The Modern Missouri, 200 Years after Lewis & Clark

Environmentalists Hope to Make Once-Wild River Less Tame

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A stretch of the Missouri river in Desota National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Greg Allen, NPR

A stretch of the Missouri river in Desota National Wildlife Refuge north of Omaha, Nebraska. Greg Allen, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Greg Allen, NPR
The Gavin's Point dam, forms Lewis and Clark Lake. Credit: Greg Allen, NPR

The Gavin's Point dam, built by the Army Corps of Engineers, forms Lewis and Clark Lake. Greg Allen, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Greg Allen, NPR

This summer, communities along the Missouri River are celebrating the expedition that literally put them on the map.

Two hundred years after Lewis and Clark made their trek up the Missouri and opened up the American West, the river has gone from a raging giant to a harnessed conduit. The once fearsome river has grown so docile that environmental groups want to see changes made that would restore the waterway to a more natural condition.

NPR's Greg Allen reports on the anniversary of Lewis and Clark's seminal adventure and the arguments over the river's future.

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