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.
We hope this year inspires your next adventure to one of Montana's great State Parks. We truly appreciate your support.
Our State Parks are open for the 2013 season. Last year, our visitation was up 7%. Thanks to our visitors!
We are excited to announce the creation of a new Montana State Parks & Recreation Board. The 63rd Legislature approved this 5-person citizen board overwhelmingly and Governor Bullock signed it into law at the end of April.
The new board will be appointed by the Governor. If you are interested in applying to be a part of this new board visit: boards.mt.gov.
This year we saw the most permit applications to float the Smith River submitted in the history of the program. As you know this is a premier recreation destination in Montana and it's a state park.
Also, as we kick off the summer season, take time to check out our online campsite reservation program, now in it's third year, that allows you to book in advance and not have to worry about having a place to stay. We saw a 36% increase in reservations booked in 2012.
Our AmeriCorps program launched last year with members helping to recruit volunteers, participate in community outreach and build on our education and interpretive programs. We applaud our members who gave 17,600 hours of service in exchange for education awards to pay for college.
Montana State Parks statistics continue to be amazing, more than 102,000 visitors participated in interpretive programs, school programs and special events offered at our state parks, in 2012. Included in this number are more than 22,000 students who participated in educational programs presented and hosted by Parks' division staff.
Montana State Parks is working to expand interpretation, special events and overall opportunities for families and communities to participate, explore and build great memories on our wonderful public lands. We need your ideas to do that. Don't hesitate to call or email us if you have ideas or concerns about our parks' system.
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.
- 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
490 North Meridian Road
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 752-5501
Fax: (406) 257-0349
3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-5500
Fax: (406) 542-5529
1400 South 19th
Bozeman, MT 59718
Phone: (406) 994-4042
Phone: (406) 994-4043
Fax: (406) 994-4090
4600 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT 59405
Phone: (406) 454-5840
Fax: (406) 761-8477
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105
Phone: (406) 247-2940
Fax: (406) 248-5026