About the Refuge

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Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 24, 1999 and became the 519th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It was established for: use by migratory birds, conservation of fish and wildlife resources, fish and wildlife oriented recreation and the conservation of endangered or threatened species. 


Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in the west-central portion of Flathead county in the serene and picturesque mountain drainage known as Pleasant Valley. The Refuge was acquired in August 1999. Prior to acquisition, Refuge lands were privately owned and managed as a cattle and horse ranch known as Lost Trail Ranch.

Because the Refuge is relatively new, many public use activities are limited at this time. Refuge policy and regulations require the development of various public use plans before activities can be allowed. These plans will receive public input during the administrative planning process. Public use activities that are currently allowed include hunting, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education.

Learn more about how Pleasant Valley was formed by glaciers during the last ice age by visiting our Geology section.

From early Native American life to an extensive European settlement, Pleasant Valley has rich archaeological and historical resources. Learn more about the people who lived here by visiting our Cultural Resources section.

Lost Trail NWR is managed as a satellite unit of the National Bison Range Complex.