February 19, 2002
The historic view of
the Crimson Bluffs described in 1805 by Capt. Meriwether Lewis is
largely unchanged today. And it’s going to stay that way
thanks to the Crimson Bluffs Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail
Chapter members in
Townsend, Montana, today announced the conclusion of more than 12
months work that resulted in 50 acres of land at the bluffs moving into
the Crimson Bluffs Chapter said Lewis and Clark enthusiasts recognized
several years ago that the bluffs would be a target for development.
The land above the bluff, sage brush and sparse grass, is very fragile,
Helmick said. Nonetheless, property in the area began to change hands,
prices climbed and it was subdivided into smaller parcels and put on
“We really have Steve
Ambrose to thank,” Helmick said. “He was here in
1997 talking about the Lewis and Clark Trail,” and the
potential interest the Crimson Bluffs would attract.
Slowly, Crimson Bluffs
Chapter members rounded up support in their drive to save the area from
development. The recent agreement includes the Crimson Bluff and about
200 yards of land on either side of the bluff, Helmick said. The
Chapter also received support from the national Lewis and Clark Trail
Heritage Foundation, The Conservation Fund, The River Network and
Montana’s Congressional Delegation of Sen. Conrad Burns (R),
Sen. Max Baucus (D), and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).
The site will be
managed by the Bureau of Land Management from its field office in
Butte. The acquisition was wrapped up Feb. 15, 2002 in Helena. A formal
dedication is planned for the week of July 24 to coincide with the time
of year the Lewis and Clark Expedition came through and saw the Crimson
Bluffs. The expedition passed the Crimson Bluffs on July 24, 1805.
the support we received from Montana’s Congressional
Delegation along with local support from Broadwater County and the
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, this landmark will be
preserved for future generations,” said Rick Hotaling, the
BLM field manager in Butte. The Conservation Fund facilitated the
acquisition until BLM was allocated funding from the Land and Water
protecting the area from roads, houses and fences that would totally
detract from the area,” Helmick said.
Because of the
popularity of Lewis and Clark and the coming Bi- centennial of the
1803-06 Expedition, residential development has already started
immediately upstream and downstream from the Crimson Bluffs.
“There are some houses being built right now, but this will
give people a view of the Crimson Bluffs that the Lewis and Clark
Expedition had when they came through,” Helmick said.
The Crimson Bluffs
project will likely be accessible only by foot traffic. The best view
of the Crimson Bluffs is from the Missouri River, heading upstream in
early morning light.
“Capt. Clark actually
didn’t see the Crimson Bluffs when they came
through,” Helmick said. “He was walking along the
shore at that time up on the top of the bluff.” It was Capt.
men, Sacagawea and Pomp who had the best view from their