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LEWIS, CLARK AMONG THE BEARS ~ FIRST ENCOUNTERS (You are here) 
                                                                                                                                        

Map PLUS Lewis and Clark timeline of regional encounters (PDF)

America's Greatest Adventure!From a distance the grizzly bear was unfamiliar to science and Lewis and Clark:

October 7, 1804: Clark first saw “Tracks of white bear which was verry large.” on at the mouth of the Moreau River in north central South Dakota.

April 11, 1805 ( in the vicinity of Indian Hills Recreation Area - 31 miles west of Garrison, North Dakota: “ I walked on shore, saw fresh bear tracks…” Clark

April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota): “ we found a number of carcases of the Buffaloe lying along the shore, which had been drowned by falling through the ice in the winter and lodged on shore by the high water when the river broke up about the first of this month. we saw also many tracks of the white bear of enormous size, along the river shore and about the carcases of the Buffaloe, on which I presume they feed. We have not as yet seen one of these anamals, tho’ their tracks are so abundant and recent. The men as well as ourselves are anxious to meet with some of these bear.” Lewis


April 14, 1805 ( Crow Flies High Butte - 2 miles west of New Town, North Dakota): “ I joined the party at their encampment a little after dark . on my arrival Capt Clark informed me that he had seen two white bear pass over the hills shortly after I fired, and that they appeared to run nearly from the place where I shot.” Lewis

April 16, 1805 ( White Earth Bay Recreation Area - 25 miles NW of New Town, North Dakota): “ one black bear passed near the perogues and was seen by myself and the party but he so quickly disappeared that we did not shoot him-.” Clark

April 17, 1805 ( Lewis and Clark State Park - 16 miles east of Williston, North Dakota): “tho’ we continue to see many tracks of the bear we have seen but very few of them, and those are at a great distance generally runing from us; I therefore presume that they are extreemly wary and shy; the Indian account of them dose not corrispond with our experience so far.” Clark

The Indians warned Lewis and Clark about the Grizzly Bear, which they never attacked unless they were in a party of six to eight men.

April 18, 1805 ( Tobacco Garden Recreation Area - 28 miles north of Watford City, North Dakota): “ we camped in an excellent harbor. Two men went up the river to Set their beaver traps they met with a Bear and being without their arms through prudent to return.” Clark

April 19, 1805 ( Tobacco Garden Recreation Area - 28 miles north of Watford City, North Dakota): “ Great deal of Sign of the Large Bear,-“

April 29, 1805 ( Big Muddy Creek, near Antelope, Montana): “about 8 A.M. we fell in with two brown bear; both of which we wounded; one of them made his escape, the other … killed him.” Lewis

This would be the first of many grizzly encounters for Lewis and Clark.


Although the Corps lived among the bears for much of their prairie journey from North Dakota to the Great Falls, Montana, the once common grizzly has declined dramatically, and is now found only in the foothills and mountains in the West. The only place on the entire Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail where you may be lucky enough to see a grizzly is at Lewis and Clark Pass on the Helena National Forest.

Lewis and Clark Pass (pass), Montana, United States

Grizzly bears are listed as a threatened species. The Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and western state wildlife agencies are working together on recovery plans to ensure that grizzly bears will survive.

Grizzly Map >>

History
Lewis & Clark 101
Lewis & Clark Biography 
Thomas Jefferson & Louisiana Purchase
Corps of Discovery
Lewis & Clark with Sacagawea
Lewis & Clark Among the Tribes
York, Clark's man-servant
Seaman, Lewis' Dog
Clark as Cartographer
Lewis as Botanist
Medical Aspects
Courts Martial
Geology on the Lewis and Clark Trail
Lewis and Clark 1806
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GPO 1991-557-779


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