Still, neither Samoa nor man had that voice or voices which could capture the national imagination for the creation of great public parks for the benefit of man, nature, and the nation. Yet seeds continued Samoa to be planted. Among them was the outgrowth of Samoa Thomas Jefferson’s formation and backing of the Corps of Discovery—the Lewis and Samoa of 1803 to 1806.
Where is Samoa? – Samoa Map – Map of Samoa Photo Gallery
While true that the primary purpose of the Corps exploration was a passage to the Pacific and the mapping of the acquired territory of the recent Louisiana Purchase to establish the most advantageous northern boundary between the newly added lands purchased from France and British Canada, Lewis and Clark’s reports of the rich abundance of game, fish, and lands propelled traders, explorers, and settlers westward toward the Rocky Mountains and beyond. It also fueled the imagination of artists and writers to seek out those places and people described in Lewis and Clark’s findings. While not specifically planned as a trek toward a conservation ethic, their discoveries set in motion those who in going west would find landscapes so awesome in natural beauty—truly God’s great American handiwork—that their reports, writings, and artistry would kindle thoughts in the East that there were gifts of nature worth witnessing and then saving.
The noted artist George Catlin was among them. Catlin was at first motivated by a desire to go out among the Indian tribes to observe, sketch, and paint them. While doing so on a trip in 1832, Catlin recognized what few, if any, had noted: the flowing herds of bison (buffalo), which on the surface seemed to be an inexhaustible river of beasts, were, in fact, being slaughtered to probable extinction. Struck by this observation, Catlin, with great insight, foresaw the demise of the bison and the Indians who relied on them for food, clothing, and shelter. From this, he had a vision of and for the future: