Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research17:2 (Fall 2007). Copyright ©2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Biologists, anthropologists, and land managers have at least two primary reasons for digging deeply into the journals of early explorers and inhabitants of an area. One is pure enjoyment, the kind that comes with learning from firsthand observers about the environment, people, flora, and fauna that existed over a century ago. Another is coming to a better understanding of the development of the ecosystems on which we now depend, and thereby gaining insights into how to achieve the elusive goal of sustainable land management while protecting the biological diversity that remains. Accessing this information is taxing, occurring as it does in paragraphs here and there in hard-to-find books that frequently are difficult to read. Severson and Sieg have done it, however, for a large chunk of the northern Great Plains.