River Maps: Upper Missouri River

The Upper Missouri River watershed (for me, defined as the portion of the river from its headwaters to its confluence with the Big Sioux). This portion of the river was a convenient shape to fit into my atlas and onto a poster. I find the drainage patterns fascinating: zones of north-south alongside zones of east-west.

In making this, I learned how many towns in the West are not on rivers, but on railroads instead. By the time much of this area was settled, the railroad was a better option for transportation. I probably knew this already, but I never really thought about it until I realized how many places I was leaving off the map because they weren’t on the major rivers in the area.

In making this map I also caught an error in the National Atlas, which is one of my main data providers in the US government — they had the Marias River marked as the Marais River. I’ve been relying on them a lot up to this point, so hopefully they don’t have too many other errors that I’ve propagated.

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