Natural Resources, School of


Document Type


Date of this Version

Summer 1981


Nebraska History (summer 1981) 62(2): 261-263


These two books outline the fascinating history of the exploration of the western United States by United States Army topographers and by civilian natural scientists from 1819 to 1879. These two groups, working either together under Army supervision or separately in military and civilian independent surveys, prepared topographic and geologic maps and natural history studies of most of the territory west of the Mississippi River. These maps and studies provided valuable information to settlers and to commercial and government groups involved in opening the west to development, and dispelled many myths concerning previously unexplored regions. They also helped lead to the establishment of Yellowstone and other western national parks and started discussions on water and other natural resource policies for the west that continue today.