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Old 09-04-2014, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids
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I think an easier way to put this - is that the majority of the population in these states lives within the Gulf of Mexico Rain Shadow, which starts about halfway through these states, where it becomes fertile in the East. The trees are literally scientifically considered "Eastern" in this region as well. Places like Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Fargo - are NOT on the great plains. Go to the Western part of these states, you WILL not miss the difference from west to East.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valsteele View Post
It's not the east coast but the Midwest is almost entirely in the eastern half of the country. I think pretty much anyone would agree it has "more to do" with the east coast than with the distant west coast. Most of the Midwest's population could drive to New York City within a day.
Williston ND is a 16 hour drive from Seattle, and a 27 hour drive from New York City. Obviously Ohio is more influenced by what happens East, but not parts of the states you listed in your title. I'm not sure what eastern areas of The Midwest even have to do with this discussion - aren't we talking about the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas here? Have you been to those states?
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:29 PM
 
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It is Not humid in western South Dakota.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:06 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Originally Posted by valsteele View Post
Even though people like to consider them western I think of them as the western end of the East. Why?

1) They're considered part of an eastern region (The Midwest).
2) They have humid summers and cold winters, unlike the dry and mild states west of them. Nebraska has essentially the same climate as New England just a bit more extreme.
3) They're mostly farmland and human settlement as opposed to desert, mountain or scrub. The land in these states has an unmistakably eastern appearance to it. Much more like Kentucky, New York State etc than like Idaho, California or Montana with their ranches, palm trees, cacti etc.
4) Their residents identify with the states east of them more. The Dakotas are extremely connected to Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa are siblings and Kansas shares a major metro with Missouri. Their connections to Colorado, Montana and Wyoming are not strong.
5) Rather than being mostly libertarian, hippie or atheist like the West, they lean more towards conservatism, Christianity or in the case of being liberal are more religious left or socialist than hippie.
Point 1. I would say that the Midwest is considered the central region not a eastern region. And note the WEST in Midwest.

Point 3. Good point. I think you onto why many people in the West do not think of the Plains states as Western, even though historical they clearly were. Think Dodge City, the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, the vast herds of Buffalo and Pronghorn etc.. But today, the Plains tend to much more farmed and developed while much of the West is public land owned by the Federal government.

However, I do not think that Kansas or North Dakota looks like Kentucky or New York either. New York is from 50 to 60% forested for instance. And our farms tend to be irregular not the vast perfect spreads you see out on the plains. So to you in the West, the Plains states may look Eastern but not so much to those of us who live in the East.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LINative View Post

However, I do not think that Kansas or North Dakota looks like Kentucky or New York either. New York is from 50 to 60% forested for instance. And our farms tend to be irregular not the vast perfect spreads you see out on the plains. So to you in the West, the Plains states may look Eastern but not so much to those of us who live in the East.
Yeah I wouldn't say North Dakota looks like upstate New York, but if I had to choose I'd say it's more similar to NYS than it is to the moonscapes of Nevada.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fiddlestick View Post
It is Not humid in western South Dakota.
Rapid City is similar to Portland in terms of humidity I guess on average, but it does get muggy more often.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:39 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by valsteele View Post
Yeah I wouldn't say North Dakota looks like upstate New York, but if I had to choose I'd say it's more similar to NYS than it is to the moonscapes of Nevada.
Used to upstate NY and New England here. North Dakota looked like the west to me, not as dry as the interior deserts but still much more similar with its wide open endless spaces. And yes, got a bit moon-scapey to me. North Dakota is also extremely empty, with wide spaces between towns. Ditto with the other plains states, except for a few populated spots, especially in the eastern parts of the states.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:51 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valsteele View Post
Yeah I wouldn't say North Dakota looks like upstate New York, but if I had to choose I'd say it's more similar to NYS than it is to the moonscapes of Nevada.
I agree with what your saying.

I think a big part of the difference is that the Federal government chose to hold on to much more Federal lands in the Western states vs. in the Plains states. The Plains is actually where much of our western history and folklore came about - think movies like Dances with Wolves for instance.

Unfortunately the Old West of the Plains died out when it was plowed under.

But instead if they had saved more public lands in these states, for instance say a couple Adirondack type areas stretching from western Kansas north to the Dakotas, filled with free roaming buffalo, antelope, elk, and wild horses etc., patrolled by American Indian rangers, it would totally change our perception of these states.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cacto View Post
The dividing line between East and West runs through the middle of those states all the way down through the middle of Texas.
Dodge City KS and Deadwood SD are emblematic of the Old West.
Omaha might have some Northeastern type weather but I've been through Western Nebraska's prairie dotted with prickly pear that didn't look Eastern in the slightest.
This. There is not much Midwestern about Western Nebraska and South Dakota, and there is certainly nothing eastern about it. In South Dakota, the Missouri River is the dividing line. To the east, it's cornfields and farms. Cross the river and you see prairie grasses, hills and ranches.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids
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Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
You bet! The Badlands, Black Hills, etc., are very much Western/Plains. The rest of the states are very much Midwestern/Plains.

Side note: there are "desert" or sand prairie areas with tons of Prickly Pear cactus even in Wisconsin (like Spring Green Preserve: http://www.birddigiscoper.com/prickpearcactus.jpg), but I agree that in many areas of W NE this is more common than not, and the landscape is a Western transition.
This is correct ... the Prickly Pear is actually ONLY found in the Eastern United States and NOT the Desert Southwest, at least natively..



Again .. the majority of population in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota - does not lie within the arid Great Plains OR the High Plains, rather the western edge of the corn belt, or the Native Tallgrass Prairie - hence the culture still remaining Eastern for the majority of the population, regardless of the large unpopulated swaths of land to the west.

The Tallgrass Prairie extends from Eastern Nebraska, Dakotas, and across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana. Not to be confused with the arid Great Plains in the western parts of those "Plains States." Too common of a misconception, and the large difference is humidity and rain caused by the gulf of Mexico!



A simple population map shows why the states are at least *culturally* Midwestern, hence, more Eastern ... That's why you have things like the "Chicago-Kansas City Expressway" and places like Sioux Falls and Fargo with close ties to the Twin Cities.

Last edited by burrrrr; 09-05-2014 at 10:41 PM..
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