Scenic Missouri Valley

This scenic overlook provides a clear view of the valley of the Missouri River, the longest waterway in North America. To the west is the Gavins Point Dam and the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area. The dam was built to harness the fury of the river whose potential for havoc has been repeatedly demonstrated. In 1881 a torrent of crushing ice and water swept away the small village of Green Island on the Nebraska bottom opposite Yankton, South Dakota.

Across the river near Yankton may be seen the red bluffs and juniper trees which covered the "Butifull Plain" described by Lewis and Clark in 1804. Later observers indicated that the unusually thick stands of timber in 1804 had been thinned, possibly cut to provide fuel for steamboats. This region provided abundant game and natural vegetation to support the nomadic Sioux and the more sedentary Ponca and Omaha. The continued richness of the alluvial soil is reflected in the cultivated fields surrounding this point.

Today the beautiful plain depicted by Captain Clark flourishes under the protection of modern conservation and agricultural practices.



U.S. 81, c. 3 miles south of Yankton, South Dakota