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In This Issue:

Off The Beaten Path
By Kristin E. Hill

Think Montana’s park attractions are limited to the international fame of Yellowstone and Glacier? Think again. Montana’s colorful history and outdoor landscape have resulted in a dramatic array of state parks in every corner of the Treasure State. Although their national counterparts often steal the limelight, the following Montana state parks are none less spectacular and possess a charm all their own. So what are you waiting for? Get off the beaten path and discover a less crowded, yet still memorable, Montana park experience!

Pirogue Island State Park
Situated just a few miles north of Miles City on the Yellowstone River, Pirogue Island State Park is an isolated oasis perfect for wildlife viewing, moss agate hunting, and river floating. The densely wooded park is available for day use only.

Locate: 1 mile north of Miles City on Montana 59, then 2 miles east on Kinsey Road, then 2 miles south on county road.

Chief Plenty Coups State Park
Chief Plenty Coups State Park was established in 1932 in memory of the honorable Crow chief revered as the tribe’s leader from 1904-1932. Loved by his people as well as by white leaders, Chief Plenty Coups was a great mediator known for adapting to changing times. In 1924, he was honored to represent Native Americans in Washington, D.C. at the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Upon his death and at his request, Chief Plenty Coups donated his land as an act of friendship to all races. The land was turned into a state park and today features a Crow Indian Museum, Chief Plenty Coups’ original homestead, his grave, and a gift shop. The day use only park is open May through September.

Locate: 1 mile west of Pryor on county road.

Cooney Lake State Park
In addition to providing breathtaking views of the Beartooth Mountains, Cooney Lake State Park is south-central Montana’s recreation destination for outstanding fishing, swimming, and boating. Camping is also available at this popular weekend getaway spot.

Locate: 22 miles southwest of Laurel on U.S. Highway 212, then 5 miles west of Boyd on county road.

Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park
When Interstate 90 began its sprawl across Montana, Edward Boehm of Livingston crusaded to save the extensive prairie dog town located outside Big Timber. Through his efforts and cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, the prairie dogs were spared destruction, and Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park was founded. Hundreds of black-tailed prairie dogs inhabit the area, and interpretive displays are provided to educate visitors about this unique ecosystem.

Locate: Greycliff exit 9 miles east of Big Timber on Interstate 90.

Missouri Headwaters State Park
Home to Sacajawea during her teenage years and site of the now obliterated Three Forks Post constructed in 1810, Montana’s Missouri Headwaters State Park embraces the magnificent convergence of the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison Rivers as the headwaters of the Missouri. History abounds at the site as well as wildlife viewing, camping, fishing, and hiking.

Locate: East of Three Forks just off Interstate 90.

Bannack State Park
Montana gold fever began in 1862 when gold was discovered on Grasshopper Creek, and the town of Bannack sprang to life overnight. Within six months, the “Toughest Town in the West” boasted more than 3,000 residents and was named Montana’s first territorial capital. Violence plagued the town during its short reign, with most residents moving away in 1864 when gold was discovered in nearby Alder Gulch. Today, remnants of Bannack’s fascinating history have been preserved. Over sixty buildings still stand, and the site is recognized as one of Montana’s finest ghost towns.

Locate: 5 miles south of Dillon on Interstate 15, then 21 miles west on Secondary Highway 278, then 4 miles south on county road.

Lost Creek State Park
Take a scenic drive through a narrow 3,000 foot deep canyon at Lost Creek State Park. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep line the creek, while Lost Creek Falls drops fifty feet in a picture perfect scene. Camping, fishing, hiking, and picnicking await. While the park is handicapped accessible, it is not motor-home friendly as many of the roads are single lane only.

Locate: 1.5 miles east of Anaconda on MT Highway 1, then 2 miles north on Secondary Highway 273, then 6 miles west.

Black Sandy State Park
Located on the shores of Hauser Reservoir near Helena, Black Sandy State Park is a conveniently accessible destination for fishing, boating, and waterskiing. The locally popular area also boasts prime bald eagle viewing during the species’ annual fall migration.

Locate: 7 miles north of Helena on Interstate 15, then 4 miles east on Secondary Highway 453, then 3 miles north on county road.

Sluice Boxes State Park
Scenic Belt Creek Gorge assumes center stage at Sluice Boxes State Park. A primitive hiking trail follows an abandoned railroad grade, leading to numerous fishing access points and a ghost town along the way. Visitors should note that no facilities are available at this park.

Locate: North of Monarch, Montana on U.S. Highway 89, then 2 miles west on county road.

Hell Creek State Park
Rugged badlands frame one of Montana’s finest wildlife viewing destinations. Situated amidst fossil and dinosaur lands, Hell Creek State Park provides stunning scenic vistas along with the opportunity to view elk, fox, deer, coyotes, and other wild Montana inhabitants.

Locate: North of Jordan, Montana on Route 543.

Ulm Pishkun State Park
The lifestyle of Montana’s earliest residents is preserved at Ulm Pishkun State Park outside Great Falls. For thousands of years, prehistoric tribes of the Great Plains employed the “buffalo jump” as a strategic method for hunting bison. Utilizing the landscape around them, these tribes drove bison to their deaths by forcing the animals over cliffs. In Montana, Ulm Pishkun was the site of great buffalo jumps as early as 500 A.D., and archaeologists recognize the site as the world’s largest buffalo jump.

Locate: At the Ulm Exit 10 miles south of Great Falls on Interstate 15, then 6 miles northwest on county road.

Council Grove State Park
In 1855, the Hellgate Treaty established the Flathead Indian Reservation for the Flathead, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille Indian tribes. Council Grove State Park marks the site where this historic treaty was signed.

Locate: At Missoula, take Reserve Street Exit off Interstate 90, then 2 miles south on Reserve Street, and then 10 miles west on Mullan Road.

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All About Whitefish

Excerpted from “The Ultimate Montana Atlas & Travel Encyclopedia”

Whitefish is a recreational town located fifteen miles north of Kalispell and 23 miles from Glacier National Park. Located on the main east-west Amtrak line, it is situated on the south shore of the seven-mile-long Whitefish Lake and is only eight miles from The Big Mountain, a long established ski area. This town of about 5,000 people offers year-round recreational activities such as skiing, fishing, boating, hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, and golfing. Or for the really adventurous, get ready for an authentic cowboy evening: wagon rides, roping steer and spinning rope tricks. Then sit back to enjoy a hearty dinner Montana style while soaking up some cowboy lore.

The name “Whitefish” was given to this area by trappers in the mid 1850s when they discovered Indians catching native whitefish from the lake. The first permanent settler was John Morton who in 1883 built a cabin on the shore of Whitefish Lake just west of the river mouth. He was followed by loggers, Baker and the Hutchinson brothers, who logged around the lake in the early 1890s. But the actual town-site wasn’t surveyed and dedicated until 1903 when timber clearing and building earnestly began. Timber and farming, in addition to the budding railroad, formed the bulk of Whitefish economy for the next fifty years.

As the timber industry waned and the force of the railroad diminished, a large golf course and club house were built, which at the time was the largest in the state. Golf gave Whitefish an economic facelift and a few adventurous folks had begun skiing the Hellroaring Mountain north of Whitefish. In time a ski lift was built and today The Big Mountain Ski and Summer Resort extends a wide variety of year-round recreational opportunities, making it a recreational and retirement haven. Glacier National Park practically lies in the backyard of Whitefish. Whitefish has also gained international recognition as a special place to retreat or even raise a family and has been coined the holiday village of the Flathead Valley with lots of friendly people, good entertainment and great restaurants.


Glacier National Park Trivia

From “Montana Trivia” by Janet Spencer, Riverbend Publishing

Click here to order Montana Trivia book

Q. On average, how many of the two million visitors to Glacier National Park will be mauled by bears in a typical year?

A. Two.

 

Q. What percentage of the land in Glacier National Park is above the tree line?

A. Thirty-three percent.

 

Q.  How much was the Blackfeet Indian Nation paid in 1896 for the property that now composes Glacier National Park?

A. $1.5 million, at $150,000 per year for ten years.

 

Q. How many workers died during the construction of the precarious Going-to-the Sun Road, which is fifty-two miles long?

A. Three: one lost his grip on a rope; one fell over a cliff; and one was hit by a falling rock. The employee turnover rate was 300 percent.

 

Q. The largest single meal ever served in Glacier was chili and hot dogs served to how many people on July 15, 1933, when the Going-to-the-Sun Road was dedicated?

A. About four thousand.

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Click Here to check out the Montana Gift Corral Sale Barn. Over 300 items on sale!

Recipe From
The Yellowstone National Park Cookbook

By Durrae Johanek, Riverbend Publishing

Click here to order "The Yellowstone National Park Cookbook" or view other Gift Corral Books

While this Yellowstone cookbook contains an interview of a chef and several of his recipes, it also offers dishes from such well-known park personas as the wolf project leader, a park ranger, and many others. Some recipes are pulled from inherited family cookbooks, and some come with special directions for doctoring according to personal taste. Featuring an eclectic mix of represented styles and cultures, this unique cookbook guarantees you'll find something delicious to make and someone interesting to meet on every page.

WILD ALASKA SALMON BLT
By Chef Jim Chapman

His name may not be Emeril or Rachel Ray, but Chef Jim Chapman is by all accounts one of the best chefs west of the Mississippi. After completing his training at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Chapman spent the next 25 years cooking everywhere from New England to Switzerland before accepting Yellowstone’s executive chef position. Not only is he in charge of every park restaurant, but he is also responsible for writing menus and creating recipes that keep Yellowstone’s dining fare fresh and interesting. Chef Chapman’s recipes range from the exotic to down-home, but they all emphasize the use of organic and natural local products.

In this recipe, the quintessential sandwich of summer takes on a new twist with the addition of tasty Alaska salmon. It’s so good, you’ll want to eat it year-round, which is precisely why it’s a favorite at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge.

INGREDIENTS

8 slices nine-grain bread

12 slices tomato

12 slices cooked bacon

4 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 / 4 cup wasabi mayonnaise

1 / 2 lb. cold smoked wild Alaska salmon

DIRECTIONS

Toast bread and spread with wasabi mayonnaise (recipe below). Place one leaf of romaine, three tomato slices, and three strips of bacon on each sandwich. Place 2 ounces smoked salmon on each sandwich; close and cut in half diagonally.

For wasabi mayonnaise, add wasabi powder to mayonnaise until desired strength is reached.

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Featured Montana Products

Remember that perfect Montana fishing day forever with a one-of-a-kind Bearfoots figurine, or pack along some granola for that summer hike or long road trip in the car. No matter your vacation plans, this month’s featured Montana products are guaranteed to please!

Bearfoots Fishin’ Buddies

Click here for price and order information and to view more Gift Corral products
Montana artist Jeff Fleming and Big Sky Carvers teamed up again to create this whimsical resin bear figurine. Capturing the tranquility of a lazy fishing day on Montana’s blue ribbon streams, this Bearfoots creation is a wonderful gift for any outdoor lover or animal enthusiast! 9½” long, 2¾” wide, 3½” tall.

Almond Cranberry Granola

Click here for price and order information and to view more Gift Corral products

The combination of one nut and one dried fruit keeps this granola simple and delicious. The chewy texture will please even the pickiest of eaters! This preservative-free, low-sodium granola comes vacuum-paced with a re-closable seal. Use this granola as a healthy snack on its own or as topping for yogurt and ice cream or mixed with cereal. Made in Montana by Churn Creek! 8 oz.

Click Here to check out the Montana Gift Corral Sale Barn. Over 300 items on sale!

Featured Book

Hiking Montana

by Montana authors Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider

Click here for price and order information and to view more Gift Corral products

Lace up your boots and sample more than 100 hikes in the magnificent national forests and national parks of Montana. From the grandeur of Glacier to fantastic fishing in Yellowstone, this renowned hiking guide takes you through old-growth cedars, up jagged peaks, past roaring waterfalls, and across remote meadows to crystalline alpine lakes. Experience true wilderness as you traverse the Continental Divide and explore the spectacular world of Big Sky Country.

Inside you’ll find: accurate directions to popular as well as less-traveled trails; route profiles showing the ups and downs of each hike; detailed trail maps; recommended hikes by category; and difficulty ratings for each hike.

First published in 1979, Hiking Montana celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with this special revised edition, complete with twenty-four new hikes. Whether you are a day hiker or backcountry camper, old hand or novice, Hiking Montana is your ticket to unparalleled outdoor adventure. 456 pages with black and white photographs, maps and tables. 6” x 9”. Softbound.

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