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California National Historic Trail, Nevada | by mypubliclands
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California National Historic Trail, Nevada

The California National Historic Trail passes through 700 miles of BLM-managed lands in California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The trail was a mid-19th century highway for human movement to lures of gold and farmland in California. Numerous routes emerged in attempts to create the best available course. These fostered commerce and encouraged the development of transportation and communication networks. There were many changes in cultures of Native Americans along the way as hundreds of thousands of people and animals used the trail. Designated in 1992, this trail commemorates that which brought the country closer together and today offers auto touring, educational programs and visitor centers to present-day gold seekers and explorers. In 2012 BLM opened the California Trail interpretive Center along Interstate 80 near Elko for visitors to learn more about the trail’s history.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

 

In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began their journey along what is now the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The trail travels through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington. With significant assistance from American Indian tribes along the route, the expedition was able to map and explore extensive western lands acquired only one year earlier from France by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. Today, the BLM manages stretches of the trail which look essentially the same as when Lewis and Clark first saw them. The only remnant of the expedition is Captain Clark's signature at Pompey’s Pillar National Monument in Montana. The trail was designated in to recognize the route’s role in shaping the Nation’s identity. Today, thousands of visitors follow this 3,700-mile, 11-state route that extends from Camp Wood, Illinois, to the Oregon coast.

 

Idaho

In Idaho, the BLM manages 35 miles of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The area surrounding the trail traverses four habitats: river valleys, sagebrush grasslands, mountain forests and meadows and high desert canyons. Visitors here will be treated to incredible views of the Lemhi Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges; truly some of the finest scenery in America!

 

Still well-known for its colorful wildflower displays especially in spring and summer, Captain Lewis collected three new plant species around the Lemhi Pass including mountain maple, common snowberry and Lewis’s monkeyflower. Recreation opportunities for hiking, fishing and exploring abound throughout the high peaks of the Lemhi Range. Visitors here may also be lucky enough to spot elk, mule and whitetail deer, black bear, moose, pronghorn antelope, coyotes and many smaller mammal species. Early mornings and evenings are the times to look for wildlife, particularly where forest and meadow meet.

 

Montana

The BLM manages about 330 miles of land along the National Park Service's Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Of the 330 BLM-managed miles, 310 are in Montana and include the crown jewels of the trail- Pompeys Pillar and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monuments.

 

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.

 

National Historic Trails are extended trails that closely follow a historic trail or route of travel that is of national significance. The BLM identifies and protects the historic routes, remnants, and artifacts for public use and enjoyment.

 

National Scenic Trails are continuous, extended trails that pass through areas with significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural significance. They are managed by the BLM for outdoor recreation, conservation, and public enjoyment.

 

National Recreation Trails are located within parks, forests and other recreation areas and are reasonably accessible to urban or high-use areas. These trails are designated by the Secretary of the Interior or other delegated official.

 

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Taken on November 26, 2006