Visit Montana's 54 State Parks and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.
Thanks to you, 2013 was our best on record for visitation! Visits were up 5% over 2012.
We hope you visit a Montana state park in 2014. We truly appreciate your support.
2014 is an exciting year for Montana State Parks as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary! We have all kinds of special events planned for this celebration year.
Get ready to float the Smith River in 2014! We hit another record in permit applications for 2014. As you know this is a premier recreation destination in Montana and it's a state park. We continue to enhance and promote river safety and being "bear aware". We strongly encourage all floaters to practice proper food storage this season, we will be pursuing food storage regulations for 2015.These regulations are currently a work in progress as an advisory committee is being formed and storage recommendations will be open for public comment in 2014.
We have a new TV spot "Celebrating 75 Years" that has launched in February and is running now in April and May on NBC stations in Montana that features our beautiful state parks along with narration by the actor Sam Elliott and music by the singer/songwriter Amos Lee. This spot can be viewed on our homepage and on You Tube.
Iconic Montana artist Monte Dolack has completed a special, commissioned painting of the Smith River State Park. This painting "Smith River in June" is a partnership with Montana State Parks funded by the Lee and Donna Metcalf Charitable Foundation. It debuted in March and will be placed in the state Capitol building in May with prints being available for the public to buy this summer season, 100% of proceeds benefitting Montana State Parks. Thanks to Monte Dolack for his beautiful work, generous spirit and support for our state parks.
The Montana State Parks & Recreation Board continues their inaugural work on behalf of our state park system and outdoor recreation in Montana. We have started our strategic planning process, to develop a vision for our state parks system over the next decade. We look forward to your input through the public comment process later this year and focus groups this spring.
We hope you will join us for our next Board meeting on June 18.
For more information about the new Board, see Montana State Parks and Recreation Board.
We hope you take time to check out our online campsite reservation program, now in it's fourth year, it allows you to book in advance for spring/summer and not have to worry about having a place to stay.Also, keep in mind that Montana State Parks receives no funding from hunting and fishing licensing and no general fund dollars, our largest source of revenue is through a $6 dollar fee residents pay each year during light vehicle registration. This funding program has been around since 2004, and allows residents daily access to all 54 state parks and fishing access sites without any entrance fees. Non-residents pay a $5 entrance fee per vehicle, which we hope you agree is a true bargain. With your support, our parks will continue to thrive and be an affordable way to get away.
See you Outdoors!
Chas Van Genderen
Administrator, Montana State Parks
The development of the state parks system in Montana was characteristic of many western states responding to the nationwide call for parks that began in the 1920s.
Advocates of state parks in Montana took early direction from the National Park Service and the National Conference on State Parks which began in 1921. The beginnings and development of the Montana State Park system trace no straight easy routes. In its first years, it had only a director and possibilities.
Today we are a thriving 54 state park system with sites on Flathead Lake and sites significant to Montana history and statehood, to parks rich in Native-American culture and heritage.
- 1936 - The State Land Board accepts a land donation from the Northern Pacific Railroad and passes a resolution establishing Morrison Cave (also referred to as Lewis and Clark Caverns) establishing Montana's first state park.
- 1939 - Legislature establishes a State Park System and Commission.
- 1941 - Lone Pine becomes a state park.
- 1953 - State parks program transferred to the State Highway Commission. State Parks Commission abolished.
- 1953 - Makoshika becomes a state park and today remains the largest park in our 54 state park system.
- 1954 - Bannack becomes a state park.
- 1960 - Smith River becomes a state park.
- 1961 - Chief Plenty Coups State Park established.
- 1965 - State Parks are transferred to the Fish and Game Commission.
- 1969 - State Parks administer camping fees.
- 1970 - Cooney becomes a state park.
- 1979 - Department name change from "Fish and Game" to "Fish, Wildlife and Parks."
- 1987 - Legislature ends general fund allocations to the Parks Division.
- 1989 - Vehicle entrance fee established.
- 1994 - State Parks division’s programs for the public were showing success beyond expectations. 26 parks were hosting annual special events, volunteers were plentiful and the division was benefiting from public support.
- 2001 - Travelers' Rest becomes a state park.This park is steeped in Native-American and Lewis & Clark history.
- 2004 - Annual Vehicle Registration fee established, eliminating entrance fee for residents.
- 2010 - Economic Impact Survey shows that Montana State Parks had nearly 2 million visitors that year, generating $289 million dollars for local economies with visitors spending money in tourism industry related areas such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, retail and more. This created the demand for 1600 tourism industry related jobs in Montana.
- 2013 - Legislature establishes the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board.
- 2014 - Celebrate with us the 75th Anniversary year for Montana State Parks.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Marketing and Communications Manager
Montana State Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
FWP Region 1 Headquarters
490 North Meridian Road
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 752-5501
Fax: (406) 257-0349
FWP Region 2 Headquarters
3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-5500
Fax: (406) 542-5529
FWP Region 3 Headquarters
1400 South 19th
Bozeman, MT 59718
Phone: (406) 994-4042
Phone: (406) 994-4043
Fax: (406) 994-4090
FWP Region 4 Headquarters
4600 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405
Phone: (406) 454-5840
Fax: (406) 761-8477
FWP Region 5 Headquarters
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105
Phone: (406) 247-2940
Fax: (406) 248-5026