Lewis And Clark Urinated Here State Park

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Friday, November 15, 2002

from the rest-stop-of-discovery dept.

ARROW ROCK, MO -- With the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition rapidly approaching, folks from one end of the Louisiana Purchase to the other are doing anything they can to memorialize the event... and gain fame in the process.

Mr. Ernest Wrullens, owner of 40 acres next to the Missouri River, believes that Meriwether Lewis and/or William Clark answered nature's call somewhere on his land. He has employed sophisticated GPS equipement and ground-penetrating radar to prove his point and to convince the State of Missouri to acquire his land and turn it into a park.

"Yep, I know for a fact that the Corps of Discovery used my plot of land as a rest area on their way up the river in 1804. It happened right here," Wrullens said as he pointed to a shallow spot next to an oak tree on a small bluff overlooking the river. "I have the satellite telemetry and the chemical trace analyses to prove it."

At a particular spot 104.3 feet from the river's edge, Wrullens found traces of urine about 16 inches below the ground. Careful study of the soil strata suggests that something happened here about 200 years ago to disturb the ground. "Either Clark relieved himself here, or some Indian wandered by 200 years ago and went to the bathroom here. Either way, this is definitely an historic site," he said.

A group of Mizzou professors that looked over Wrullens' work gave mixed reviews of his theory. "Maybe a deer came by a few months ago and made himself at home there," one archaeology professor said. "Since no artifacts were found -- and since Clark didn't keep notations in his journal that marked the exact locations where he peed -- we'll never know." A colleague, however, was not so quick to dismiss the idea that the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped here to do their business. "We know from the journals that several members of the crew got a little drunk before they left camp five miles downriver. It would seem logical that one or more of them would need to go the bathroom at about this spot."

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not evaluated the site, but a spokesman said the agency would seriously consider making the area a state park if the landowner could provide some sort of evidence that the expedition stepped foot on his land. "We will make it a state park even if they didn't go to the bathroom there -- or even if nothing of any importance happened there whatsoever. Just as long as Lewis, Clark, or somebody from the group were in the area... well, that's enough justification to secure a Federal grant to turn this into a full-fledged state park complete with Braille trail, multi-million dollar interpretive center, and a paved 10-acre parking lot."