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Missoula Field Office
Release Date: 06/16/11
Contacts: Contact David Abrams 406-533-7617    

Garnet Day Celebrates Old West History

The Garnet Preservation Association and the Bureau of Land Management will host Garnet Interpretive Day June 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The day’s events are sure to give families a fun, wild-west experience in one of Montana’s most intact ghost towns. 

Located 35 miles east of Missoula, the ghost town will be the site for gold-panning demonstrations, bluegrass music, kids’ games, a pie auction, and guided tours of the town. In addition, there will be moment of silence at 1:00 p.m. for Garnet resident Mary Jane Adams Morin who passed away this winter. 

Following the moment of silence, Montana State Historic Preservation Officer Mark Baumler will present the town with its official National Register of Historic Places sign. At 2:30 p.m., guest speaker Terri Wolfgram will talk about the early mining history of the area. 

Another highlight of the day’s festivities is the ice cream social which was an annual event 100 years ago in Garnet. Just as was done a century ago, blocks of ice were cut this past winter from Beavertail Pond and hauled into Garnet for storage in the Davey’s Store ice house. These 70-pound blocks of ice harvested by BLM employees will be pulled from their sawdust insulation, chipped into small chunks and used to cool the hand-cranked ice cream makers. Lunch will also be available for purchase on site.

Visitors to the day-long event will be charged the standard usage fee of $3; no admission is charged for those 15 and younger.

“Walking through Garnet is like walking through history,” said Maria Craig, Outdoor Recreation Planner with the BLM’s Missoula Field Office. “We’ve done our best to protect and preserve as many buildings as we can so that visitors can really get a good feel for what it was like to live a hard-scrabble life as a 19th-century miner.”

More than 100 years ago, Garnet was an active gold-mining town, but after a fire destroyed many of the buildings and as the gold became more difficult to mine, the once prosperous town slowly went into a deep sleep until its last full-time resident passed away in 1947. The ghost town is now publicly owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

From Highway 200, turn south on the Garnet Range Road between mile markers 22 and 23 and travel about 11 miles to Garnet Ghost Town. Visitors using I-90 should take the Bearmouth or Drummond exit, then take the Frontage Road to Bear Gulch. Garnet is 10 miles north on Bear Gulch Road. The Bear Gulch Route is steeper and not suitable for towing units.

On Garnet Interpretive Day, a shuttle will be also available for those who want a “greener” eco-friendly way to reach the ghost town. The shuttle will pick up visitors on the hour at Highway 200 and Garnet Range Road, and will make a return trip on the half hour. The first shuttle pickup is at 11:00 a.m. and the last return trip shuttle of the day leaves Garnet at 3:30 p.m.

For more information on the event, contact the BLM’s Missoula Field Office at (406) 329-3914.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Missoula Field Office   3255 Fort Missoula Road      Missoula, MT 59804  

Last updated: 06-28-2012