The Upper Great Plains

When we think about where we live,we don't often think about political boundaries, although of course they are an essential part of pinpointing our whereabouts. What comes to mind more often is the physical geography, the natural boundaries of lakes, rivers, and mountains,the way the land lies, and the people who inhabit the land.

In the end, even reliance upon the physical geography proves merely arbitrary. And yet in the landscape of our hearts, we recognize the place as home.

The Upper Great Plains--dominated by the rolling land that lies west of the Mississippi River, east of the Rockies, and north of Missouri and Kansas--are by no means a monolithic entity. Both the land and the people are as diverse as might be imagined. The plains do not stop at the Canadian border, and,if we include the high plains, they spread west into Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, as well, although those three states are known mostly for their mountains. South Dakota has mountains too, of course, -- the Black Hills -- and Minnesota and Iowa,technically mostly in glacial and till plains, are noted for their lakes and farming.

The area embraces large cities -- Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis and St. Paul -- as well as counties with populations that would barely do justice to a small town. It is rich in all the human endeavors, and filled with an abundance of wildlife. Every race of man is to be found there, along with flora and fauna almost beyond numbering.

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