U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Bison Range

A large bull bison stands in the midst of shortgrass prairie habitat with mountains rising in the distance.
58355 Bison Range Road
Moiese, MT   59824
E-mail: bisonrange@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-644-2211
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
While the National Bison Range's primary purpose is to preserve wild bison, the Range also provides habitat for many other wildlife species.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The National Bison Range is an excellent area for outdoor education for students and teachers of all grades and expertise.

During the school year, teachers visiting the Bison Range may request an orientation program for their students. This can consist of a 15-minute general video, other videos about natural history and geology, demonstrations using the skull and skin collection, and activities relating to classroom lesson plans.

The accessible nature trail near Mission Creek is superb for riparian and wetland studies. There is also an accessible trail through the grassland near the visitor center. Equipment, activity packets, and field guides are available for use by teachers at these areas.

The Bison Range houses an extensive Environmental Education Library and materials are available to educators for a 2week loan period. The library contains substantial reference materials, student activity lesson plans, videos, and field kits which approach environmental education from a variety of subject areas. These items are tailored to subject and grade levels.

The Bison Range hosts one to two teacher workshops per year. Participants can receive Montana State OPI (Office of Public Instruction) credits for all workshops. The workshops emphasize hands-on activities for students in grades K-12.

Public walk-in access for fishing is permitted along portions of Mission Creek and the Jocko River within the National Bison Range. An accessible trail and fishing dock are located on Mission Creek along the nature trail. Anglers have the opportunity to fish for trout and whitefish. The Jocko River is open year-round, but is catch and release only.

The visitor center is a good place to begin a visit to the National Bison Range. Exhibits cover the natural history and conservation of bison, and there is a nice skull and skin collection for viewing. An orientation video is shown upon request. A bookstore operated under an agreement with the Glacier Natural History Association provides a good selection of bison books and general field guides. Knowledgeable staff is on-hand to answer questions.

There are interpretive signs along the nature trail. The geologic display at the high point of Red Sleep Mountain Drive presents background information about Glacial Lake Missoula.

Wildlife Observation
A number of scenic drives and short trails are available to the public visiting the Refuge. During the summer season (mid-May to late October), the longer Red Sleep Mountain Drive is open. This 19-mile, one-way gravel road gains 2,000 feet in elevation and takes about 1½ to 2 hours to complete. It wind its way through a variety of habitats and offers good opportunities to see and photograph wildlife, especially large mammals and birds. Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, meadowlarks, golden eagles, blue grouse, and, of course, bison are commonly seen. For safety's sake, visitors must stay in their vehicles, which can provide better viewing and photographic opportunities as wildlife is accustomed to vehicle traffic but not to people walking on foot.

The two short trails near the Visitor Center are open year-round. The Nature Trail is accessible and follows along Mission Creek. The ¼-mile Grassland Trail is located behind the Visitor Center. Two other trails are available during the summer when Red Sleep Mountain Drive is open. These are the ½-mile round-trip Bitterroot Trail and the 1-mile round trip High Point Trail.

From mid-May to late October, the Visitor Center is open daily. The remainder of the year, the visitor center is open 8:00 am until 4:30 pm weekdays only (closed weekends and holidays).

Scenic drives, the nature trail, and the Fishing Access and Day Use Area are open daily year-round (weather permitting), dawn to dusk.

Entrance Fees
From mid-May to late October, a daily permit is required of all visitors using the scenic drives, unless they possess an annual pass or lifetime passport. Private vehicle - $4.00, Commercial van - 5 people or less - $4.00, Commercial van - 6-10 people - $8.00, Commercial van - more than 10 people - $10.00, Bus and Tour Groups - $20.00. Passes are available at the visitor center and include an annual Federal Duck Stamp valid July 1 to June 30 ($15.00); a National Bison Range Season Pass ($10.00) valid for 1 year from date of issue; Golden Eagle Passports ($65.00) valid for 1 year from date of issue; Golden Age Passports for U.S. citizens 62 years of age or older ($10.00); or the Golden Access Passports free for U.S. citizens with a permanent disability.

Use Fees
The Refuge does not charge user fees (i.e., hunt fees, camping fees, boat launch, meeting rooms rental fees, guided tour fees, etc.).
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