Northwest Passage

Northwest Passage (HM2BE8)

Location: Missoula, MT 59802 Missoula County
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Country: United States of America
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N 46° 52.14', W 113° 59.82'

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Captain Lewis in the Missoula Valley

Since the late 1400s and the time of Columbus, explorers from all over the world eagerly sought to discover the legendary water route, or "Northwest Passage," that was rumored to bisect the resource-rich interior of the North American continent.
As late as 1803, President Jefferson's long list of instructions to Captain Meriwether Lewis included:
"The object of your mission its to explore the Missouri River..." and to determine "... the most practicable water communication across this continent for the purpose of commerce."

But on July 4th, 1806, while traveling through the Missoula Valley on his return to St. Louis, a disappointed Captain Lewis finally concluded that the most practical route between the Missouri River (east of the Rocky Mountains) and the Columbia River (west of the Rocky Mountains) was by land, following hundreds of miles of trail over difficult terrain. Lewis and Clark's western explorations helped put the 300-year-old "Northwest Passage" myth to rest.

(sidebar on right:)

After Lewis & Clark

Fifty-three years later (1859) Lieutenant John Mullen was put in charge of constructing a primitive military road between the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. The road would also allow important supplies to be transported

to the new settlements between the two great rivers.
Mullan first determined that Lewis and Clark's suggestions for a road were unfeasible. Mullan's well researched route was much more practical, but was still a whopping 624 miles long, and often took over two months to travel by wagon. Sections of the Mullan Road are still in use in Washington, Idaho and Montana - including Missoula.
HM NumberHM2BE8
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 16th, 2018 at 11:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12T E 271601 N 5194968
Decimal Degrees46.86900000, -113.99700000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 46° 52.14', W 113° 59.82'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds46° 52' 8.4" N, 113° 59' 49.2" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)406
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 123 Carousel Dr, Missoula MT 59802, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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