Boy Scout troop 466 from the San Francisco bay area donated a bateau (boat) to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center this afternoon. It was an impressive ceremony overlooking the Missouri River, and the weather was great.
This boat is a 2/3 size replica of the bateau or pirogue used on the Lewis & Clark expedition. To make things tie in even better, Lewis & Clark left their boat here when they came upriver in 1805.
The Boy Scout troop had the boat built at a maritime center in Buffalo, NY. From San Francisco to New York, with Montana in between! This boat has a lot of connections.
For the past three days, the Boy Scouts and their dads used the bateau and several canoes to float through the White Cliffs on the Upper Missouri River. When they got off the river at Judith Landing they shuttled back to Great Falls, then did a mini portage on the River’s Edge Trail and over to Giant Springs.
Their scoutmaster said they had a great river trip with only one canoe capsizing. He did tell the story that they almost missed the take-out at Judith Landing. He commented that they knew the next take-out was over 50 miles and that alone was a good incentive for a group of young scouts to scramble along the riverbank and pull that boat back to the take-out.
In addition to the Boy Scout troop from San Francisco, Gordon Rubard, executive director of the Montana Boy Scouts, spoke. He announced that there will now be a Lewis & Clark explorer merit badge and encouraged the scouts to spread the word to other scouts to come to Montana and float the river…and learn Lewis & Clark history.
Gordon also commented that it is the 101st anniversary of the Boy Scouts. And, the local chapter is the Lewis & Clark chapter. Lots of tie-in.
Speaking of numbers, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is just about ready to welcome their one millionth visitor and then they’ll start looking for the next million.
The scouts did a traditional ceremony of retiring the flag that flew on the bateau. Then they presented it to Jay Russell, executive director of the Lewis & Clark Foundation.
Acting Forest Supervisor Mike Munoz also spoke and applauded the young scouts for their passion in pursuing Lewis & Clark history and also experiencing outdoor recreation on the river.
This young scout played taps to end the ceremony. What a neat group of young men. It would be great to see many more following the Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana.