National Wildlife Refuges are your public lands. You are invited to visit and learn what they have to offer for both your recreation and your spirit. You are invited to enjoy the signs, sounds, and smells of a prairie marsh. Recreation is geared toward wildlife oriented activities such as wildlife observation, photography, and limited hunting for waterfowl and upland game birds. Follow the 9-mile self-guided wildlife drive through the Refuge and keep all your senses sharp. You never know what gifts nature will offer today.
Come watch a live video feed of the Sharp-Tailed Grouse house located on Benton Lake NWR. You can witness males show off their dazzling moves hoping to attract mates.The best time to see the grouse on there is first thing in the morning!
Enjoy hiking on the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive year-round, weather permitting. Hiking is also allowed on Lower Marsh Road and on the Unit IVb Trail from July 15 until the opening of waterfowl hunting season.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Western Montana National Wildlife Refuge Complex
For the Western Montana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the project leader is stationed at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge and oversees general management of the Complex. Refuge managers oversee the operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, fire, visitor services, and maintenance professionals support all refuges within the complex.
The Complex headquarters is located at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 922 Bootlegger Trail, Great Falls MT 59404.
The Bison Range is proudly managed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.
The National Bison Range was established on May 23, 1908, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing funds to purchase land for bison conservation. It was the first time Congress appropriated tax dollars to buy land specifically to preserve wildlife. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), approved the transfer by repealing the statute that created the National Bison Range. The Act included a two-year period for transitioning the Range’s management from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Tribes. With that process complete, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes assumed full management of the Bison Range on January 2, 2022.
Bison Range Website: https://bisonrange.org/
Bison Range on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CSKTBisonRange
Interior Transfers National Bison Range Lands in Trust for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes:
The refuges in the Western Montana National Wildlife Refuge Complex include:
Rules and Policies
- Access to particular areas of the Refuge may be limited seasonally to protect nesting birds and their young.
- No overnight camping or overnight parking is allowed on the Refuge.
- Fires are not permitted.
- Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
- All wildlife and plants are protected, including rattlesnakes and other reptiles amphibians.
- To protect nesting birds and other wildlife, pets must be leashed and remain on the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive, except during the hunting season in the Refuge hunt area.
Contact the Refuge headquarters at (406)727-7400 for questions regarding rules and regulations.
An information kiosk is located along the entrance road. There you will find brochures on refuge wildlife, refuge management, and specific recreational and educational opportunities as well as maps to enhance your visit.
It is a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the Prairie Marsh Wildlife Drive is open, especially during the winter months.
To get to the Refuge, follow Highway 87 (Havre Highway) north out of Great Falls for about a mile and turn left onto Bootlegger Trail. Travel approximately 9 miles to well-marked Refuge entrance.