U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Red Rock Lakes
National Wildlife Refuge

Two trumpeter swans face one another as they float in a wetland, their long graceful necks forming a natural heart shape.
27650B South Valley Road
Lima, MT   59739
E-mail: Redrocks@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-276-3536
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Wetlands at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge provide secluded habitat for trumpeter swans, white-faced ibis, moose, and other wildlife species.
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The wide stretches of uninterrupted native grasslands provided grazing bison with ample food and were their traditional summer range.

Settlement by Euro-Americans did not occur until 1876. With Euro-American settlement, herds of livestock were brought into the valley, and homesteads sprang up in scattered locations. In the early days, market hunting for waterfowl and big game brought some revenue to local residents, but most settlers concentrated on livestock and some lumbering. The long winters, great distances to market, and small land parcels combined to make subsistence difficult. Few survived the depression of the 1930s.

The Monida-Yellowstone stagecoach line passed through Red Rock Lakes NWR on what is now South Valley Road and Red Rock Pass Road. Originally established in 1898, the four-horse drawn stagecoaches carried passengers between the railroad terminus in Monida and West Yellowstone and Henry's Lake. A note from the Madisonian newspaper from August 28, 1902, notes that the stage line "has carried over 12,000 passengers to the National Park this season and are having all they can handle every day. They have had to put on extra teams to accommodate the large number of tourists." The grand era of stagecoach travel in West Yellowstone ended in 1917 when touring cars replaced the stages. Near Shambow Pond, a plaque commemorates the site of the half-way house used by stagecoach travelers on their way west. The pond is now the habitat of trumpeter swans.

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