"Road to the Buffalo" highlights 200+ years of Sanders County hi - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

"Road to the Buffalo" highlights 200+ years of Sanders County history

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THOMPSON FALLS -

Thompson Falls rests comfortably in the middle of the historic Road to the Buffalo, a trail that predates even the history of Montana's time as a state.

Traveled by David Thompson-- the town’s namesake and the first European on record to set foot in Sanders County-- logged his entire journey southwest along what is now Highway 200.

Thompson Falls resident Linda Thompson said she's spent plenty of her own time looking through Thompson's journal and his maps, calling him perhaps the world's greatest cartographer.

“He drew the maps. He was a famous map-maker," Haywood said. "He walked, rode horses or canoes for some 50,000 miles, and he mapped all the areas that he went, and his maps were so good, they were used into the late 1800s.”

According to Haywood, the Road to the Buffalo was named such because it was a well-used trail for hunting Buffalo both in the Spring and the Fall.

"The road itself was used by the aboriginal people traveling through here, going to the Buffalo hunting grounds to get the meat that they needed for their winter food, or the hides for their tents and clothing," said Haywood.

Thompson would follow the trail into the area now known as Thompson Falls for two winters, eventually establishing the "Saleesh House," the first trading post in Western Montana.

12 of the Road to the Buffalo signs remain along Thompson's original trail, but Haywood and a number of Sanders County are currently working on forming the Road to the Buffalo Festival; proceeds from that festival, Haywood said, will go to funding a new set of translation signs that explain more to passers-by on the road's historical significance and impact.

The Festival will begin at 10:00am on June 24th.

For more information on the history of the Road to the Buffalo, you can visit http://www.rockmanstradingpost.com/road-to-the-buffalo:brochure.html

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