Visit Montana's 55 State Parks and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.
Greetings and Happy New Year!
Before we lay out what we have planned for 2015, we would like to thank everyone for making our 75th anniversary year a great success! Since 2002 visitation to Montana’s State Parks has experienced an 80% increase in visits annually. This is a positive reflection on the hard work of staff and volunteers but more than that, it represents an endorsement from citizens who continue to come with their friends and families to enjoy their parks, learn about Montana’s history and celebrate the wonderful resources we enjoy in Montana.
2015 promises to be an exciting time for outdoor recreation and Montana State Parks is leading the way.
An important part of our program responsibilities includes our recreation grants that flow across Montana to small communities and on our federal lands. For snow lovers, we have more than 4,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and lots of cross country ski trails that have been funded through the division. Go ice-fishing or skating at one of our many water based parks. Try snowshoeing at Lone Pine State Park or take a guided hike to the pictographs and petroglyphs at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park. Don’t like the cold? Enjoy the Winter Storytelling Series at Travelers’ Rest State Park.
If winter is simply not your thing, begin to plan for spring and summer. Now is the time to apply for a float trip down the Smith River! Applications are open and must be submitted or postmarked by Thursday, February 19. Don’t miss out on your chance to float the Smith in 2015! Also, now is a great time to make campsite reservations for the summer and get the family reunion planned out. Time flies and summer is on the horizon as our days get longer.
We are also excited to announce our new strategic plan; Charting a New Tomorrow. The plan is an innovative and business-minded approach that will help leverage available resources, develop partnerships, and build public engagement that will create an even healthier future for outdoor recreation across Montana. Over the next few months, we will focus on implementing the vision set forth in the plan and working towards making Montana State Parks one of the strongest park systems in the nation.
The Montana State Parks & Recreation Board continues their hard work. The Board was instrumental in the adoption of the strategic plan and will be directing the Division on implementation. We hope you will join us for our next Board meeting in Helena on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. For more information about the Board, see Montana State Parks and Recreation Board.
At Montana State Parks, we are proud to be the stewards of some of Montana’s greatest natural, historical and cultural wonders and we invite you to get outside and Explore More.
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. Learn more
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