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This page last updated: 03/17/2011.


Missouri River in South Dakota

Most of The Traveling Morgans time in South Dakota has been spent in the scenic wonderland called The Black Hills.

The Missouri River flows from the border with North Dakota through the center of the state, essentially cutting South Dakota into two parts.

Based on this, those who live in South Dakota often refer to themselves as "East River" or "West River".

The weather is different, the attitudes are different, the land is different, and the rainfall is much less -- leading to different land usage.

Missouri River: The Original Gateway to the West

When you cross the Missouri River from the east, such as the picture below of the I-90 bridge, you are leaving the East behind and crossing into the American West.

The Missouri River is the serious river of the American West that you can reach from the east. If follow the rainfall from its source in Montana (and portions of Yellowstone National Park) to the Gulf of Mexico. Following this path and including the portion known as the "Lower Mississippi" it is 3870 miles and, the fourth longest river in the world.

Many scholars insist the "Lower Mississippi" sholuld be called the "Lower Missouri", that the "Upper Mississippi" is the tributary.

It was no accident the Lewis and Clark expedition followed the Missouri River.

At one time the Arkansas was a rival river for approaching the West from the East, but is so drained by irrigation that it practically disappears in Kansas.

The other main rivers of the West are Rio Grande, Colorado, and Columbia.

Once the Missouri River flooded regularly. Today the Missouri River is heavily dammed and these dams actually supply half of the electricity used in South Dakota.

Missouri River Crossing I-90
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