Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000): 85-87. Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This dialogue in Great Plains Research (GPR) is most welcome. It increases visibility of the historic status and significance of woodlands in the Platte River. In our article, we bring together the bulk of the information available on pre-settlement woodlands of the Platte River. We submitted to GPR because of its geographic focus and to invite peer-review of our work. Our paper is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject available. Despite protestations to the contrary by Currier and Davis, we remain convinced that the evidence presented supports the wooded river concept. We purposely chose the word "wooded" rather than "forested," incorrectly attributed to us by Currier and Davis (2000). "Wooded" was chosen to represent the naturally more open-grown nature of the woody plant communities along the Platte River, in contrast to more closed forest communities with higher tree densities and overlapping canopies that occur in more humid regions such as the eastern US. The more open communities of the Platte River in pre-settlement times-with scattered trees on outermost banks plus heavy timber on the large islands and willow thickets sprinkled with trees on small islands-clearly qualify as woodland in plant community parlance, even if interspersed with grassland on the higher, large islands.