Phased Re-opening of the National Bison Range Starts August 10, 2020

For Immediate Release


Through our government-to-government relationship with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT or Tribes) and the National Bison Range being located completely within the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation, we believe it is important to follow the same timeframe as the Tribes when increasing public access to the refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is following federal, tribal, state, and local public health authority guidance to implement a phased approach to increase public access to the National Bison Range. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in coordination with the Tribes, the Governor, and local public health authorities, when authorized the National Bison Range will follow the plan below in order to safely increase access.

 

Initial Phase:

  • The entrance gate will be open from 6 am-6 pm.
  • The auto tour will be open to vehicle visitors. 
  • Contract portable toilet and cleanings. Locate portable toilets in the visitor center parking lot through the summer tourist seasons.
  • Keep the eastern Mission Creek Fishing access open, but well signed for hazards such as potential grizzly bears and bison in the area.
  • Keep the Day Use Area and the associated trails closed.  
  • Close off (to the public) all facilities within the government quarters and maintenance areas of the Refuge with barricades.
  • Keep the Visitor Center closed; with information to visitors provided through the general NBR brochure, social media, additional developed signage, and website.

Second Phase Additions:

  • Allow volunteers and interns to assist the visitor services maintenance program at NBR
  • Any donation collections will be done through the fee collection box in the visitor center parking lot.

Third Phase Additions:

  • Open the Visitor Center (with restricted access and hours) using the Visitor Services Manager and volunteers with social distancing still in place and limited contact with the visitors. 
  • Open the Day Use Area and associated trails.
  • Fee Collection would resume following Secretary of Interior orders.
  • Keep the Red Sleep Mountain Drive open until early October 2020, as per normal operations. 

Being safe on the refuge

We encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick
  • For more information visit our FWS Coronavirus webpage.

Please visit this site for updates. We look forward to seeing you soon!