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Old 05-22-2009, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,192,233 times
Reputation: 36465

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There were no tumbleweeds in the Old West. The plant we know as the tumbleweed was accidentally introduced into South Dakota in 1877, possibly in a load of flax-seed from the Ukraine, or possible from seeds imbedded in the wool if imported sheep.

So, the wagon trains, the pony express, the Indian wars, the early cattle drives, all took place without a single tumbleweed blowing across the plains.

In a panoramic view of the American West today, you would be able to identify almost nothing that was native and present when Europeans first started their move across the continent. Almost every plant species you would see was imported later, and crowded out the natives.
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,192,233 times
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Thinking more about this, I recall driving across western Kansas with a farmer. We crossed a bridge over a small stream, with steep banks maybe 6 feet high. I remarked how difficult it must have been to get a wagon train across such a river. He explained that in those days, the rivers did not have steep banks. That is from erosion caused by overgrazing. 200 years ago, the rivers and streams of the great plains had gentle grassy slopes down to the water.

It occurred to me that what we see today, can give us no sense at all of what the world must have been like to people even in fairly recent history.
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
11,150 posts, read 8,238,887 times
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I read somewhere that the Great Plains in the 1700's stretched from Wisconsin down to Northern Louisiana and across to Texas and up to Idaho with grass up to 6 ft tall blowing in the wind, and now the only native grasses are found in Yellowstone...
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,192,233 times
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There are a few places where it is preserved and protected in Kansas, too. The state of Illinois is nick-named "The Prairie State"---for a good reason.

Here is a wonderful map that nicely illustrates how the continent has changed.

(It won't let me attach the file---it keeps saying it is already attached. Ill try again later)

(I think it is impossible to attach the same file in two different forums at different times in C-D. I even changed the file name, and it says I've already attached it. It was many months ago, so there is no way I can go back and find it and delete it. In fact I think it would be impossible to delete it, even if I could find it. Any moderator there who can explain this?)

Last edited by jtur88; 05-23-2009 at 07:07 PM..
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:17 PM
 
2,790 posts, read 6,082,785 times
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While working for the Ohio Historical Society many years ago, I came across a text that read when the first white settlers arrived in the region, it was so heavily forested that a squirrel could travel from what would become Cleveland all the way to the area we know as Cincinnati without ever touching the ground. While I am sure there is a certain amount of exaggertion in this statement, there must some element of truth to it. It boggles the mind, considering how much of the state is now farmland. That's a heck of alot of trees to clear! And all done without the advantages of today's axe men!

Last edited by MICoastieMom; 05-23-2009 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,565 posts, read 22,028,301 times
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The white man giveth and the white man taketh away. While the paleface did indeed exterminate the horse culture of the Plains Indians, they had also created it by introducing the horse to America.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:40 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 82,192,233 times
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Here is a link to the original site, where you can see the graphic I tried to load a couple of posts back:

http://conservationreport.com/2009/0...1620-to-today/
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 13,661,259 times
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Here in eastern WA, we get so many tumbleweeds they pile up on the fences. I think Hanford has a crew that does nothing but safely burn the accumulated tumbleweeds in place. Eventually you get so many they provide a sort of ramp for others to roll across. They aren't something you'd want to pick up without gloves, either. Nasty, stickery things.
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:16 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,288 times
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I think my culture were the first to bring them over from Russia, actually. My farm in South Dakota is also crawling full of them.
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:24 PM
 
2,137 posts, read 1,857,908 times
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I wonder what kept wildfires under control? I guess they burned from one large river to the next.
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