U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Anniversary
The river and rugged surrounding uplands are sewn together by the Missouri Breaks, a complex network of steeply banked fingers and draws, called coulees (cool-ease) in the local vernacular.
The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, born by presidential proclamation Jan. 17, 2001, encompasses approximately 375,000 acres on Bureau of Land Management-administered public land in central Montana.
Monument visitors are presented with a bounty of recreational opportunities.
These lands feature an intriguing spectrum of wildlife, unique geological features, plants, and significant historical and cultural values. This ideal western landscape retained much of its unspoiled character over the centuries.
The monument is home to magpies, eagles, world-record setting bighorn sheep, elk, white tail deer, mule deer, antelope, mountain lions, coyotes and more.
The Missouri Breaks are defined in part by their storied history. The entire region was first the homeland of American Indians.
Today, the northeast portion of the monument brushes up against the south-east side of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, home to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes.
The river served as the pathway for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Later in the 19th Century, steamboats
Several generations of homesteaders tried to forge a new life from the land. Some succeeded and their descendants can be found working the same land today. Others failed miserably, their abandon homes remain as relics of their broken dreams.
Today, monument public lands make a significant contribution to the local lifestyle and the regional economy.
Visitors can also experience the cultural and natural history of the monument at the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center in Fort Benton, Montana.
The Center interprets the grandeur and wonder of Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. The Interpretive Center keeps alive stories of hawkers, riverboat captains, bullwhackers, paddlefish, sturgeon, and bighorn sheep. Hands-on exhibits, special educational programs and riverside walking trail, tell about the area’s cultural and natural history.
U.S. Highway 87 accesses the western portion of the monument at Fort Benton. On the eastern edge, U.S. Highway 191 crosses the monument (and the Missouri River) at the James Kipp Recreation Area. Montana Highway 236 provides access through the communities of Lewistown, Winifred and Big Sandy near the center of the monument.
Between these three routes, vast portions of the monument are serviced only by graveled and unimproved roads. Some of these roads are not suitable for low clearance vehicles and many roads cross gumbo-type soils that become impassable when wet. Much of the monument is not accessible by any road, inviting visitors to explore on foot. Off-road driving is not allowed in the monument.
There are no motels, service stations or eateries in the interior of the monument. Visitors are encouraged to obtain supplies in the gateway communities on the perimeter of the monument. Before setting out, it's important to get a good map, listen to weather information and inform others of your travel plans.
For more information, contact either the:
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center
|Last updated: 01-14-2014|
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