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  • Missouri Headwaters State Park is a Montana state park that marks the official start of the Missouri River. It includes the Three Forks of the Missouri National Historic Landmark. It is located near Three Forks, Montana at an elevation of 4,045 feet. The Missouri starts at the confluence of the Jefferson River and Madison River. It is joined about 0.6 mile down stream by the Gallatin River. Lewis and Clark visited the site on July 28, 1805. Meriwether Lewis in his journal entry wrote: The Lewis and Clark decision not to call the Jefferson the Missouri has spurred debate over what is the longest river in North America since the Missouri and Mississippi are nearly identical in length. The Missouri traditionally had been called the longest river in North America. However, 72 miles of it have been trimmed off in re-channeling its streambed—mainly for the many hydroelectric power plants in the region— so that it is now sometimes referred as second to the Mississippi in terms of length. If the Jefferson were included in the Missouri length, it would technically still be considered the longest river by the USGS experts. The utmost headwaters of the Missouri are subject to debate but both locations ultimately drain into the Jefferson. Lewis on August 12, 1805 said he visited the headwaters on Trail Creek just above Lemhi Pass on the Continental Divide in the Beaverhead Mountains at around 8,600 feet which he described: Wikipedia

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