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Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
Release Date: 06/20/11
Contacts: Connie Jacobs (406) 622-4020    

Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center Offers Special Presentations during Fort Benton’s Annual Summer Celebration June 25 & 26

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center (at 701 7th Street, in Fort Benton) will be hosting several special events on June 25 and 26, 2011, as part of Fort Benton’s annual Summer Celebration and in commemoration of the facility’s 5th year of operation.

On Saturday, June 25 at 9:30 a.m., Missoula, Montana author Dorothy Patent will present a special children’s program about native animals and plants, highlighting several species noted by explorers Lewis and Clark and used for food or medicine by Native Americans. Special activities, including a walk outdoors to identify plants and animals, will be part of her program. 

Montana musician and storyteller Jack Gladstone performs at the Center at 1 p.m., entertaining visitors with his tales about local history and Native American stories. Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, relates tales from the tribe as well as pieces of Fort Benton history. Noted by Montana Governor Brian Schwietzer as “Montana’s Blackfeet troubadour,” Gladstone travels the country showcasing his native roots and musical talents.

At 4 p.m. Dorothy Patent returns to the Center to conduct a native plant and wildlife presentation geared toward adults, including teachers and writers. At 5 p.m. her husband Greg, a noted cookbook author, will give a presentation on homestead cooking. Both authors’ works will be available at the on-site bookstore.

On Sunday, June 26 at 11 a.m., visitors to the Center will learn about the Nez Perce National Historic Trail from Jim Evans, Executive Director of the Nez Perce Trail Foundation. In 1877, the Nez Perce, under the guidance of Chief Joseph, traveled through the Missouri River Breaks area as they attempted to flee to Canada with the American Army in pursuit.

All presentations will begin at the Interpretive Center and educators can earn renewal credit for most of these presentations. The appropriate paperwork will be available at the Center. Also, entrance fees will be waived this weekend, and all special programming is also free.

In addition to these special presentations, the Center is showcasing a new temporary exhibit. Visitors can view several components the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System through the lens of photographers in an exhibit titled “National Landscape Conservation System: Conserve, Protect, Restore.” Nearly 30 photographs capture several unique places in Montana and throughout the West. Created in 2010 by the staff at the National Historic Trails Center in Casper, Wyoming, the exhibit features BLM landscapes not often photographed, including Paria Canyon in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area of Utah. Other photos in the exhibit showcase wildlife and geological sites found in Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks.

A new children’s activity booklet is now available at the Center. Unveiled last month, the Monument Junior Ranger booklet helps children explore the special landscapes of the Upper Missouri River and Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument through a variety of activities, including nature journal pages, mazes, coloring pages, and art and math activities. Children who complete at least five activities can have their certificate signed by a Center staff person and thus become a “Monument Junior Ranger.”

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center opened its doors in 2006. The Center’s on-site exhibits highlight the area’s natural and cultural history, helping visitors experience the region’s many cultural stories, from Native Americans and explorers to trappers and steamboat captains. Displays of native wildlife also highlight a visitor’s experience. Center guests can step into a reproduction of a steamboat pilothouse, view and touch wildlife displays, and enjoy the magnificent Missouri River from the steamboat-shaped patio. A short riverside trail allows visitors an easy, delightful walk near the Mighty Mo. The Bureau of Land Management, in partnership with the Fort Benton River and Plains Society, operates the Interpretive Center.

For more information on the Center’s Summer Celebration activities or for general information, visit the facility’s website: or call 406-622-4000.

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.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument   701 7th Street      Fort Benton, MT 59442  

Last updated: 06-28-2012