Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is a remote refuge located in the high altitude of the Centennial Valley, in the southwestern region of the U. S. state of Montana. Adjacent to Gallatin National Forest and near Yellowstone National Park, the refuge is an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Red Rock Lakes is best known for being the primary location for the efforts saving the trumpeter swan from extinction, which by 1932 had fewer than 200 known specimens in the United States and Canada. By the year 2002, an estimated 3,000 trumpeters were wintering on the refuge, many having migrated south from their summer range in Canada; the trumpeters are now so plentiful that efforts are being undertaken to help them reestablish historical migratory routes to areas further south in the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin region. The elegant trumpeter swan is North America's largest waterfowl, with a wingspans of 8 feet and they can weigh up to 30 pounds; the altitude of the refuge ranges from 6,600 feet to 10,000 feet and consists of 65,810.25 acres of high altitude prairie and forested uplands.
The lakes and cold water marshlands provide a uncommon wetland environment favored by certain waterfowl and predatory birds such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. There have been sightings of over 250 different bird species in the refuge and over 100 different species are known to nest here. There are 20 nesting pairs of bald eagles on the refuge, there have been several sightings of the endangered whooping crane. Numerous mammals can be found here such as the American black bear, the Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, beaver and badger, it is believed that the grizzly bear and wolf packs may frequent the refuge, wolverine have been recorded. The refuge has been designated a National Natural Landmark and the creation of the 32,350 acre Red Rock Lakes Wilderness in 1976 ensures that no further human improvements will be undertaken on the vast bulk of the refuge land. There are no maintained trails in the refuge and access to some areas is prohibited during certain times of the year; the refuge is staffed year round but accessibility to the refuge in the winter is difficult.
Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is located 28 miles east of Monida, Montana off Interstate 15. List of largest National Wildlife Refuges "Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge". U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2006-08-16. "The Trumpeter Swan". Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2006-08-16. Red Rock Lakes NWR gallery by USFWS
Nez Perce National Historical Park
The Nez Perce National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park comprising 38 sites located throughout the states of Idaho, Montana and Washington, which included traditional aboriginal lands of the Nez Perce people. The sites are associated with the resistance of Chief Joseph and his band, who in June 1877 took off from Oregon in an attempt to reach freedom in Canada and avoid being forced on to a reservation, they were pursued by U. S. Army cavalry fought numerous skirmishes against them; the park was established in 1965, a museum was opened at the park headquarters in Spalding, Idaho, in 1983. The 38 sites span three main ecoregions. Numerous animal species inhabit the park, including several; the park commemorates the history and stories of the Nez Perce. It includes sites associated with the Nez Perce War of 1877, when the people resisted takeover by the United States, the flight of Chief Joseph and his band; the park is administered overall by the National Park Service, a number of the sites are managed by other federal and state agencies as well as local communities.
The park was established by Congress in 1965. Construction of the planned headquarters site and museum at Spalding were delayed by land acquisition and federal funding problems. Soon after construction began in September 1979, Native American graves were discovered at the site. Remains and artifacts were preserved in consultation with the Nez Perce. Construction of the visitor center and museum was restarted; the museum opened in June 1983. The Nez Perce National Historic Park does not follow the format of most national parks, in that it is composed of dozens of sites spread over four states; the 38 sites are linked by the history of the Nez Perce people, rather than by geographic location. Twenty-six of the sites are on or near the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Idaho and can be toured in one day. Adjacent states hold the other twelve sites. Several of the sites are connected by the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, managed by the United States Forest Service, it preserves the route taken by Chief Joseph and his band when they tried to reach Canada in 1877.
The sites include: Battle of Bear Paw – Blaine County, Montana Battle of the Clearwater – Idaho County, Idaho Battle of White Bird Canyon – Idaho County, Idaho Big Hole National Battlefield – Beaverhead County, Montana Camas Meadows Battle Sites – Clark County, Idaho Camas Prairie – Idaho County and Lewis County, Idaho Camp Chopunnish – Idaho County, Idaho Joseph Canyon – Wallowa County and Asotin County, Washington Old Chief Joseph Gravesite – Wallowa County, Oregon Weippe Prairie – Weippe, Idaho The NPNHP sites cover three main ecoregions. The first, found at the sites in the Palouse grasslands and Missouri Basin, is shortgrass prairie; these flat or rolling prairies include rivers and streams, have an altitude of about 1,000 to 3,500 feet. The second, found in the plateaus of the Columbia and Snake rivers, is sagebrush steppe at around 3,000 ft in altitude; the third, found in the sites in the Blue Mountains, Salmon River Mountains, southwestern Montana and northern Rocky Mountains, is conifer and alpine meadows.
These high-elevation sites have lower temperatures and greater precipitation than the other ecoregions. Numerous species of mammals, reptiles and invertebrates inhabit the various park sites. Several of these species are classified in terms of their status as "threatened," "endangered" or "sensitive" at the state level. Montana Arctic grayling, mountain plover, swift fox, great grey owl, boreal owl and several fish species are all sensitive species that inhabit the park, while gray wolf and bald eagles are sometimes seen. Managers of the park have several ecological concerns including issues of invasive plant species, the degradation of animal habitat due to human activity, the protection of endangered species, dealing with effects of climate change. "Master Plan Nez Perce National Historic Park". National Park Service. 1968. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Ted Catton. "Administrative History-Nez Perce National Historic Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. John Dishon McDermott. "Forlorn Hope-A Study of the Battle of White Bird Canyon Idaho and the Beginning of the Nez Perce Indian War".
National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Robert Applegate. "Museum Management Plan-Nez Perce National Historical Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Official website
Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U. S. states — Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads; this trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail. The Continental Divide Trail, along with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, form what thru-hiker enthusiasts have termed the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States. Only about two hundred people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it. Dave Odell thru-hiked in 1977 and in the same year Dan Torpey hiked from the NM/CO border to Mt Robson, Canada.
German long-distance rider Günter Wamser, Austrian Sonja Endlweber managed to complete the tour with four Bureau of Land Management mustangs in three summers 2007–09. In 2007, Francis Tapon became the first person to do a round backpacking trip "yo-yo" on the Continental Divide Trail when he thru-hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico along the CDT and needed seven months to finish it; this seven-month journey spanned over 5,600 miles. Tapon took the most circuitous, high, difficult route north and while returning south, took the more expedient route. Andrew Skurka completed the trail as part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop in 2007; the youngest person to thru-hike the trail is Reed Gjonnes, who hiked the trail with her father Eric Gjonnes from April 15, 2013 to September 6, 2013 in one continuous northbound hike at the age of 13. The CDT in New Mexico is about 700 miles long and some portions have limited water. Local volunteer groups place water caches at strategic points along the trail.
Three southern termini of the trail exist: 1) Crazy Cook Monument, the official CDT southern terminus, east of the Big Hatchet Mountains, 2) Antelope Wells, New Mexico and 3) near Columbus, New Mexico. All three are located within New Mexico's boot heel; the terminus near Columbus is not on the Continental Divide but rather in the vicinity of Columbus, a village, the northern terminus of the annual 250-mile Cabalgata Binacional Villista. The Crazy Cook Monument is the most recognized starting or finishing point of the Continental Divide Trail, but due to its remote location, devoid of any lodging or other services, Columbus is considered a legitimate alternate starting or finishing point for those hiking or biking the CDT. Located 3 miles from the International Port of Entry at Palomas, Columbus is a small border village with several amenities including two modest hotels, a gas station, a handful of small cafes, a US Post Office, a bank, auto mechanics, grocery stores. Columbus is listed as a National Historic Landmark due to the invasion in 1916 by Pancho Villa and his "Villistas".
The village has two museums and a state park commemorating Pancho Villa's raid and the so-called Punitive Mexican Expedition led by US Army General "Blackjack" Pershing, who attempted, but failed to capture him. From the Crazy Cook Monument, the trail begins as a cross-country desire path. From Columbus, the route is a roadwalk to Lordsburg. Notable points on the CDT in New Mexico include: Animas and Playas Valleys Carson National Forest Chama River Canyon Wilderness Cibola National Forest Cumbres Pass El Malpaís National Monument Gila National Forest Pie Town Reserve San Pedro Parks Wilderness The CDT passes through many of the highest and wildest mountain regions of Colorado, such as the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado and the Sawatch Range in the central region. In most areas the trail is well marked, it is concurrent with the Colorado Trail for 200 miles. The CDT itself meanders in Colorado some 650 miles at higher altitudes. Depending on any given year's snow-pack and a hiker's individual schedule, alternative routes are available.
The Creede Cut-off in the San Juan Mountains to avoid persistent snow or unfavorable weather is such an example. This should be balanced with Colorado's'monsoon season' with afternoon thunderstorms that occur in late July and August; the route's location makes short side trips to many of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks feasible. A few stretches of the CDT in Colorado have no distinct marked or named trail, but Jonathan Ley's or Jim Wolf's maps are helpful; some stretches of the CDT in Colorado are still a wilderness footpath. Additional points of interest along the Colorado CDT include: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Grays Peak - highest summit on the CDT Mount Elbert and Mount Massive - Colorado's highest peaks Rabbit Ears Pass Rocky Mountain National Park Wolf Creek Pass North Park Middle Park South Park Of all the five states traversed by the CDT, Wyoming has the most diverse terrain; this includes hiking through a large section of range-land in the middle of the state, known as the Great Divide Basin.
Hikers must decide on a route with regard to the Great Divide Basin since the actual Continental Divide forks in southern Wyoming forming in an endorheic basin. The shortest route
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
The Montana Department of Fish and Parks is a government agency in the executive branch state of Montana in the United States with responsibility for protecting sustainable fish and state-owned park resources in Montana for the purpose of providing recreational activities. The agency engages in law enforcement activities to enforce laws and regulations regarding fish and state parks, encourages safe recreational use of these resources; the Montana Territorial Legislature enacted the first fish or wildlife law in 1854. The first game bird hunting laws were passed in 1869, hunting seasons for antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats, rabbits set in 1872. Fur trapping and bird hunting seasons followed in 1876. In 1885, the territorial legislature established Game Commission; the state's first state game warden was hired in the same year that Montana became a state. Under Montana state law, each county was authorized to hire one game warden, but a lack of funds and interest led to no wardens being hired.
By 1900, only four of Montana's then-24 counties had game wardens. The Montana State Legislature established the state Fish and Game Board in 1895. Governor John E. Rickards appointed the first Fish and Game Commissioners on March 4, 1895; the Fish and Game Board hired its first state game warden, R. A. Wagner, in July 1898. Hunting and fishing licenses were imposed on out-of-state residents in 1901; the funds from sale of licenses and fines imposed on violators funded the state's court system, in its first year more than 300 justices of the peace were supported by the law. The Fish and Game commissioners recommended the establishment of a Fish and Game Department, the legislature created this agency on April 1, 1901; the game warden and his deputies were all authorized law enforcement officers. Fish and game districts were created and eight deputy game wardens authorized for each district. Hunting and fishing licenses for in-state residents were required in 1905; the state reorganized its fish and wildlife management structure in 1913, creating the first state Fish and Game Commission.
In 1921, the state legislature reorganized the Commission: A board of five Commissioners was established, with the power to create fish and game districts and close hunting seasons, more. The state's first game management area opened in 1926, by 1936 the state had 46 areas in operation; the first three preservation areas to be set aside were at Snow Creek, Pryor Mountain, the Gallatin River. On September 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act; the law created an excise tax on ammunition, archery equipment and hunting firearms, apportioned the revenue among state wildlife agencies on a matching funds basis. Montana used these funds to purchase its first wildlife management area in 1938; the state used these funds to hire its first wildlife biologist in 1940. Congress passed the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act in 1950, allowing the Montana Fish and Game Commission to hire fisheries biologists, establish its first fisheries management projects, initiate the first studies of problems affecting fisheries.
In 1941, the state legislature gave the Fish and Game Commission the power to engage in rulemaking, gave it additional power to open and close seasons, set bag limits, create game preserves. That same year, the Fish and Game Commission established a program to collect data and conduct research on wildlife management so that a more rational wildlife management program might be established. Montana adopted a new state constitution in 1972. Article IX, Section 1 of the new constitution provided for the protection and improvement of the environment. Subsection 3 of Section 1 declared that the state legislature "shall provide adequate remedies for the protection of the environmental life support system from degradation and provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources." On July 1, 1973, the state adopted model legislation known as the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, which required the state Fish and Game Commission to identify and protect threatened and endangered wildlife, conduct research on non-game and endangered species, acquire and manage habitat for their use.
The state legislature changed the name of the Montana Fish and Game Commission to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission in 1991. The Montana Fish and Parks Commission is a quasi-judicial body, authorized to engage in rulemaking for the Montana Department of Fish and Parks, approves the purchase of land for use by the department, approves certain activities of the department. There are five members of the commission, all of whom must be citizens of the state and each one of whom represents one of the department's five geographical regions. Members serve for four years. Members are appointed by the Governor, with three membe
Bitterroot National Forest
Bitterroot National Forest comprises 1.587 million acres in west-central Montana and eastern Idaho, of the United States. It is located in Ravalli County, but has acreage in Idaho County and Missoula County, Montana. Founded in 1898, the forest is located in the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains with elevations ranging from 2,200 feet along the Salmon River in Idaho to 10,157 foot Trapper Peak. Half the forest make up part or all of three distinct Wilderness areas; these areas include the Anaconda-Pintler, Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River of No Return Wildernesses. The distinction is that in wilderness areas, no roads, mining or other construction is permitted and all access must be done either on foot or horseback. Hunting, however is allowed forest-wide including wilderness areas; the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through parts of what are now forest lands in 1805. After the discovery of gold in Idaho and Montana in the 1860s, numerous mining towns were built, some of which today are ghost towns.
The Nez Perce National Historic Trail passes through a portion of the forest, following the route of the retreating Nez Perce on their historic path that led from Idaho to north central Montana in 1877. Heavy logging and other resource depletion beginning in the 1880s led conservationists to push for the preservation of the forest; the Bitter Root Forest Reserve was established by the General Land Office on March 1, 1898 with 4,147,200 acres. It was transferred to the U. S. Forest Service in 1906. On July 1, 1908 the name was changed to Bitterroot National Forest, with lands added from Big Hole National Forest and Hell Gate National Forest. Other lands were transferred from Bitterroot to Beaverhead, Nez Perce and Salmon National Forests. On October 29, 1934 part of Selway National Forest was added. In August 2016, a wildfire burnt down fourteen houses; the forest is home to many species of wildlife species including mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, gopher, a variety of chipmunks, porcupine, rabbits, a variety of squirrels, black bear, cougar in addition to many varieties of birds.
The forest is a combination of both forested zones. Grazing rights are leased to private landowners in the lower altitudes where grasses and shrublands are dominant. Higher up, Douglas fir and lodgepole pine give way to Engelmann Spruce and whitebark pine as the altitude increases. Above the treeline at 8,000 feet the trees abruptly grasses are found. A small grizzly bear population is located in the wilderness zones of the forest with black bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and moose found all over this forest. An active effort to reintroduce the grizzly bear to the region concluded in 2000 with a plan to release 25 bears into the wilderness zones over a five-year period beginning in 2003. There are 1,600 mi of 18 improved campgrounds within the forest. Outstanding fishing is found in the dozens of streams and lakes; the forest headquarters is located in Montana. There are local ranger district offices in Darby and Sula; the largest nearby city is Montana. The scenic Blodgett Canyon is but one of many steep canyons located in the forest.
U. S. Highway 93 passes through portions of the forest. There are three designated wilderness areas in Bitterroot National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. All of them, lie in neighboring National Forests, as indicated. Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Much of the forest outside of designated wilderness areas is still roadless and undeveloped. In addition to roadless acreage adjacent to designated wildernesses, a large roadless area 164,000 acres in size and straddling the Montana-Idaho state line exists just west of Lost Trail Pass; this area, named for 9,154' Allan Mountain, lies in Montana and is critical to the migration of wildlife between the wildlands of central Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Allan Mountain area is a lower-elevation part of the Bitterroot Range that features extensive coniferous forests, steep canyons, pockets of old-growth ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir.
Within the area is Overwhich Falls, a popular attraction. Elk, black bear, mountain goat, pine marten, pileated woodpecker are residents. Swanson, Frederick H; the Bitterroot and Mr. Brandborg: Clearcutting and the Struggle for Sustainable Forestry in the Northern Rockies. ISBN 978-1-60781-101-5 2000–2001 fires in the Western United States 2016 Nevada wildfire Bitterroot Mountains List of Forests in Montana Bitterroot National Forest - U. S. Forest Service USGS Gird Point Topo Map - TopoQuest.com Bitterroot National Forest Recreation
United States Forest Service
The United States Forest Service is an agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres. Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System and Private Forestry, Business Operations, the Research and Development branch. Managing 25% of federal lands, it is the only major national land agency, outside the U. S. Department of the Interior; the concept of the National Forests was born from Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation group and Crockett Club, due to concerns regarding Yellowstone National Park beginning as early as 1875. In 1876, Congress formed the office of Special Agent in the Department of Agriculture to assess the quality and conditions of forests in the United States. Franklin B. Hough was appointed the head of the office. In 1881, the office was expanded into the newly formed Division of Forestry; the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 authorized withdrawing land from the public domain as "forest reserves," managed by the Department of the Interior.
In 1901, the Division of Forestry was renamed the Bureau of Forestry. The Transfer Act of 1905 transferred the management of forest reserves from the General Land Office of the Interior Department to the Bureau of Forestry, henceforth known as the United States Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot was the first United States Chief Forester in the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Significant federal legislation affecting the Forest Service includes the Weeks Act of 1911, the Multiple Use – Sustained Yield Act of 1960, P. L. 86-517. L. 88-577. L. 94-588. L. 91-190. L. 95-313. L. 95-307. In February 2009, the Government Accountability Office evaluated whether the Forest Service should be moved from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior, which includes the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, managing some 438,000,000 acres of public land; as of 2009, the Forest Service has a total budget authority of $5.5 billion, of which 42% is spent fighting fires.
The Forest Service employs 34,250 employees in 750 locations, including 10,050 firefighters, 737 law enforcement personnel, 500 scientists. The mission of the Forest Service is "To sustain the health and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." Its motto is "Caring for the land and serving people." As the lead federal agency in natural resource conservation, the US Forest Service provides leadership in the protection and use of the nation's forest and aquatic ecosystems. The agency's ecosystem approach to management integrates ecological and social factors to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment to meet current and future needs. Through implementation of land and resource management plans, the agency ensures sustainable ecosystems by restoring and maintaining species diversity and ecological productivity that helps provide recreation, timber, fish, wildlife and aesthetic values for current and future generations of people.
The everyday work of the Forest Service balances resource extraction, resource protection, providing recreation. The work includes managing 193,000,000 acres of national forest and grasslands, including 59,000,000 acres of roadless areas. Further, the Forest Service fought fires on 2,996,000 acres of land in 2007; the Forest Service organization includes ranger districts, national forests, research stations and research work units and the Northeastern Area Office for State and Private Forestry. Each level has responsibility for a variety of functions; the Chief of the Forest Service is a career federal employee. The Chief reports to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U. S. Department of Agriculture, an appointee of the President confirmed by the Senate; the Chief's staff provides broad policy and direction for the agency, works with the Administration to develop a budget to submit to Congress, provides information to Congress on accomplishments, monitors activities of the agency.
There are five deputy chiefs for the following areas: National Forest System and Private Forestry and Development, Business Operations, Finance. The Forest Service Research and Development deputy area includes five research stations, the Forest Products Laboratory, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, in Puerto Rico. Station directors, like regional foresters, report to the Chief. Research stations include Northern, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Rocky Mountain, Southern. There are 92 research work units located at 67 sites throughout the United States. There are 80 Experimental Forests and Ranges that have been established progressively since 1908; the system provides places for long-term science and management studies in major vegetation types of the 195 million acres of public land administered by the Forest Service. Individual sites range from 47 to 22,500 ha in size. Operations of Experimental Forests and Ranges are directed by local research teams for the individual sites, by Research Stations for the regions in which they are located, at the level of the Forest Service.
Major themes in