New Campsite for the Jefferson River Canoe Trail

Canoe, canoe!

We are paddling a dugout canoe down the 2,341-mile Missouri River from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri in support of this fundraiser to purchase a new campsite for the public on the Jefferson River Canoe Trail.
The Jefferson is one of three main tributaries that come together to form the Missouri River, and both rivers form an essential segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  Lewis and Clark named the Jefferson River in honor of our third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Land is expensive along the Jefferson River, and we were fortunate to raise $270K in grants and donations for our last campsite acquisition, a beautiful 30-acre parcel which was named "Lost Tomahawk " by local school kids in reference to events from the journals of Lewis and Clark. 

Our present campaign goal is to raise at least $38,722 as seed money to make a down payment on a new property and to provide the critical mass necessary to secure grants and additional donations to complete the purchase. 

Why $38,722? That was the total cost of the 1803-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition according to final accounting by Meriwether Lewis.

Will you make a pledge of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more? Big or small, every contribution helps!

About the Expedition
Last year I, Tom Elpel, had the privilege of carving a dugout canoe with Churchill Clark, the great-great-great-great grandson of Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and this year I am leading a six-month "Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery ," as we seek to rediscover the land and people along this segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Instead of racing to get to the finish line, we are taking time to explore the geographical landscape and geology, along with the indigenous and newly integrated flora, fauna, and human habitations. 

The public is invited to follow us online   as we post updates about our journey and ping our nightly campsites along the way. Come find us and paddle along for a day or two of the journey!

--> Above all, please take a moment right now to make a pledge of support for the Jefferson River Canoe Trail and help us reach our goal before we reach St. Louis. Thank you!

About Thomas J. Elpel - Expedition Leader
      Tom Elpel is the author of Participating in Nature , Botany in a Day , and numerous other books on nature, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He is the founder of Green University®, LLC , providing wilderness skills classes for adults, as well as Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC (OWLS)  through which he provides immersive nature connection experiences for public school kids. Tom is president of the Jefferson River Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and founder of the Jefferson River Canoe Trail.

      The Missouri River Expedition is the coalescence of several separate dreams. As an empty-nester, Tom was ready for a big adventure, either hiking, biking, or paddling in 2019. He has been working through a bucket list item to paddle every Class I river in Montana, which includes the Missouri River, and once started, why not do the whole thing? Moreover, Tom has wanted to carve a dugout canoe for decades, a dream that came to light in 2018 when he partnered with Churchill Clark, direct descendant of William Clark, to handcraft Belladonna Beaver , the dugout canoe. All these factors dovetail with Tom's work on the Jefferson River Canoe Trail and his desire to explore, document, and preserve the natural wonders of the land for future generations. 

Meet all six members of the Expedition 

Links for Additional Information
Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery Overview 
Expedition Logistics 
Recommended Reading about the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Follow our Expedition on Facebook! 

--> Please scroll to the top of the page and pledge your support now. THANK YOU!

See videos of our dugout canoe:

Like what we are doing?
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Donations (0)

  • Courtney Taylor 
    • $25 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 6 mos
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Tom Elpel 
Pony, MT
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Inc (Jefferson River Canoe Trail) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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