The Mission Mountain Wilderness


Charlo 59824,Missoula Area,Lake County

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Historical Markers/Interpretive SignWatchable WildlifeWilderness AreasCampingHiking/Backpacking
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The Mission Mountain Wilderness

Location: Ronan

The mountains rising to the east lie in the Mission Mountain Wilderness Area and the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness. The range is more than a natural wonder; it is the first place in America where an Indian nation has designated tribal lands as a wilderness preserve. The crest of the range forms the eastern boundary of the Flathead Reservation. On the east side, 73,877 acres are managed by the Flathead National Forest; on this side, 89,500 acres are under the purview of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai (Flathead) Tribes. Both wildernesses are managed cooperatively and are open to everyone, though differences in management styles reflect tribal needs and traditions on the west side.

A few tribal elders can still trace the routes of old hunting trails through the Missions. Hunters used them to cross to the eastern Montana plains to hunt buffalo. The mountains hold sacred sites where tribal members go alone to fast and seek spiritual guidance for their lives. Other spots are traditional summer camps where families pick berries, gather medicinal herbs, plants, and roots, and cut tipi poles.

Clarence Woodcock of the Flathead

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