U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2005.




Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge
6295 Pleasant Valley Road
Marion, Montana 59925

406 / 858 2286




Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge



The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. Set within the Pleasant Valley in remote northwestern Montana, the refuge is part of the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

  • Established in 1999.
  • Comprises 9,225 acres.
  • Located about 40 miles west of Kalispell in Flathead County, and 35 miles south of Canada.

The purposes for the refuge follow:

  • To provide inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds.
  • For the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources.
  • To provide incidental fish- and wildlife-dependent recreation.
  • To protect natural resources.
  • To conserve and enhance the survival prospects of endangered and threatened species.
  • To protect and maintain wetland habitat for migratory birds, other animals, and plants.
  • To restore floodplain acreage to its historical role.

Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge contains four broad types of habitats: lakes and wetlands, riparian areas, intermountain grasslands (especially bunchgrass prairie), and forest. The wetlands provide important migration and breeding habitat for waterfowl and other waterbirds, and riparian habitat provides important migration and breeding habitat for songbirds. Refuge grasslands offer critical winter habitat for large mammals such as mule deer and elk. Bald eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls find excellent roosting and nesting habitat in the forest. In addition, the forest is hunting habitat for lynx and potential denning habitat for the grizzly bears and gray wolves that live near the refuge and that once inhabited the lands now within the refuge.

Photo of Dahl Lake surrounded by grassland and hills.

Plan cover showing Dahl Lake on the refuge.

Major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan follow:

  • Focus habitat management on special status species, especially federally listed species and other wildlife for which the refuge provides essential habitat.
  • Improve water management and restore declining riparian habitat.
  • Restore floodplain hydrology to its natural regime.
  • Remove all interior fencing that obstructs wildlife movement.
  • Improve the quality of interpretive panels and build a visitor contact station.
  • Ensure adequate protection and interpretation of the abundant cultural resources in the refuge.

Comprehensive conservation and land protection planning is in progress for the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes the refuge. As part of that planning effort, the Service is looking at the latest conditions and opportunities for Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge.



Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
CCP 2005 (5 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Approval, contents, summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, the planning process (PDF)
Chapter 3, refuge resources (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, management direction (2 MB PDF)
Appendixes (PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2005 (14 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, summary (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 1, purpose and need (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, the planning process (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, affected environment (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, alternatives (8 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, environmental consequences (1 MB PDF)
Appendixes (2 MB PDF)