National Geographic : 1961 Feb
New Water for Thirsty Texas Will Wash History Away A BSORBED IN THE PAST, the arche ologist on the opposite page stands on Texas land that has a wet future. Where he works to record Indian rock art, the Rio Grande will rise to drown these bluffs. Twelve miles upstream from Del Rio, Texas, the United States and Mexico plan a dam named Amistad, or "friendship." Promising both countries more irrigation water, power, and flood protection, the dam will bring vast changes to a thirsty land. Many such changes appear on your Society's newest map, Atlas Plate 10, South Central United States, distributed with this issue to 2,700,000 member-families.* Water - its control, conservation, and use plays a key role in the region's outlook for the future. By 1965 east-central Oklahoma will gain a new 100,000-acre lake with a 600 mile shoreline, Eufaula on the Canadian River. Dashed lines on the map outline the lake-to-be. Already spangling the State are such huge man-made reservoirs as Lake Texoma on the Texas border, Tenkiller Ferry on the Illinois River, and Fort Gibson and Lake O' The Cherokees on the Neosho River. Arkansas' two largest lakes have come into being in the past 10 years: Ouachita, north west of Hot Springs, and Bull Shoals on the Missouri border, amid the ancient Ozarks. Within the boundaries of this new map, the Deep South meets the Far West. Here may be heard both the soft syllables of Mis sissippi and pueblo drums of New Mexico. Dominated by Texas-the "Big T" of far spaces and lusty energies described by native son Stanley Walker in this issue-the new map also includes all of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. It covers most of New Mexico, shows border areas of seven more States, and reaches deep into Mexico. Between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, tourists and townsmen can cross the Rio Grande by streetcar - the only trolley between the United States and a foreign country. Farther upstream, the 1,885-mile river flows across all New Mexico from head 196 streams in the Colorado Rockies. It swings close to Los Alamos, a town of 13,000 that did not exist two decades ago. Birthplace of the atomic bomb, this "secret city" lived until four years ago behind steel fences and guarded gates. Then, except for scientific laboratories, it was opened to public access. Names all across the map echo the land's Indian heritage. "Oklahoma" means "red people," from the Choctaw. Towns show such names as Tecumseh, Shaw nee, Comanche, Broken Bow. "Mississippi," meaning "great river," or "almost endless river spread out," is from an Ojibway word. Pascagoula, Mississippi, carries the name of an Indian tribe, the "bread people." Will Rogers, part Cherokee, was born near Oologah, Oklahoma. He lived to see much of this region gain a grimmer name, the Dust Bowl, as lashing winds stripped topsoil from lands once held down by buffalo grass. But since the 1930's, better farming techniques and the new big dams have cut wind erosion and preserved precious water. Pioneer Paths Become Scenic Parkways Red streaks of modern highways criss crossing the map recall historic pioneer paths. The Santa Fe Trail slanted out of Missouri and Kansas into New Mexico. Cater-corner across Mississippi ran the Natchez Trace, a wilderness trail bedeviled by Indians and bandits. Today the National Park Service is re-creating the Trace as a scenic parkway; the map indicates sections completed and under construction. An inset on the map shows the deep delta country of the Lower Mississippi and another new tradeway being cut by man - the Missis sippi River-Gulf Outlet, a 77-mile deepwater ship channel from New Orleans to the open sea. It crosses a lonely realm of bayous, marshes, and mudbanks, where the King of Rivers daily outdoes all man's changes by extending with silt the very borders of the United States. *Twenty-second in the series of uniform-sized maps issued free as supplements in the past three years, South Central United States is the eighth sectional sheet covering the 50 United States. To bind their maps, a quarter-million members have ordered the convenient Atlas Folio, at $4.85. Single maps of the series, at 50 cents each, or a packet of the 21 maps issued in 1958-60 at $8.25, may be ordered from the National Geographic Society, Dept. 58, Washington 6, D. C. A combination of folio and 21 maps folded flat is available at $12.50.