The National Wildlife Service is celebrating the 100th birthday of its national wildlife refuge system. Part of the system in western Iowa, the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge, is seeing more visitors these days, following in some very old tracks. Outdoor Recreation director Bruce Weber says people are following the 200-year-old trail of Lewis and Clark.They retrace the route, some by boat, motorhome, motorcycle and with families. The center, on Iowa’s western border near the town of Missouri Valley, holds a restored riverboat that sank, full of cargo, in 1865. Today it attracts families, teachers, and other historians.We know where all the cargo came from and when it was made, whereas a lot of museums have old things that spent years in an attic and they don’t know much about them. Weber says some of the prominent stories featured at the refuge are being “re-interpreted,” replacing older headline exhibits.The Lewis & Clark expedition passed by that location in 1804 and in a few years the entire national Fish and Wildlife system will observe the bicentennial of that epic voyage. Weber says curators are already putting together special exhibits and events for that 200-year anniversary. Lake DeSoto was created when navigators straightened out a big bend in the Missouri River in 1959.
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