporate natural and cultural features of our state,” he said.

Meinen said the Clark’s Hill site offers a variety of interest points. He said if you take your time, you can spend all day quietly enjoying the area. It is a good location for bird-watching, especially for watching larger birds such as bald eagles and raptors. “It’s a good time to have some discussions about pioneers who settled this land,” he said.

David Kelly, director of the marketing development program for the Missouri Division of State Parks, and his wife took their three daughters hiking up the hill. The girls range in age from 3 to 10 years old.

“It went pretty good,” said 10-year-old Megan Kelly. “I like seeing the site of the Osage and Missouri rivers.”

Three-year-old Olivia took her backpack and carried it all the way up the hill. Her sister Emma found a snail and carried it to the end of the trail before letting it go.

“It’s a really nice, beautiful site,” Megan said. “It has nice wildlife and you get interesting facts and stuff.”

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