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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: Both Capt. C. and myself corresponded in opinon with rispect to the impropriety of calling either of these [three] streams the Missouri and accordingly agreed to name them after the President of the United States and the Secretaries of the Treasury and state. 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.

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