PROJECTS AT LEWIS AND CLARK CAVERNS
In the spring of 2020 we developed an Alternative Caverns Tour that will open the caving, speleology, and spelunking opportunities at the State Park to a much wider array of visitors through the development of alternative, accessible cavern tours.
A major part of this larger project was the construction of a steel and timber framed shade shelter. This project is now complete and provided shade and weather shelter to over 12,300 park visitors in its first summer. Upon completion we donated the shelter to the state of Montana for the use and enjoyment of all park visitors.
The only tour of the caverns that was regularly offered at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park was an arduous hike and journey through a large portion of the caverns complex. The steep hike to the upper caverns entrance, frequent stooping, crawling and sliding made the tour inaccessible for park visitors with many mobility or physical limitations. When completed, the Paradise Room tour allowed up to an additional 12,240 non-traditional visitors to explore the renowned namesake caverns of the State Park.
We also provided the matching funds needed to develop alternative campsites designed to accommodate travelers arriving at the park on foot or bicycle. These new campsites provide specific amenities such as lockers, charging stations, weather protection, tools for basic gear maintenance, and nearby drinking water access. These campsites help to accommodate a growing number of long distance cyclists traveling in Southwest Montana.
Lewis and Clark Caverns is a great park for the development of these campsites. As Montana's first state park, Lewis and Clark Caverns is a top tier destination park that offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities such as spelunking, hiking, fishing, swimming, wildlife viewing, birding, and more.
We offer thanks to our amazing project partners whose generosity and love of State Parks made this project possible.
Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
American Academy of Dermotology
Montana Gift Corral
Jefferson Valley Community Foundation
Joel & Rachel Degenstein