Charles M. Russell
National Wildlife Refuge
Lewistown, MT 59457
Phone Number: 406-538-8706
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|For centuries, people have been awed by the wildlife and landscapes found on Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Don Jones)|
Continued . . . They carefully recorded the landscape and its wildlife in their journals. The Missouri River became the main travel route into Montana until the railroad replaced the steamboat in the 1880s. Miners, hunters, ranchers, and outlaws populated this newly opened land and exploited its abundant natural resources.
In 1933, Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct the Fort Peck Dam as a depression-era public works project. The Dam, which was completed in 1939, is the largest hydraulically earth-filled dam in the world. In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt designated the area as the Fort Peck Game Range. After a period of joint management with the Bureau of Land Management, the area was redesignated as a national wildlife refuge in 1976 with sole authority granted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The satellite refuges on the District were, for the most part, established in the early to mid 20th century. Additionally, several tracts of land with excellent waterfowl production potential were purchased under the Small Wetlands Acquisition Program and are managed as waterfowl production areas.
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