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Rules and Regulations

A picture of the Benton Lake NWR kiosk with our brochuresContact the Refuge headquarters at (406)727-7400 for questions regarding rules and regulations.

General Information

 

  • The Refuge is open to visitors from dawn to dusk.
  • The Refuge headquarters and visitor center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, except on Federal holidays.
  • Access to particular areas of the Refuge may be limited seasonally to protect nesting birds and their young.
  • Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
  • All wildlife and plants are protected, including rattlesnakes and other reptiles amphibians.

Visitor Opportunities and Regulations

 

Activities not specifically covered are prohibited unless special permission is obtained from the Refuge Manager.  If you are in doubt about a specific activity, contact Refuge staff at the headquarters for further information.
 

Roads and Parking

 
  • Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive is open year-round; however, access may be limited due to inclement weather conditions.
  • Lower Marsh Road is open from July 15 until the opening of waterfowl hunting season.  Large vehicles (RVs or vehicles towing trailers) are not permitted on this road due to rough road conditions and tight turns at either end.
  • During the Refuge hunting season, Lower Marsh Road provides access to the hunt area; through travel is not permitted.
  • There are four designated visitor parking areas on the Refuge.  Pull off main roadway if stopped.  Do not block a trail, a gate, or another road.  During hunting season, refer to the Hunting Information handout for specific parking restrictions.
  • No overnight camping or overnight parking is allowed on the Refuge.
  • Fires are not permitted.

Wildlife Observation and Photography

 
  • Ample opportunities for viewing and photographing wildlife are available along the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive or Lower Marsh Road, especially in the early morning or evening.  Please note the Lower Marsh Road is open from July 15 until the opening of waterfowl hunting season.
  • A photography/observation blind, located on the Unit 1 wetland, is open year-round on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A blind for observing the courting ritual of sharp-tailed grouse is available by reservation in April and May.
  • Privately-owned, temporary photography/observation blinds are allowed along the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive year-round.  These types of blinds are allowed in other selected areas by Special Use Permit only.  Contact the Refuge Manager for more information.

Non-Motorized Watercraft

 
  • Non-motorized watercraft are allowed only during the Refuge hunting season in the Refuge hunt area.

Hiking

 
  • Enjoy hiking on the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive year-round, weather permitting.  Hiking is also allowed on Lower Marsh Road and on the Unit IVb Trail from July 15 until the opening of waterfowl hunting season.

Bicycling

 
  • Enjoy bicycling on the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive year-round, weather permitting.  Bicycling is also allowed on Lower Marsh Road from July 15 until the opening of waterfowl hunting season.

Cross-country Skiing

 
  • The entire Refuge is open to cross-country skiing from December 15 to February 28.

Dogs

 
  • To protect nesting birds and other wildlife, pets must be leashed and remain on the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive, except during the hunting season in the Refuge hunt area.

Hunting

 
  • Hunting ducks, geese, coots, mergansers, tundra swans, gray partridge, ring-necked pheasants, and sharp-tailed grouse is permitted on the Refuge.  All State of Montana hunting regulations apply.  For Refuge-specific hunting regulations, contact Refuge headquarters.
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
Last Updated: Mar 28, 2013
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