College of Forestry

Global Trophic Cascades Program

The Lewis and Clark Project

Image removed.Wildlife along the Lewis & Clark Trail: A GIS approach

The Lewis & Clark journals of the 1804-1806 expedition contain some of the earliest and most detailed written descriptions of a large part of the United States before Euro-American settlement. Using the daily entries in the journals, we have developed a spatial database, recording and mapping wildlife distribution and abundance, various ecological observations as well as encounters with the Native population. We concentrated on nine of the larger mammals, since the members of the Corps of Discovery kept detailed records of animals hunted and seen along the trail. One of the objectives was to examine the relationship between wildlife observations and proximity to human settlements. The results show considerable human influence on wildlife, even under relatively low human population densities.

Click on the interactive map below to find out which wildlife species Lewis & Clark encountered day by day on their historic journey.

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Scientific Articles
Laliberte, A.S. and W.J. Ripple. 2003. Wildlife Encounters by Lewis and Clark: A Spatial Analysis of Interactions between Native Americans and Wildlife. BioScience 53(10):994-1003.

Related news articles
OSU student maps L&C wildlife observations (pdf). Corvallis Gazette-Times Mar. 28, 2003.

The Journals of the Lews & Clark Expedition - the full text of the journals is online as published and edited by Gary Molton

Related research documenting changes in species distribution on a continental scale can be found in Laliberte and Ripple (2004) and on the range contraction webpage.