Ritchie Doyle Interpretation Program on Capt. Clark 512 x 219

 "To understand the shore, it is not enough to catalog its life" (Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea).

"Interpretation is the identification and communication of important messages about natural and cultural resources to diverse audiences. Interpretation is designed to reveal relationships about the nature, origin, and purpose of a resource, landscape, or site in a way that forges connections between the interests of the audience and meanings inherent in the resource" (National Association for Interpretation 2011). Interpretation is a resource management tool that can be designed to develop understanding, and through understanding comes appreciation, and through appreciation comes protection of our natural resources.

Comprehensive Conservation Plan Interpretation Objective

Ice Crystals on Crested Wheatgrass-photo by Sheila MorrisonImprove, maintain, and create additional interpretive opportunities for the public that focus on refuge purposes; the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the refuge and Bitterroot Valley; and management programs and challenges, including future habitat restoration projects. These enhanced facilities and universally accessible programs will encourage visitors to independently explore and learn more about not only the values of this refuge, but also about how they can be part of protecting and restoring native and productive habitats to this refuge, the Bitterroot Valley, and other lands within the Refuge System.

Strategies to meet the Objective

  • Interpreting Wildflower Beauty Recruit a full-time permanent General Schedule (GS)–7 (could be upgraded to 9) visitor services specialist to work with volunteers, manage the visitor center, and develop and present programs.
  • Identify interpretive themes for the refuge and use them to develop professionally planned and produced interpretive panels and brochures; these themes will be used in future interpretive programs to consistently highlight the most important and unique aspects of the refuge, its history and purposes, current management and challenges, and proposed habitat restoration projects.
  • Develop a theme and message for the visitor center that focuses on floodplain restoration, wetland impoundment management, native wildlife, migratory birds, the refuge’s cultural and natural resources, and the role of the Refuge System.
  • Update interpretive panels to provide a variety of information including rules and regulations, the natural and cultural resources of the refuge and the Bitterroot Valley, habitat restoration projects, and the value of the Refuge System. Design panels to have a consistent appearance and to allow refuge staff to easily update them with dynamic and timely information.
  • Continue to maintain and update the current four kiosks, including three with interpretive panels. Locate an additional interpretive panel along the river trail within the WVA that explains the migration of the Bitterroot River.
  • Ensure that all current and future refuge brochures meet Service graphic standards and provide up-to-date information that is useful for interpretive programs and better orients visitors.
  • Train volunteers to provide interpretive programs on the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the refuge and the Bitterroot Valley.
  • Full Moon over Refuge Make online resources (podcasts, Web site, blog, social media) available that interpret refuge resources along the public roads and trails.
  • Restore native habitat around entrance areas and kiosks and provide identification and interpretation of this native vegetation.
  • Provide interpretation along the Kenai Nature Trail, within the WVA, and along the auto tour route.
  • Participate in events highlighting the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the Bitterroot Valley.
  • Through partnerships, develop a new refuge video highlighting the history and resources of the refuge.
  • Construct a kiosk at the parking lot on the north end of the refuge, used by refuge hunters, that provides regulations as well as information on refuge purposes and resources.   

Interpretive Materials in Place


The Refuge has four kiosk in place (map). Two are positioned, respectively, at the south and east entrances to the Refuge via Wildfowl Lane. A third kiosk is at the trailhead for the Kenai Nature Trail and the fourth is in place at the Wildlife Viewing Area. At times all can have interpretive messages and or educational materials. 


Wildfowl Lane Interpretive Signs