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Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission
January 2006


Lewis and Clark Trail Extension

Kentuckians are excited about extending the official Lewis and Clark Trail to include the eastern states, and the Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission is dedicated to accomplishing this important task.

The year 2006 presents an unprecedented opportunity for the states of the eastern United States to give a gift of legacy to future generations. More and more, citizens and historians are coming to realize the vast significance and rich history of the eastern trail that Lewis and Clark traveled before and after their journey to the west.

Leaving from Washington, D.C., in 1803, Meriwether Lewis made important stops in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. While the western portion of the expedition was remarkable for its numerous difficulties and discoveries, the preceding journey from the nation’s capital to St. Louis offers important insights about the planning, preparation, and execution of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Similarly, the Homecoming trail taken in 1806 from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., speaks volumes not only about the Expedition but the country’s view of its returning heroes as well. The Eastern Homecoming Trail includes the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission is moving forward in promoting the extension of the Lewis and Clark Trail to officially include the Eastern Legacy States. In sponsoring legislation on the state and national level, the commission is interested in capturing the momentum of the bicentennial to leave a legacy for future Americans in the eastern states.

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Commission urges individuals across the nation to support extension of the Lewis and Clark Trail and encourages citizens of the Eastern Legacy States, as well as our friends in the Western Legacy States, to contact their representatives on the state and national level to promote this important mission.

If you have any questions regarding Kentucky’s effort to extend the Lewis and Clark Trail, please contact Warren Greer by e-mail at warren.greer@ky.gov or by phone at (502) 564-5135 ext. 4478.



Homecoming Series of Events

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission is gearing up for the 2006 Homecoming Series of Events. In November of next year, Kentucky will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the return of the Corps of Discovery from their journey to the west. Both Lewis and Clark traveled directly through the heart of the commonwealth on their way to Washington, D.C., to report to President Thomas Jefferson.

This was a remarkable journey through Kentucky in a number of ways. First, the Lewis and Clark Expedition had essentially been given up for dead. Whether they had succumbed to Indians, the elements, or wild animals was a subject of much speculation in early-nineteenth-century America. When the expedition finally arrived in St. Louis, the entire nation rejoiced in its return. Indeed, when Lewis and Clark proceeded towards the nation’s capital, traveling through the commonwealth, they came home to a hero’s welcome. Imagine the marvelous stories that Kentuckian William Clark reported to his kinsmen and fellow Kentuckians about the arduous adventure he experienced!

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission encourages individuals and communities across the commonwealth to participate in the Homecoming Series of Events. The commission has made grant money available to support programming for this and other Lewis and Clark related projects. Educational programming, speaking events, archaeological digs, and exhibits are just a few of the wonderful programs that can occur. Don’t be left out of the fun! Plan something for your area.

See you on the trail!

Links:

Lewis and Clark Trail Map (Adobe PDF - 14KB)

2005- 2006 Lewis and Clark Grant (Adobe PDF - 263KB)



200 Years Ago on the Lewis and Clark Expedition . . .

“This morning I was awoke at an early hour by the discharge of a volley of small arms, which were fired by our party in front of our quarters to usher in the new year; this was the only mark of respect which we had it in our power to pay this celebrated day.”

- Meriwether Lewis, January 1, 1806
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New Year’s Day 1806 found Meriwether Lewis, his partner in discovery William Clark, and this brave band of explorers wintering on the Pacific Coast. Journal entries routinely begin with reports of rain, rain, and more rain! The sun was rarely seen and the damp, chilly conditions wore the men down both physically and mentally. The previous year’s winter experience with the Mandans was not repeated among the Clatsops and other local tribes. The explorers – even the black skinned York – and their depleted stock of trade goods failed to excite the area tribes, and relations were often strained. The captains made ethnographic and scientific observations and the men hunted and performed other duties. Their meager diet consisted primarily of elk. Dog occasionally appeared on the dinner table as well (William Clark confessed that he didn’t care for it). Salt making was conducted on the coast in order to season and preserve their food. Some of the Kentuckians put their experience to work and produced good quality salt. The highlight of the month might well have been a beached whale. It created such a sensation that even Sacagawea wanted to see it. January 1807 would find Lewis in Washington where William Clark, having stayed on in Kentucky until mid-December, would join him later that month. There, as the toast of the town and the nation, that miserable January of 1806 would be just an unpleasant memory.



Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission

phone: 502.564.1792

Created by executive order and administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission seeks to educate Kentuckians and the nation about Kentucky's important role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition; assist governments and organizations with their Kentucky- related Lewis and Clark bicentennial events and projects; and perform other duties that will highlight and commemorate Kentucky's significant contributions to this historic achievement.