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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

4. Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge: It took the Corps of Discovery two weeks in the spring of 1805, to cover the land now contained by the refuge during their trip west. This isolated prairie grassland marked their transition from flat open land to rocky, river bottom soil. The new land was spotted with sagebrush and populated by weathered sandstone and ponderosa pines. Wildlife was abundant and the expedition never wanted for food. Here they spotted bighorn sheep and the “white bear.” They described the grizzly bear as a “white bear” because of the white highlights in the adult bear's fur. Lewis and Clark named the White Bear Islands near Great Falls in honor of the fierce bears that they came to admire and later fear,

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