Logan State Park

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This week's focus Logan State Park is brought to you by Western Montana's Glacier Country!

Just off Highway 2 between Libby and Kalispell, you’ll find Logan State Park, a local hotspot. 

Located in the middle of the 3,000-acre Thompson Chain of Lakes, Logan is heavily forested with Western Larch, Douglas-Fir and Ponderosa Pine making for a beautiful view of the tree covered, mountainous area.

Things to do:

✅ Take a dip in the lake and go swimming

✅ Go for a boat ride and find some peace.

✅ You and your friends or family can even play a game of horseshoes!

✅ Take a chance and go water skiing!

✅ More of a fisher? You’ll find loads of salmon, trout, perch, pike, bass!

✅ Plus so much more!

Logan has 37 campsites, but no tent-only sites. RVs and trailers are more than welcome as long as they are no longer than 40 feet. The RV dump station closes in early October.

You’ll even find a playset for the kids and a short nature trail here.

Did you know?

The Thompson Chain of Lakes includes 18 lakes and stretches 20 miles!

Logan
State Park
Quick Facts


Location
77518 US HWY 2

Libby, MT 59923

Park

Open Year-Round
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Campground

Open Year-Round

Additional Information

Water & Showers Available
Until September 30
Boat Slips Available:
Mid-May to September 30

17 Acres

  • ADA Accessible

  • Pets Allowed

  • Toilets (Flush)

  • Water

  • RV Dump Station

  • Showers

  • Boat Launch

  • Firewood for Sale

  • Picnic Shelter

Medicine Rocks State Park

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This week's focus Medicine Rocks State Park is brought to you by the Miles city Chamber of Commerce!

The Medicine Rocks are a series of natural rock formations considered sacred by local Native American tribes. They are covered in Native Rock Art or Pictographs.

A scenic drive on Montana Highway 7 through rolling hills and prairie, visitors will be amazed by the incredible beauty of Medicine Rocks State Park. As you approach the park you’ll see sandstone pillars, caves archways and towers rising out of the plains with small batches of pine forest in some areas.

 

But how did these formations come to be?

Around 60-million years ago, the Great Plains were covered by an immense sea. The edges of this sea were swamp-like and forested with a shallow river that cut through carrying sediment from the forming Rocky Mountains. Portions of this sediment were deposited along the path of the river creating sandbars.

Over the years, these sandbars turned to sandstone where wind, water and temperature extremes took their toll. The stronger materials stayed while the less resistant material was eroded away. The rock that was able to withstand millions of years of erosion now makes up the odd formations found at Medicine Rocks State Park.

Things to do:

✅ Hike through the prairie and forest or even climb into caves!

✅ Take incredible pictures of the rock formations!

✅ Enjoy a picnic and enjoy the ever-changing landscape!

✅ Keep your eyes open for wildlife including mule deer, antelope, Woodhouse's toads and sharp-tailed grouse!


✅ Camp at one of the 12 rustic campsites!


✅ Stargaze on a clear night or plan a visit during a meteor shower!

 

✅ Plus so many more!

Once you’re in the park, a road twists and turns through rock outcroppings taking visitors to the camping and picnic areas. Many of the formations can be viewed from your vehicle, but exploring the park by foot allows visitors to get up close and personal with these rock formations.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Medicine Rocks is also an important cultural site for Native Americans, once used as a vision quest location, meeting place and lookout for bison or enemies.

Did you know?

Many early settlers and cattle drivers carved their names or initials along with the dates they visited into the rocks. You can still find many of these and a complete list of these names can be found in the nearby Carter County Museum!

Those looking to enjoy the park overnight will find 12 campsites nestled among the Swiss cheese-like rock formations. But be sure to arrive early as all of these sites are first-come, first served.

Did you know?

Theodore Roosevelt visited the area in 1883 and called it “as fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen.”

Medicine Rocks
State Park

Location:
1141 Hwy 7

Ekalaka, MT

Park:

Open Year-Round

7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Campground:

Open Year-Round

Additional Information:

Water Available Year-Round

330 Acres

  • Pets Allowed

  • Toilets (Vault)

  • Water

  • Maps

Tower Rock State Park

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This week's focus Tower Rock State Park is brought to you by Central Montana!

Tower Rock, a 424-foot high rock formation which marks the entrance to the Missouri River Canyon in the Adel Mountains Volcanic Field.

Located where the plains and mountains meet you’ll find Tower Rock State Park.

This park’s namesake is an over 400-foot high rock formation along the Missouri River. The tower is made of igneous rock chunks blasted skyward from the Adel Mountain volcano 68 to 75 million years ago and then cemented together by volcanic ash.
 

Things to do at Tower Rock State Park:

✅ Hiking

✅ Photography

✅ Picnicking

✅ Plus so many more!

Visitors can learn about geology and history through five interpretive panels located at the trailhead. The trail to the base of the saddle is maintained for a quarter-mile and if you plan to hike this short trail, be sure to keep your eyes open and listen for rattlesnakes!

Did you know?

This day use only park was once used by Native American tribes to mark the entrance to and exit of the buffalo hunting grounds in north central Montana.

Tower Rock
State Park
Quick Facts

Location:
2325 Old US HWY 91
Cascade, MT 59421

Park Open Year-Round

140 Acres

  • Pets Allowed

  • Toilets (Vault)

  • Maps

Frenchtown Pond State Park

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This week's focus takes us ten miles northwest of Missoula to Frenchtown Pond State Park in Frenchtown, Montana.

The 41-acre day-use state park offers fishing, swimming, and non-motorized boating on a small, spring-fed lake that is up to 18 feet deep in some places. 

Located just off of I-90 in Frenchtown you’ll find Frenchtown Pond State Park, a great day-use park for the whole family.

Be sure to leave your four-legged friends at home though, dogs are not allowed in the park at any time.

Named after the pond it encompasses, Frenchtown Pond State Park is a 40-acre park that holds the 22-acre pond.

The pond itself is spring-fed and has a maximum depth of 18 feet. 

Did you know?

The Garden City Triathalon is held at Frenchtown Pond State Park every year!

Activities at Frenchtown Pond State Park include: 

✅ Boating

✅ Fishing

✅ Ice Skating

✅ Picnicking

✅ Swimming

✅ Wildlife Viewing

✅ Plus so many more!

You’ll find great fishing at Frenchtown with a healthy fish population that includes sunfish, bass and bullhead. 

To help improve the bass habitat, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has sunk trees to the bottom of the pond. 

You may even see SCUBA divers! The local SCUBA club uses Frenchtown Pond as a practice area and cleans up the bottom of the pond while they’re at it. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Due to the water's depth, warmth and clarity, Frenchtown Pond State Park is a favorite place to practice boardsailing, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling.

Frenchtown Pond
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
May 1 to September 30
9 am to 9 pm

October 1 to April 30
6 am to 7 pm

Location
18401 Frenchtown Frontage Road
Frenchtown, MT 59834

Open Year Round 

  • 41 Acres

  • ADA Accessible

  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)

  • Water

  • Picnic Shelter

  • Grills/Fire Rings

Beaverhead Rock State Park

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This week's focus takes us to the 14 miles northeast of Dillon, MT on Montana 41 to Beaverhead Rock State Park, as known as the Point of Rocks by locals.

Beaverhead Rock State Park was the geographic landmark that Sacagawea noted while leading the Corps of Discovery further west. She shared with Lewis that she recognized it as the location where her people, the Shoshones, had been when she was kidnapped as a child several years earlier and would be where her tribe would most likely be found during that time of year.

And in his words: "she says her nation calls the beaver's head from a conceived re[se]mblance of it's figure to the head of that animal..."

In addition to proving to be a critical part of the Lewis and Clark journey, it was also critical to Sacagawea herself, as she recognized the Shoshone Chief, Chief Cameahwait, as her brother and "instantly jumped up, and ran and embraced him, throwing over him her blanket and weeping profusely." 

While on their travels west, Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery were led here by Sacajawea who recognized the landmark as being part of her native homelands. 

Coming across Beaverhead Rock was a great relief for the Corps of Discovery as winter was drawing near and they were eager to acquire the horses they would need to cross the mountains from Native Americans. 

The trail running past the rock has been used for centuries and later became the route for the first cattle drives and then brought settlers and prospectors to the area. 

Did you know?

Beaverhead Rock is on the National Register of Historic Places

Add it to your itinerary today. 

Activities at Beaverhead Rock include:

✅ Cultural

✅ Heritage

✅ History

✅ Photography

✅ Wildlife Viewing

✅ Plus so much more!

Beaverhead Rock can be viewed and photographed from a distance, but cannot be directly accessed. There are two great locations to best see the rock formation, though.

The first is 14 miles south of Twin Bridges on Highway 41 where a pull-off has informational signs and an interesting bird sculpture.

The second location is from another Montana State Park, Clark’s Lookout State Park in Dillon.

Beaverhead Rock
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
Open Year-Round


Location
62 Beaverhead Rock Road
Twin Bridges, MT 59754

Open Year Round 

  • 30 Acres

  • Pack-in/Pack-out

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park

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This week's focus takes us to the old mining town of Anaconda, MT right off   
I-90 24 miles from Butte, MT to the Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park. 

Situated on top on a hillside of the Anaconda Pintler Mountain Range foothills, you can see this state park from miles around.

As a monument to the nation's period of industrialism, particularly when viewed in conjunction with Butte’s Berkely Pit, it immortalizes the scale of the mining that once dominated and influenced this part of Montana.

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park is an excellent place for day use.

With the first brick of the chimney set by smelter manager Frederick Laist on  May 24, 1918,  construction was completed on November 30, 1918.

The old Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack is 585 feet tall and clocks in as one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in the world. The inside of the stack is 75 feet wide at the bottom and 60 feet wide at the top. 

Did you know?

The Anaconda Smoke Stack is taller than the Washington Monument by 30 feet. In fact, the Washington Monument would easily fit inside this smoke stack.

Things to do:

✅ Exhibit

✅ Heritage

✅ History

✅ Photography

✅ Plus so many more!

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the smelter closed in 1980.  In 1983, the stack, the smelter, and the other buildings nearby were listed as a Superfund cleanup site.  Efforts to clean up contaminated soils, structures and other mine debris began in the 1980s and are ongoing.  In order to protect the public and limit their liability, the Atlantic Richfield Company closed the area around the stack and public visitation is allowed only during officially organized tours or events.

Much like the smelter and other buildings that used to be located on Smelter Hill nearby, the smokestack was likely to be demolished as part of the Superfund cleanup efforts.  A group of longtime Anaconda residents formed the "Anacondans To Preserve The Stack" committee.  Their efforts led to the preservation of the big stack and they continue to work to find ways to preserve the stack and make it accessible to the public.  Today visitors can view and photograph the stack from a distance.

Interpretive signs describing the history of the stack are located in the viewing site near Goodman Park. 

Montana Public Radio produced a great story about the Anaconda Smoke Stack for it's 100th anniversary in August of 2018. You can listen to and read that story here.

DID YOU KNOW?

In the fall of 2018, the smokestack celebrated its 100th-anniversary!

Anaconda Smoke Stack
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
Open Year-Round
Daylight Hours Only


Location
100 Smelter Road
Anaconda, MT 59711

Les Mason State Park

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This week's focus takes us to Whitefish, MT to the peaceful day-use park located on the east shore of Whitefish Lake.

Boasting 585 feet of sand and gravel lakeshore, this park provides excellent swimming opportunities, for both humans and your four-legged friend.

You'll enjoy cool, clear waters along a smooth cobble beach on Whitefish Lake with shaded picnic tables, great swimming and a spot to launch your canoe or kayak.

Located on the east shore of Whitefish Lake, Les Mason State Park is a great day use spot! With 585 feet of sand and gravel lakeshore, Les Mason is perfect for swimming. 

Did you know?

Looking to bring your canine friend along? There is a designated dog swimming area for your furry friend to enjoy!

Add it to your itinerary today. 

Looking for activities at Les Mason? You can go: 

✅ Bird Watching

✅ Fishing

✅ Boating

✅ Picnicking

✅ Cross-country skiing 

✅ Plus so many more!

Although there is only a non-motorized boat launch at Les Mason, you can still get out on the water!

Open June 15 to Labor Day, Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours, Inc offers stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and pedal boats for rent.

DID YOU KNOW?

Be sure to stick around for sunset! The park is in a perfect position to catch great views as the sun sinks into the mountains across the lake.

Les Mason
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
Open Year-Round
Gates Open Until November 30
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Gates Closed, Walk-In Only
December 1 - April 26


Location
2650 E. Lake Shore Drive
Whitefish, MT 59937

Open Year Round 

  • 7 Acres

  • Toilets (Vault)

  • Boat Rental

  • Parking

Pictograph State Park

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This week's focus takes us just outside of Billings, MT to an area of three caves that are preserved and protected in the 23-acre Pictograph Cave State Park. 

Along the rimrocks, you'll find where Pictograph Cave has drawn human beings for over 3,000 years and was home to generations of prehistoric hunters. With its abundant wildlife and vegetation, the fertile river valley provided an ideal campsite for travelers.

Inside the three caves, you can find over 2,100-year-old pictographs from some of Montana's first inhabitants. The when and the how they arrived is still a mystery and the pictographs they left behind are still subject to great debate. 

This week's State Parks park showcase is brought to you by Visit Billings.

Located only five miles from Billings, Pictograph Cave State Park may seem small at only 23 acres, but is full to bursting with history.

Did you know?

Due to its archeological significance, Pictograph Cave State Park was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Thousands of years ago, prehistoric hunters who camped in the Pictograph Cave left behind artifacts and over 100 pictographs. 

The three main caves in the park - Pictograph, Middle and Ghost - were created from the Eagle sandstone cliff by water and wind erosion. The deepest of the caves, Pictograph Cave, is 160 feet wide and 45 feet deep. 

In 1936 the first artifacts and paintings were discovered in the caves. And the next year became one of the first archeologic excavations in Montana.

Roughly 30,000 artifacts were excavated from the site including, stone tools, weapons, paintings, and instruments. These artifacts helped researchers to understand which native people used the caves and when. In addition to tools and animal bones, the excavations also turned up jewelry, pendants, bracelets, and beads crafted of sea shells acquired from Pacific Coast Indians, and in one excavation, discovered barbed harpoon points of the Eskimo culture, made of caribou horn. 

You’ll find pictographs depicting animals, warriors and even rifles! The different colors used in the pictographs allowed researchers to identify when people inhabited the region and gave an inside look into their lifestyle. 

Although you won’t be able to camp in Pictograph Cave State Park you can: 

✅ Transport yourself back in time by exploring the caves.

✅ Check out the Visitor Center and learn more about the history of the caves.

✅ Eat your picnic while gazing out at incredible views.

✅ Don’t forget to pick up a memento from the gift shop!

✅ See if you can spot any wildlife near the caves.

✅ Plus so much more!

The best time to see the pictographs is after rain or a snow melt! The moisture causes the drawings to become more prominent. And you'll to give yourself about an hour to walk the trail with extra time for a picnic and bird watching.

DID YOU KNOW?
The oldest art found at Pictograph Cave State Park is over 2,000 years old and from some of the very first humans on the plains.

Today, the park has a quarter-mile loop trail that leads to the caves. Along the trail you can find interpretive displays that identify and explain the natural features, pictographs and vegetation found near the caves. 

If you’re planning to visit, be sure to bring your binoculars to get the best view of the rock art and be sure to check out the new Visitor’s Center which includes interpretive displays and a gift shop. 

Despite its close proximity to Billings, Pictograph Cave State Park has an abundance of wildlife.

Depending on the season you can see mountain lions, black bears, turkeys, coyotes, porcupines, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, bald eagles, northern harriers, bobcats, mountain cottontails, rock doves, turkey vultures, mule deer, canyon wrens, magpies, ravens, crows, and chickadees. 

Pictograph
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
Off Season (Third Monday in September - Third Thursday in May)
Open
Wednesday - Sunday 
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Peak Season (Third Friday in May - Third Sunday in September)
Park Open Daily
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visitor Center
Off Season
Open Wednesday - Sunday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Peak Season
Open Daily
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional Information
Park and Visitor Center Closed:
Thanksgiving, December 24, 25 & 31 and January 1

Location
3401 Coburn Road
Billings, MT 59101

Open Year Round 

  • Open Year-Round

  • 23 Acres

  • ADA Accessible

  • Pets Allowed

  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)

  • Water

  • Maps

  • Gift Shop

  • Interpretive Display

Tongue River Reservoir State Park

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This week's focus takes us to the southeast border of Montana and 10 minutes outside of Decker, MT to Tongue River Reservoir State Park. 

Tongue River Reservoir is on the Tongue River, a tributary of the Yellowstone River, approximately 265 miles long, that runs through Montana and Wyoming. The park provides a 12-mile long reservoir set in the truly scenic prairie land of southeastern Montana featuring red shale and juniper canyons.

Due to the rareness of large bodies of water like this in prairie country, the park can see up to 50,000 visitors a year.

Camping? Tongue River Reservoir has 81 reservable campsites with electric hookups, and 27 of those are double occupancy with two electric hook-ups.

There are also 80 non-reservable, non-electric sites! Most sites also have a fire ring and picnic table.

There is an RV dump station and water faucets available during peak season. During the offseason there are 11 sites with electricity, these are first-come, first-served. 

Did you know?

Although there are no hiking opportunities at Tongue River, there is hiking available nearby at Rosebud Battlefield State Park or Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument.

Things to do:

✅ Take the boat out on the water! There are two boat ramps with docks, one at Campers Point and one at Pee Wee North. 

✅ Go for a swim! Sand Point has a small beach area for swimming.

✅ Keep your eyes open for wildlife! You may just see osprey, blue herons, deer, antelope or bald eagles. 

✅ Bring your picnic! The designated day-use area has picnic tables at Campers Point and Sand Point. 

✅ Plus so many more!

At 12 miles long, the reservoir makes for excellent fishing any time of year! You’ll find crappie, walleye, bass and northern pike here. You can also fly fish below the dam and there is a fish cleaning station located within the park. 

Forgot anything or just need additional supplies? The marina at Campers Point has firewood, ice, fishing and boating supplies, boat rentals, boat and RV storage, bait, groceries, snacks, drinks, gasoline, souvenirs, fishing, and hunting licenses, and non-resident park passes. 

While summertime may be the most popular time to visit the park, Tongue River Reservoir State Park also features amazing ice fishing and year-round campsites that support just that.

DID YOU KNOW?

Four state record fish have been pulled from Tongue River Reservoir State Park, including a 37 pound Northern Pike?

Tongue River Reservoir
State Park
Quick Facts


Park
Open Year-Round

Campground
Open Year-Round
11 campsites have electricity year round


Location
290 Campers Point
Decker, MT 59025

Open Year Round 

  • 642 Acres

  • ADA Accessible

  • Pets Allowed

  • Toilets (Vault)

  • Water

  • Electricity

  • RV Dump Station

  • Boat Launch

Weekly Parks Showcase: Hell Creek State Park

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This week's focus takes us an hour outside of Jordan, Montana to the most heavily fished water in Montana, Hell Creek State Park. You'll reach Hell Creek, near the end of a 25-mile-long gravel road, through the spectacular scenery of the Missouri Breaks landscape.

On the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, this park provides facilities for most water sports as well as excellent walleye fishing. Fort Peck boasts 1,500 miles of lake shoreline (longer than the entire California coast) and features the surrounding hills of the C. M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Missouri Breaks.

This weeks featured park is brought to you by the Miles City Chamber of Commerce.

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While the road to reach Hell Creek State Park is long, the drive is well worth it! As you travel along a 25-mile gravel road to get into the park, you’ll encounter beautiful, rugged terrain.

Be sure to allow 1-2 hours to travel from Jordan to Hell Creek State Park. And please note, traveling the road between Hell Creek State Park and Jordan is only recommended during dry conditions. Check current and upcoming weather prior to travel.

Did you know?
Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery encountered a grizzly bear near here in 1805.

You won’t be bored at Hell Creek State Park! You can:

✅ Spend your day on the water boating, water skiing or windsurfing!

✅ Summer? Fish from the shore or out on the water!

✅ Winter? Go ice fishing!

✅ Lounge by the lake and take swim!

✅ Hike through the rugged hills surrounding the park!

✅ Plus so much more!

Located on the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, you’ll find excellent facilities for water sports as well as a bounty of walleye, lake trout, northern pike, and small-mouth bass to fish. Plus, there is a fish cleaning station.

Hell Creek Marina, a private marina located within the park, offers bait, groceries, gas and other camping and fishing equipment.

The park also serves as a launching point for boat camping in the wild and scenic Missouri Breaks.

Hell Creek State Park offers 71 campsites, 44 of which have electrical hookups. A group facility is available to reserve for special events

Looking for a hike? You’ll find plenty of trails throughout Hell Creek State Park including the 1 ½ mile loop Mule Deer Trail and the Paleo Trail.

The Paleo Trail is a 3-mile roundtrip hike into the Hellcreek Formation, known for its dinosaur fossils.

Hunting enthusiasts will find their fun at Hell Creek as well! Depending on the season, you’ll find hunting for antelope, elk, mule and white-tailed deer.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 1902, Barnum Brown discovered the world’s first Tyrannosaurus Rexwithin the park and a few years after that a full skeleton was found, including its 6-inch teeth!

The "badlands" surrounding Fort Peck Lake (and Hell Creek State Park) is known as the highly fossiliferous Hell Creek Formation and is a paleontologist's dream. The soil is composed of freshwater clays, mudstones, and sandstones deposited during the last part of the Cretaceous and the Maastrichtian period.

Paleontologists have discovered invertebrates, plants, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians - and dinosaurs as large (and in-tact) as Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops.

During 1999-2010, Jack Horner (Museum of the RockiesBozeman, Montana), Bill Clemens and Mark Goodwin (University of CaliforniaMuseum of Paleontology) and Joseph Harman (University of North Dakota) organized a collaborative, multi-institutional field study program, called The Hell Creek Project.

All the findings from that project, which included 18,000 cataloged specimens, are conserved in perpetuity for the public trust at the Museum of the Rockies and the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology.

Hell Creek State Park Quick Facts:

Park Open Year-Round

Campground Open Year-Round

Park Office Open May 15 - October 1 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional Information: No potable water before May 15 or after October 1

Location: 2456 Hell Creek Road Jordan, MT 59337

337 Acres
ADA Accessible
Water
Toilets (Flush & Vault)
Electricity
RV Dump Station
RV Hookups
Shower
Boat Launch
Playground

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Hell Creek State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

Other Ways to Support Montana State Parks

A simple way to help Montana State Parks, each and every year, is through our branded Montana license plates. These feature the famous Monte Dolack Fine Art painting, Placid Lake Sunset, and is an effective way to say "yes" to protecting Montana's public lands by doing what you'd be doing anyway by registering your vehicle.

Ask your local DMV today for your Montana State Parks' license plate.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Missouri Headwaters State Park

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This week's focus takes us to just a few minutes outside of Three Forks, Montana downtown and only 35 minutes outside of Bozeman, Montana, to Missouri Headwaters State Park. The convergence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers is the start of the longest river in North America, the Missouri River. Considered an essential part of the geography of the western U.S., Capt. Meriwether Lewis described this area as... "the country opens suddenly to extensive and beautiful plains and meadows which appear to be surrounded in every direction with distant and lofty mountains."

Just outside of Three Forks, you’ll find Missouri Headwaters State Park, the confluence of the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin rivers which form the 2,300 mile Missouri River.

At Missouri Headwaters State Park, you can still find the area looking much as it did historically - with much of the region's abundant wildlife, vegetation, and scenic beauty preserved - making it clear what has attracted people for thousands of years.

Did you know?
The three rivers that converge to form the Missouri River are named for President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison and Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin!

You won’t run out of activities at Missouri Headwaters!

✅ Looking to camp in history? There are 17 campsites available and you can even rent a tipi!

✅ Interpretive displays describing the area’s cultural and natural history can be found to help guide you!

✅ Take your bike for a spin on the many trails throughout the park!

✅ Not much of a biker? Use the trails for a scenic hike instead!

✅ Take a float down the river, you’ll have your choice of three!

✅ Visit Fort Rock to take a look at historic pictographs.

✅ Plus so much more!

The rich, fertile soil along with the proximity to fresh water, brought the Flathead, Bannock and Shoshone Indians to the region and later trappers and settlers, and now this beautiful land has been preserved as a state park for visitors just like you.

Known for an abundance of wildlife, Missouri Headwaters State Park is a great place to explore, but don’t forget your bug spray!

In addition to its vast natural resources and outdoor activities, Missouri Headwaters State Park also boasts extensive cultural history - ranging from the tribes that lived there beginning 3,000 years ago to Lewis and Clark to fur traders to settlers.

In late July 1805, William Clark and a small number from the Corps of Discovery reached the Headwaters while scouting for Shoshone Indians, whom they hoped would sell them horses. It was Sacajawea, who recognized the area as where she was captured as a child by the Hidatsa, that led the expedition successfully there.

While at the confluence, Clark left a note for Meriwether Lewis to find and later, Lewis Rock was named for him.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sacagawea was captured as a child in the area that the Missouri Headwaters State Park now exists and returned briefly during her expedition with the Corps of Discovery.

In addition to its history with the Corps of Discovery, you can also find the remnants of the long empty, western town of Gallatin City. Settlers convinced that commerce would arrive above Great Falls, Montana, and with hope to supply the gold camps in Virginia City, Montana and Helena, Montana, Gallatin City was founded in 1862, a mere year before what is now Bozeman was platted out by John Bozeman.

The city eventually moved to the far side of the river as Gallatin City II, and later died when the Northern Pacific railroad decided to lay track south of town and making the hoped-for trade route no longer viable.

You can still see the original Gallatin City Hotel amongst other artifacts at Missouri Headwaters State Park. 
Missouri Headwaters State Park features several miles of paths for walking, biking, and hiking, that traverses the old Gallatin City townsite along the banks of the rivers. This trail then leads you to the top of the bluff overlooking the river valley and breathtaking view of the convergence of the rivers.

You'll also find interpretive stations telling the history of the area from ancient times to the modern era throughout the park.

Missouri Headwaters
State Park
Quick Facts

Park
Open Year-Round

Campground
Open Year-Round

Location
1585 Trident Road 
Three Forks, MT 5975

Open Year Round 
Open Year-Round

532 Acres

ADA Accessible

Pets Allowed

Toilets (Flush & Vault)

Water

Boat Launch

Maps

Interpretive Display

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Missouri Headwaters State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

You can support parks like Missouri Headwaters with Montana State Park License Plates or great State Parks gear available on our website.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Pirogue Island State Park

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This week's focus takes us to just a mile north of Miles City, Montana, a little more than two hours from Billings, Montana by way of Interstate94, on the north side of a bend in the Yellowstone River, to Pirogue Island State Park. In addition to extensive hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing, the island is a documented site where the Corps of Discovery and Capt. Clark camped in 1806 on the return voyage of their famous expedition. This week's Parks Showcase is brought to you by the Miles City Chamber of Commerce.

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An isolated, cottonwood-covered island located on the Yellowstone River, Pirogue Island State Park is an excellent location for enjoying the natural beauty of Montana. While wading through channels of the Yellowstone River is the most popular way to get to Pirogue Island, others stop by as they float down the river.

Did you know?
Pirogue Island State Park is 500 miles from where the Yellowstone River begins south of Yellowstone National Park and 170 miles from where it ends near Williston, North Dakota.

You won’t find any camping at Pirogue Island, but you can go:

✅ Bird Watching or Wildlife Viewing

✅ Boating

✅ Fishing

✅ Hunting

✅ Picnicking

✅ Plus so much more!

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A local treasure with a wide variety of bird species including Passerines, belted kingfishers, shorebirds, waterfowl, and bald eagles as well as both whitetail and mule deer, the island is an excellent location for wildlife viewing.

The island also boasts prominent plant life with more than 140 species of plants including a healthy population of cottonwood trees, peach-leaf willow, green ash and red-osier dogwood.

For visitors who enjoy hiking, Pirogue Island features 2.8 miles of designated hiking trails with interpretive signs offering insights on the history and wildlife of the island.

Looking for more than 2.8 miles? You’re in luck!

As a very level site, visitors will find an easy walk throughout the 269 acres and when the water isn’t flowing, visitors can take a walk along the tree-shaded side channels and wade through the pools of water that form during hot weather.

DID YOU KNOW?

Enjoy a treasure hunt? Pirogue Island is a great location to search for moss agates.

Moss agates are a unique agate that is often found with a lime coloring and gets its name for its resemblance of the color of moss, which was given to it prior to its scientific name and has stuck.

Curious what other visitors had to say?

"Good spot for hunting and fishing."

"Growing up in this area I never discovered this until I went back and visited. There is a great trail (about 6 miles) that takes you all around the park and next to the river."

"I love the walking trail and having the chance to see wildlife."

"This state park is in a very interesting setting. It is an island in the Yellowstone River outside of Miles City, MT. There are picnic tables and restrooms and interesting trails to walk beside walking over to the island when the water is low. This is a great place to go with a family when the weather is nice. Springtime would not be good, the water would be too high to reach the island."

***Note: Pirogue Island State Park is not formally developed and care should be taken when crossing. Crossing to Pirogue State Park is not recommended if water is flowing. And due to the seasonal flooding, come prepared to protect yourself from ticks.

Pirogue Island
State Park
Quick Facts

Park
Open Year-Round
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Location

46.44181 / -105.82253
(Latitude/Longitude)

Open Year Round 
269 Acres

Pets Allowed

Toilets (Vault)

Maps

Grills/Fire Rings

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Pirogue Island State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Lone Pine State Park

This week's focus takes us to just outside of Kalispell, Montana to Lone Pine State Park. With 7.5 miles of trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and horseback riding it also boast breathtaking overlooks, where you can see Flathead LakeWhitefish Mountain ResortJewel Basin - Montana, and Glacier National Park on clear days. This week's park feature is sponsored by Western Montana's Glacier Country.

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Located near Kalispell, Lone Pine State Park provides incredible views of the Flathead Valley, as well as year-round and wide-ranging outdoor recreation activities.

Originally owned as part of a large sheep ranch by Ernest and Hazel White, in 1941 the White’s donated the land that now makes up Lone Pine State Park, for public use and education. The Whites stipulated that the land be developed for public use and to teach an appreciation for the benefits of conservation.

Did you know?
Lone Pine hosts extensive educational and recreation opportunities throughout the year? In the next month alone, events range from fly tying to avalanche awareness to birding and snowshoeing. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for more listings.

Add to your itinerary today - click for park coordinates!

Looking for activities at Lone Pine? You’ll find:

✅ Archery

✅ Bird Watching/Wildlife Viewing

✅ Cross Country Skiing

✅ Hiking

✅ Horseback Riding

✅ Horseshoes

✅ Mountain Biking

✅ Snowshoeing

✅ Plus so many more!

The visitor center has a gift shop and provides visitors with highlights of the wildlife and forest ecology of the park.

A great spot for meetings or social gatherings (can host up to 100 people), the visitor center has a spacious meeting room with audio/visual capabilities and wrap around decks!

7.5 miles of trails can accommodate for short or long hikes where you’ll find great views of wildflowers and local wildlife.

Snowshoe rentals are available for $5 per person or $10 per family during the winter months.

With adult workshops, children's activities and interpretive programs throughout the year, Lone Pine State Park is an ideal stop for field trips, out of state visitors or Montana residents interested in learning more about northwestern Montana.

DID YOU KNOW?

You wouldn’t know from looking around the heavily forested Lone Pine today, but when the land was originally donated, there were barely a handful of trees.

At one of the main overlooks, there was a single pine growing out of a cliff and this tree gave the park its name. Although this “lone pine” is no longer standing, a plaque now marks its location.
Curious what other visitors had to say?

"Good easy access. Close to Kalispell. Easy hikes, great scenery. Wear comfortable shoes, no need for special equipment."

"You can park at the lower gate, around the corner in the upper lot, or drive by Foy's Lake and take the main entrance to the top (ample parking and handicap accessible). Not only does Lone Pine have an abundance of trails for all abilities, but it has a great Visitors Center at the top as well. The staff is very knowledgeable about plants, wildlife, and other hiking opportunities in the Valley. A great place to walk your dog, view the city, or have a picnic!"

"Lots of fun and lots of wildlife. I recommend going out early before it gets too hot and the wildlife enters the woods to lay down."

"Lone Pine is pet-friendly and has excellent educational programs, well-maintained trails, guided hikes and special youth programs. We have attended programs on wild raptors/rehab and release after injury, and on the Karelian Bear Dogs. It is also right on the way to the hidden Foy's Lake, just slightly below it to the northwest.

At Foy's Lake (a County maintained park) you can also enjoy swimming, boating (no rentals, just your own), fishing (the lake is stocked yearly with trout) or have a picnic. Ice fishing in Winter. In Summer Lone Pine is also near the Herron Park Equestrian Park and its trails.

Just a few of the other things you can do at Lone Pine: Take the Archery trail, bird watching, cross-country ski/snowshoe in winter, play horseshoes, mountain bike, Take panoramic photos, Have a picnic, or go for a run."

Lone Pine State Park
Quick Facts

Park
Park
Open Year-Round
8 a.m. to Sunset

Visitor Center
Open Year-Round
Wednesday - Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday
12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving, 
December 24, 25 & 31 and
January 1

Location
300 Lone Pine Road
Kalispell, MT 59901

Open Year-Round
270 Acres
ADA Accessible
Pets Allowed
Toilets (Flush & Vault)
Water Gift Shop
Visitor Center

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Lone Pine State Park?

In the last year, the Foundation helped fund new visitor information kiosks throughout the park as well as helped to pay for educational supplies, things like radar detectors, for classes on bats that Lone Pine features in the summer months.

And it's supporters just like you that helped make all this work possible.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Fort Owen State Park

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This week's focus takes us to 25 minutes south of Missoula, Montana and into Stevensville, Montana to Fort Owen State Park. Here you will find the remains of the oldest pioneer settlement in the State of Montana. Fort Owen State Park is open year-round and offers us a glimpse into the history of early Montana where many “firsts” occurred: – first sawmill, first grist mill, first agricultural development, first water right, and first land transaction. Fort Owen State Park is supported by the Friends of Fort Owen. Be sure to check out local events that they sponsor throughout the year.

Just south of Missoula near Stevensville, you will find the remains of one of the most historically important sites in Montana, Fort Owen State Park. Originally home to the first Catholic Church in Montana, founded by Father DeSmet in 1841, Fort Owen has a rich history and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places - NPS.

Did you know?
During its peak, the only structures larger than Fort Owen were located in Saint Paul, Minnesota or Salt Lake City, Utah?!

In 1850, Major John Owen arrived in the Bitterroot Valley Montana and purchased the (about to be abandoned) mission and transformed it into a trading post which he named Fort Owen. Owen began trading with Native Americans and a growing number of early settlers in the area, making Fort Owen an important trading hub for Western Montana.

With tall, whitewashed walls, the fort stood out from the surrounding landscape like a beacon to those looking for supplies. Fort Owen was the heart of this early community, where John Owen and his beloved Shoshone wife Nancy, not only sold supplies but provided a place of warmth and hospitality to all those who visited.

Things to do:

✅ Check out the museum!

✅ Enjoy a picnic!

✅ Capture the historical significance through photography!

✅ Visit nearby Stevensville and the St. Mary’s Mission.

✅ Plus so many more!

Fort Owen served as an important trading hub for Western Montana for over 20 years. However, when the Mullan Road was built in 1863, connecting Fort Benton, Montana to Walla Walla, Washington, it became the main transportation route and bypassed Fort Owen, going north through Missoula instead.

Fort Owen became less regionally important as Missoula became the focus of trade in Western
Montana. When Nancy Owen died in 1868, John’s Owen's mental health began to decline along with his financial success.

Eventually John’s deteriorating mental health lead to the financial collapse of the trading post. In 1872, Washington McCormick purchased the buildings and grist mill at a Sheriff’s sale. Diagnosed with dementia, John Owen was moved back to the East Coast to live out the rest of his life with his relatives where he passed away in 1889. Oddly, while repairing a roof at Fort Owen, Washington McCormick was killed that same year after the roof he was repairing was blown off in a violent summer storm.

After this the property and buildings of the fort passed through many hands, one acre surrounding the remains of the fort was given to the Fort Owen Historical Association in 1937. In 1956 they conveyed it to the state of Montana for one dollar.

Did you know that prior to becoming Fort Owen, the buildings and farm fields purchased by
John Owen, had been developed was a by Catholic Missionaries who established the community of Stevensville to minister to the Salish Indians in their homeland of the Bitterroot Valley?

In addition to its many firsts, it also was the first recorded land transaction in Montana and and contains the oldest constructed buildings in the State of Montana.

Today you can tour one of the barracks that served as John Owen’s home and library, see the outline of the fort’s walls, a reconstructed root cellar, the well house and a historic cabin. The rooms in the east barracks feature period furnishings and artifacts and visitors will find interpretive signs and exhibits which detail the region's history.

When visiting, be aware that the property surrounding Fort Owen State Park is privately owned, please respect these property owners and stay within the park boundaries. Due to limited parking and turnaround space, vehicles towing trailers are not recommended.

While Fort Owen is open year-round, the staff are only there on occasion so be prepared for a self-guided experience!

Fort Owen State Park
Quick Facts

Park
Open Year-Round
From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location
99 Fort Owen Ranch Rd
Stevensville, MT 59870

1 Acre

Pets Allowed

Toilet (Vault)

Interpretive Displays

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Fort Owen State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.


Weekly Parks Showcase:

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Your Weekly Showcase of Montana State Parks

This week's focus takes us to an hour outside of Missoula, Montana near Seeley Lake, Montana to Placid Lake State Park. Placid Lake State Park is open year-round with extensive outdoor recreation options in the summer months, including fishing, boating, hiking, and mountain biking – just to name a few. This weeks parks showcase is sponsored by Visit Missoula!

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Located near Seeley Lake and Salmon Lake State Park, you’ll find Placid Lake State Park.

Did you know?
Placid Lake State Park is actually named for New York’s Lake Placid!

Found on a tributary of the Clearwater River, Placid Lake State Park is an excellent choice for families and adventurers alike. Add to your itinerary today - click for park coordinates!

✅ Enjoy a picnic by the lake.

✅ Challenge your friends or family to a game of volleyball or horseshoes.

✅ Spend the day on the water boating or swimming.

✅ Take in a beautiful sunset over the lake.

✅ Go on a hike around the lake.

✅ Plus so much more!

Lake Placid State Park is a great option if you’re looking to camp! With 40 campsites and recently added showers and laundry facilities, this state park provides a taste of the great outdoors without having to stray too far from the comforts of home.

With over 40,000 visitors each summer, Placid Lake State Park is one of the busiest state parks.

The forest around the lake was once in logging territory and what were once roads used to haul trees and equipment are now used as hiking and mountain biking trails. You can learn more about the history of the area through the interpretive panels along the trails.

Planning to bring your boat? You can rent a boat slip on a first-come, first-serve basis.

DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know the Montana State Parks Foundation’s specialty license plate is a painting of this state park by Missoula artist, Monte Dolack, entitled “Placid Lake Sunset”?

And that every dollar from license plate sales help to fund the Foundation's work and is available at your local DMV anywhere in the state.

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Placid Lake State Park
Quick Facts

Park
Off-Season Hours
December 1 - April 30
Closed to all motorized traffic, walk-in only.
Day-use only, no overnight camping.

Peak Season Hours
May 22 - November 30
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Campground
Open Year Round

Location
5001 N. Placid Lake Road
Seeley Lake, MT 59868
Open Year Round

Open Year-Round

31 Acres

ADA Accessible

Pets Allowed

Toilets (Flush & Vault)

Shower

RV Hookups

Water

Electricity

Maps

Boat Launch

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Placid Lake State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

P.S. The Montana State Parks Foundation would like to say thank you to all the generous donor who made charitable gifts during our 2018 End of Year Giving Campaign. Your support makes a real difference for Montana State Parks by funding on the ground projects to enhance the visitor experience at parks. You can learn more about past projects and our plans for 2019 on our website:

www.montanastateparksfoundation.org/projects/

Weekly Parks Showcase: Chief Plenty Coups State Park

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This week's focus takes us to 40 minutes south of Billings, Montana near Pryor, Montana, to Chief Plenty Coups State Park. Chief Plenty Coups State Park and Home is named for the last traditional chief of the Crow Nation, Chief Plenty Coups (Aleek-chea-ahoosh, meaning "many achievements"). Plenty Coups was a man of war - and then a man of peace - whose vision has helped bridge a gap between two cultures. Recognized for his bravery and leadership, he was made a chief of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe by age 28. This weeks parks showcase is sponsored by Visit Billings.

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Did you know?
Chief Plenty Coups was a well-known statesman and ambassador, he knew several U.S. Presidents and met many foreign leaders during his life.

Chief Plenty Coups is remembered for helping to bridge the divide between Native American people and white settlers during a time when the Native American people were being coerced into giving up their traditional ways.

Through the Indian Allotment Act, Chief Plenty Coups received an allotment of land which included a sacred spring, something that Plenty Coups envisioned as a young man, and became one of the first Apsáalooke to own and settle on a farm.

On his land, Chief Plenty Coups built a log home, began farming and eventually opened a general store.

You won’t find camping at Chief Plenty Coups State Park, but you will find a day’s worth of activities! Add to your itinerary today - click for park coordinates!

You can:

✅ Hike the ¾ mile trail around the grounds and near the creek.

✅ Take in the beauty and serenity while enjoying lunch in the picnic area.

✅ Bird watching.

✅ Learn more about Chief Plenty Coups’ life and Native American culture at the visitor center.

✅ Have a fishing license? Try and catch a fish in the creek!

✅ Plus many more!

While traveling to Washington, District of Columbia., Plenty Coups toured George Washington's Mount Vernon, and was struck by the idea of a national monument open to all.

In 1932, at age 84, Chief Plenty Coups passed away and at his and his wife, Strikes the Iron’s, request, a portion of their homestead was made into a state park which eventually grew to 195 acres for all people to visit and learn from and still operates as such today!

DID YOU KNOW?

At the burial of the unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in 1921, Chief Plenty Coups attended as a representative of all the Indian Nations.

While the ceremony commenced, Chief Plenty Coups placed his headdress and two coups sticks on the tomb in honor of the fallen soldiers.

The headdress and coups sticks can still be seen today on display in the Virginia cemetery.

Quick Facts

Park Winter Hours
3rd Sunday of September to 3rd Friday of May:
Open Wednesday - Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Park Summer Hours
3rd Saturday of May to 3rd Monday of September:
Open Daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Visitor Center & Chief’s House
Winter Hours
3rd Sunday of September to 3rd Friday of May:
Open Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer Hours
3rd Saturday of May to 3rd Monday of September:
Open Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Closed on all federal and state holidays except
Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Park also closed December 24th and 31st.

Location
1 Edgar/Pryor Road
Pryor, MT 59066
Open Year Round

Open Year-Round

ADA Accessible

Pets Allowed

National Historic Landmark

Toilets (Flush)

Visitor Center

Gift Shop

Maps

Playground

Picnicking

Hiking


How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Chief Plenty Coups State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

P.S. The Montana State Parks Foundation would like to say thank you to all the generous donor who made charitable gifts during our 2018 End of Year Giving Campaign. Your support makes a real difference for Montana State Parks by funding on the ground projects to enhance the visitor experience at parks. 

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Weekly Parks Showcase: Brush Lake State Park

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This week's focus takes us to Dagmar, Montana only 54 miles from Williston, North Dakota and only 150 Regina, Saskatchewan, to the only state park in the northeast corner of Montana, Montana’s 50th state park, Brush Lake State Park. Brush Lake is a deep lake (65 feet) in a closed basin and the site of National Science Foundation (NSF) research on climate change. The lake boasts 45 feet of sediments showcasing 10,000 years of pollen and mineral depositing helping to tell the story of climate, and its changes, since the Ice Age.

Did you know?
Brush Lake State Park is 280-acres and its water quality is theorized to be more ocean-like than fresh water like - making it an ideal swimming location in the summer months.

Both deep and incredibly clear, Brush Lake’s beaches are surrounded by grass fields and spring wheat during the summer.

Things to do:

✅ Hoping to camp? You can do so in one of the 12 campsites!

✅ Take a hike and go bird watching along the shore.

✅ Public swimming access is on the northeast part of the lake where the day-use area is also located.

✅ Utilize the boat launch and take your boat, canoe or kayak out for a day on the water.

✅ Have a picnic on the beach!

✅ Plus so much more!

Due to its close proximity to Canada, during Prohibition liquor was easy to come by and kept the Brush Lake Summer Resort in business. There was also a dance hall!

After the Prohibition era, church and scout groups used the lake, but in the years before it became a state park, Brush Lake wasn’t the popular destination it once had been.

Today the area where the dance hall once stood on the south side of the lake, is now privately held.

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In Eastern Montana, it is not uncommon to see the Aurora Borealis during solar events, especially during the fall and winter.

Brush Lake's northern latitude and remote location make it a "stellar" destination for your next stargazing or northern lights viewing adventure. In fact it has been designated as an official Dark Sky Viewing Area.

DID YOU KNOW?

Because of the high alkali content, Brush Lake does not support a significant fish population. But in contrast, it showcases a distinctive aquamarine blue color.

How to Get There:

Brush Lake State Park is located 31 miles south of Plentywood, Montana. From Montana Highway 16 go east on Highway 258 for 16.5 miles, turn south on Brush Lake County Road, proceed one mile.

Let’s get outside!

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Brush Lake State Park? 
As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Cooney State Park

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our Weekly Showcase of Montana State Parks

This week's focus takes us between Billings, Montana and Red Lodge, Montana to Cooney State Park. With 2 miles of trails (we've even heard rumors of a future project to that wrap around the entire reservoir), Cooney State Park offers great views and a wide variety of outdoor activities that won't fail to impress.

This weekly parks feature series is brought to you by Visit Billings. Billings, Montana's Trailhead

Did you know?

Cooney State Park is just 40 minutes south of Billings and offers year-round access and activities.

Planning a stop? You’ll find:

Summer Activities

✅ Boating

✅ Camping

✅ Water Skiing

✅ Wakeboarding

✅ Swimming

✅ Hiking

✅ Fishing

✅ Tubing

Winter Activities

✅ Cross-country skiing

✅ Skating

✅ Ice fishing!

✅ Plus so much more!

Not only does the park have a gorgeous reservoir, but it has a view of the Beartooth Mountains in the background.

Regardless of the season, you’ll find excellent fishing for walleye and rainbow trout. And don’t forget, the Red Lodge Arm has a fish cleaning station!

Planning to bring your boat along? You shouldn’t have any issues finding a place to drop in with three boat docks and ramps surrounding the lake!

DID YOU KNOW?

During the winter, some people enjoy kite-skiing across the lake.

Camping is plentiful at Cooney State Park with five campgrounds and 82 campsites, 19 of which have electricity.

While the electricity in the campgrounds is on year-round, be aware the water is shut off during the winter months.

There are also three day-use group areas available around the lake.

Local Tips When Visiting Cooney
* The waterfront sites are truly waterfront (I stayed in Marshalls Cove) - a great place to bring a Kayak. There are also electric sites available. You will need to drive about 1 mile on a gravel, wash-boarded road to get to Marshalls Cove. Longer if you want to get to the other campgrounds that comprise Cooney Dam Reservoir. The place has a spirit of adventure about it. Phone service is limited to Fisherman's point - about 1 mile from Marshalls Cove. We camped at Cooney State Park in a Fifth Wheel.

* Great jet ski and boating reservoir. Sunny skies and fun location in the shadow of snow-covered mountains.

* Love this place. Go early if you wanna beat the crowds.

* Great lake and close to Billings. Just a little fishing tip use leeches.

* Stayed for a week in June it was packed during the weekend and pretty much empty during the week. There is no cell phone (unless you have a booster) and no wi-fi. The place was clean and the people friendly. The gravel pad was mostly level. We camped at Cooney State Park in a Motorhome.

Cooney State Park Quick Facts
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Park
Open Year-Round

Campground
Open Year-Round

Location

86 Lake Shore Road
Roberts, MT 59070

Day Use Area Open Year-Round
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* Open Year-Round
* 309 Acres
* ADA Accessible
* Pets Allowed
* Water
* Toilets (Flush & Vault)
* Boat Launch & Docks
* Playground

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Cooney State Park?
---------------------------------------------------------

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

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Weekly Parks Showcase: Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park

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This week's focus takes us near Big Timber, Montana – approximately 100 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park and on interstate 90 between Bozeman, Montana and Billings, Montana. As one of Montana's few state parks named after the animal namesake it's working to protect, you'll find this experience to be as much about the location as the "locals" (or maybe more so).

Located just off the interstate in South central Montana, Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park is the perfect stop on a family road trip.

Greycliff is protected and preserved through the joint efforts of Montana State Parks, The Nature Conservancy and the Montana Department of Transportation.

Did you know?

Prairie dogs have an important ecological significance. They create habitats that provide prey, shelter and forage for many animals, including black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls and mountain plovers.

Planning a stop? You’ll find:

✅ A picnic area conveniently located at the entrance of the park, but remember, do NOT feed the prairie dogs! These are still wild animals whose diet is specifically adapted to natural food NOT human food.

✅ Interpretive displays help visitors to understand prairie dogs and the role they play in our ecosystem.

✅ The landscape makes for beautiful photography.

✅ Wildlife runs abound here, see how many different creatures you can spot!

✅ Plus so much more!

Prairie dogs are very talkative and are known to have at least 11 different calls.

Black-tailed prairie dogs typically dig 15 to 40 burrow entrances per acre, that means in the 98-acre state park, there are between 1,470-3,920 burrow entrances!

These prairie dogs build a complex burrow, which can be up to seven feet deep and 25 feet long, and includes a listening chamber, dry chamber, regular chamber, and toilet, all of which serve different functions.

DID YOU KNOW?

The black-tailed prairie dog is only one of five different species of prairie dogs.
Within the Greycliff colony, the prairie dogs have a “coterie” which is like a prairie dog family.

Each coterie consists of an adult male, three adult females and their offspring under two years old.

If you’re planning to visit, you’re more likely to see these active creatures on a mild winter or summer day as they tend to hide when it’s too cold or hot.

Let’s get outside!

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.

As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

Weekly Parks Showcase: Ackley Lake State Park

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Your Weekly Showcase of Montana State Parks

This week's focus takes us near Lewistown, Montana – right in the heart of Montana's Big Sky Country. The surrounding mountains and rich agricultural areas that inspired renowned Western artist Charlie Russell whose works can be seen at the nearby Charles M. Russell Center in Great Falls, Montana, a hundred years ago.

Just southwest of Hobson, Montana, you’ll find Ackley Lake State Park. Surrounded by the Little Belt Mountains and Snowy Mountains, Ackley Lake State Park is an incredibly beautiful destination.

Did you know?

The water in Ackley Lake comes from the Judith River and is stockpiled for irrigation use.
Planning a visit? Take a look at all you can do at Ackley Lake!

✅ Love to fish? You’re in luck! The lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout.

✅ Spend your day on the water boating or water skiing. Two boat launches ensure you won’t be waiting long to get your boat in the water.

✅ Enjoy your picnic with amazing views.

✅ Don’t forget your binoculars if you plan to do any bird watching!

✅ Lounge in the sun on the beach and take a dip to cool off!

✅ Spend a winter day ice fishing or snowshoeing around the lake!

✅ Search for crayfish and aquatic insects in the shallow areas along the shore!

✅ Camp at one of the rustic campsites near the lake!

✅ Plus so much more!

How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Ackley Lake?

As Montana State Parks only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you. As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.

Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana's renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all... forever.

Don't forget to pay a visit to the Ackley Lake Club whose hard work and commitment to Ackley Lake State Park has helped ensure continued access and great experiences for thousands for Ackley Lake visitors.