Brochure of Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Montana. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
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Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge 4567 Wildfowl Lane Stevensville, MT 59870 406 / 777 5552 406 / 777 2498 fax firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fws.gov/refuge/lee_metcalf For State relay service TTY / Voice: 711 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov For Refuge Information 1 800 / 344 WILD For Climate Change Information http://www.fws.gov/home/climatechange June 2013 Willow Flycatcher USFWS U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson Bitterroot Mountains reflected in Refuge wetland USFWS This blue goose, designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling, is the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Valley Formation Early Inhabitants Cradled between the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountain Ranges and adjacent to the Bitterroot River, the setting for Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is truly spectacular. The Refuge is located in the scenic Bitterroot Valley 25 miles south of Missoula, Montana, and just north of the town of Stevensville. This 2,800-acre Refuge is one of over 560 refuges that form the National Wildlife Refuge System - an extensive network of lands and waters protected and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) specifically for wildlife and its habitat for people today and for generations to come. The Bitterroot Valley evolved under dramatic geologic influences between 70 and 90 million years ago. The unstable upper portion of the developing Bitterroot Mountains separated from the rest of the mountain range and slid eastward. The eastern front of the ancient Bitterroots became the Sapphire Mountain Range. Glaciers followed, carving out rugged drainages in the Bitterroot Range. Over time, waters draining from these mountains deposited sediment onto the valley floor, creating a rich foundation for plant and animal life. The Bitterroot Valley was a travel route for several Indian tribes that passed through this area on their way to the eastern plains to hunt bison. Only the Salish people considered the valley their home. They were hunters and gatherers who lived off the area’s abundant native plants and animals. In the 1800s, it became evident that the Salish would have to share the abundant resources of this lush valley. On September 9, 1805, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, leading the Corps of Discovery, crossed the Continental Divide and traveled through the Bitterroot Valley with their Shoshone guide, Toby. Thereafter, the fur trade rapidly developed, followed by economic development of mining, agriculture, homesteading, and transportation. Three Stevensville structures reminiscent of this time are still standing today - St. Mary’s Mission (1841), Fort Owen (1850), and the Whaley Homestead (1885), which are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. USFWS About the Refuge Whaley Homestead located on the Refuge With the establishment of new missions, homesteads, and settlements, innovative land uses were introduced. The settlers harvested trees and grew crops such as corn, potatoes, and apples in the fertile valley soils. Livestock displaced elk and moose; wolves and grizzly bears were eliminated. Plants and animals important to the Indians became scarce, and traditional lifestyles were changed forever. In 1871, an executive order was signed by President Grant to move the Salish people to the Jocko reservation in the Mission Valley, which is located to the north of the Bitterroot Valley. Today, the Salish culture and way of life are still centered around a relationship of respect with the natural world. Wetland impoundments were originally created throughout the Refuge to provide open water and marsh habitat for waterfowl “and shorebirds. The Refuge staff now manages the Refuge to mimic natural flooding and drying processes by seasonally raising and lowering water levels, in an effort to mirror naturallyoccurring wetlands. As farms, ranches, and logging businesses flourished in the valley, people became aware of dwindling wildlife numbers. Local residents About 267 species of birds are present in the Bitterroot River watershed and 242 have been recorded at Lee Metcalf NWR with 105 species documented as nesting on the Refuge. The National Audubon Society officially recognized the biological importance of this area to birds by designating it as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Two representative species of this IBA are - Lewis’s woodpecker and Red-naped sapsucker. USFWS Refuge Establishment to provide optimum nesting, feeding, and cover habitat for these birds. Refuge Management recognized the need to set aside land in the Bitterroot Valley for the specific benefit of wildlife. Using money generated from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased lands to establish the Ravalli National Wildlife Refuge in 1964. Senator Lee Metcalf of Stevensville was instrumental in establishing the Refuge, and in 1978, the Refuge was renamed to honor the late Senator and to recognize his life-long commitment to conservation. Refuge habitats – riparian woodland, wetland, and upland – are managed for the benefit of migrating songbirds, waterfowl, water birds, and raptors. Riparian woodland and wetland communities are managed Dave Menke / USFWS Hen mallards feeding Lewis’s woodpecker Refuge management includes intensive focus on managing invasive and noxious (harmful) weeds. Many of these weed species are not used by wildlife for food or cover and therefore grow unchecked and quickly form dense stands of vegetation that replace native vegetation and diminish its value for wildlife. Weed management methods include farming (discing, mowing, seeding, irrigating), hand pulling, grazing, application of herbicide, flooding and prescribed fire, and reseeding and planting with desirable vegetation. USFWS USFWS USFWS © Allen Meyers A number of species on the Refuge are designated as State Species of Concern by Montana Natural Heritage Program (MNHP). According to MNHP, “Species of Concern are native animals that are considered to be ‘at risk’ due to declining population trends, threats to their habitats, and/or restricted distribution.” Silver-bordered fritillary (top left); Scarlet gilia (top right); University Environmental Education (bottom) Tree swallows on nest box The Refuge staff works to identify and protect significant historic, cultural, and natural resources within the Refuge that are unique to the Bitterroot Valley. The Whaley Homestead, built in 1885, and still standing on the Refuge, reflects the history and lifestyle of early settlers. Enjoying the Refuge Visitors to Lee Metcalf NWR enjoy a variety of wildlife-dependent activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Brochures containing area maps, regulations, wildlife checklists, and general information are available at the Refuge visitor center or at the Wildlife Viewing Area (WVA) kiosk. Hunting Waterfowl hunting is permitted during the fall and winter months in the designated Waterfowl Hunt Area. Hunters on the Refuge should follow the State of Montana hunting regulations and several Refuge-specific hunting regulations. For more information on Refugespecific hunting regulations, consult the Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure available at the Refuge visitor center. .5 Bitt ur Kilometers B N ort h Creek 203 To Stevensville ail 0 .5 Wild Fowl Lane ork i Tr 0 tF na To Stevensville Ke Three Mile Cre ek Linked symbols designate accessible features Photo blind Hunter access parking areas and kiosks Fishing access Environmental education area Information kiosk Headquarters and amphitheater Restroom Trail shelter Refuge entrance Waterfowl hunting area Wildlife viewing area Area closed to hunting Private land Railroad tracks Trail Refuge boundary National Wildlife Refuge 203 To Florence Lee Metcalf Rathbun Lane Rathbun Lane Miles Whitetail Golf Course 90 Miles City 94 way 93 To Missoula Bozeman Billings 2 High N 15 90 Great Falls Helena Butte Missoula 15 side To Hamilton Lee Metcalf NWR 90 93 Kalispell 2 East n erro o t River Kenai Nature Trail observation platform For enhanced wildlife viewing and interpretation, explore the Refuge trails, and investigate the Refuge visitor center. In order to provide for the safety of hikers, bicycling and horseback riding are not allowed on any of the Refuge trails. The WVA is open year-round from dawn to dusk. An informational kiosk is located at the entrance to this area. There are several sections of trail, totaling 2½ miles in length, in this 188-acre riparian/ wetland portion of the Refuge. One section of trail has been designated as a National Recreation Trail. The rest of the trail is dirt/gravel and traverses wetland, grassland, and grassland/sagebrush habitat types. Two photo blinds are located along the Kenai Nature Trail. Always take care not to disturb wildlife or habitat while trying to get that perfect photo. No dogs are allowed on any portion of this trail, and visitors must stay on the trail or the public road at all times. Environmental Education Refuge staff provides environmental education in a fantastic setting to over 2,500 students per year. Several facilities are used, including the Okefenokee room, the visitor center, an amphitheater, the WVA, and the Kenai Nature Trail, allowing for a great deal of flexibility and a quality experience. Kenai Nature Trail crossing a ravine (top); Photo blind along Kenai Nature Trail (bottom) USFWS © Allen Meyers Wildlife Observation, Photography, and Hiking Fishing on the Refuge is permitted within the WVA, both along the Bitterroot River, and in Francois Slough. An accessible fishing platform is located along a paved section of trail. All State fishing regulations apply; see the Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure for more information. The Kenai Nature Trail is located adjacent to the Refuge headquarters and visitor center. This trail is primarily an outand-back trail totaling 2½ miles in length. The first one-half mile of the trail is a paved accessible loop. © Allen Meyers Fishing A one-half mile section of this trail is paved and accessible for wheelchair users. Other trail sections are soil and/or gravelbased. Dogs are only allowed in the WVA if leashed. USFWS Archery hunting for whitetailed deer is permitted on all Refuge lands that are not closed to hunting (see Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure). Hunting assists in limiting deer browse on many shrub and tree species that are important to songbirds and a wide variety of other wildlife. Kids searching for invertebrates and all Federal holidays. Here, you can check out binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides, and other reference materials to enrich your time on the Refuge. Take a moment to explore the visitor center exhibits which primarily focus on enhancing wildlife observation. Accessible public restrooms are available at the headquarters, as is drinking water during business hours. Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability. Dial 711 for a free connection to the State relay service for TTY and voice calls to and from the speech and hearing impaired. For more information or to address accessibility needs, please contact the Refuge staff at 406 / 777 5552, or the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Opportunity, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20240. More Information We hope you enjoy your visit to Lee Metcalf NWR. To stay informed about Refuge activities and events follow our blog (http://www.fws.gov/ leemetcalf/blog) and other social networking tools. USFWS Accessibility Montana Junior Duck Stamp judging When to Visit Refuge Hours Visitor Center Lee Metcalf NWR serves as the Montana point of contact for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp program. This program is focused on connecting children with nature through science and art. Open to students in grades K-12, kids learn about and depict a North American duck, goose, or swan in its natural habitat. Each year, the program concludes with statewide and then national art contests. The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset. Periodically, some public areas may be temporarily closed for management purposes such as prescribed burning, noxious weed abatement, and trail maintenance. The visitor center is open Monday through Saturday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. It is closed on Sundays If you would like more information about this Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System, or if you would like to volunteer at the Refuge, please contact us. Scan the code (left) with your mobile device to find out more interesting information about Lee Metcalf NWR and other national wildlife refuges.