WEHT: Lewis & Clark trail could come through Tri-State

Bill from Ind. Rep. Luke Messer passed the House last week

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Washington, August 1, 2018 | comments
Indiana Representative Luke Messer had a bill passed in the U.S. House last week which would expand the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail east, likely to include parts of Henderson and Evansville.
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The following story was published by WEHT on August 1, 2018.

Congress could bring a 200-year old trail back to the limelight and it might make a new tourist stop in the Tri-State. Roots of American exploration run through Henderson, Ky.

It’s hard to see it now, but what is now our backyard was once a gateway to America’s frontier traveled by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The trail they and their crew blazed two centuries ago could finally be coming home.

Indiana Representative Luke Messer had a bill passed in the U.S. House last week which would expand the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail east, likely to include parts of Henderson and Evansville.

Lewis and Clark’s journey from sea to shining sea pushed off in Wood River, Ill. near St. Louis in the early 1800s and that’s where the trail starts, but it's a long trip there from Washington D.C.

The explorers had to travel down the Ohio River just to start the two-year round-trip to the Pacific and back. Messer's Eastern Legacy Extension Act would grow the trail to almost 5,000 miles through 17 states, stretching from coast to coast.

The extension would connect Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Lewis and Clark traveled through the states on the Ohio River from 1804 to 1806.

“By recognizing the eastern portions of the Lewis and Clark expedition, we make the entire national trail stronger,” said Messer in a speech on the House floor.

Messer and Henderson historian Donna Spencer believe a national trail through the Tri-State can help tourism flourish.

“Samuel Hopkins was a good friend of Clark, and Hopkins was the father of Henderson,” said Spencer. “When you're travelling down a river in two small crafts, you stop at every chance you get to restock and visit friends.”

Hometown roots to American greatness in the cradle of discovery; right here in Henderson.

 

“They didn't show up at Wood River in a hot air balloon in a puff of smoke. The story isn't complete until we tell how they prepared for it, and what they did when they got back,” Spencer said.

 

Messer’s bill goes to the Senate for a vote.

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