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BISON RANGE IN WESTERN MONTANA

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Bison Range Where the Bison Roam in Glacier Country
Jason Savage

Where the Bison Roam in Glacier Country

In Moiese, Montana, in the heart of the Flathead Indian Reservation, you’ll find the CSKT Bison Range. This gorgeous, 18,500-acre wildlife conservation area is a diverse ecosystem of grasslands, Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forests, riparian areas and ponds, all home to roughly 350 bison, as well as elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bears, and more than 200 species of birds.

In the late 1800s, in an effort to restore bison to their homeland, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe (CSKT) members moved some of the country’s last remaining wild bison across the Continental Divide to start a bison herd (later known as the Pablo-Allard herd) on the Flathead Indian Reservation. When their land was unlawfully taken by the United States in 1908–1909, the National Bison Range was established. Extensive efforts by the CSKT to regain management of the herd and land resulted in it eventually being incorporated into the Montana Water Rights Protection Act in 2020, and in 2022 it was officially restored to the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.

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Visitors can explore the range daily from dawn to dusk, year-round. You’ll find a nature trail as well as two wildlife drives in the range: Prairie Drive is a short year-round drive, and Red Sleep Mountain Drive travels through the heart of the reserve and is open mid-May to Mid-October.

Plan your visit for any season, depending on your interests. Spring brings baby calves, singing birds and emerging wildflowers. Summer is the time for an early morning or early evening visit when the temperatures are a little cooler; it’s perfect for deer and elk calf sightings; bighorn sheep rams are out and about more in summer, too, and bears are out scavenging for wild berries. Winter is the time for bald-eagle and great-horned owl sightings, and fall on the range brings golden autumn backdrops and bugling and sparring elk.

Read more about the CSKT Bison Range.

Recreate Responsibly Plan Ahead, Play it Safe, and Leave No Trace.
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