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^ Monxetna 

35 1.8632 The State park 

F2sps system 

1990 



STATE DOCUMENTS COLLECTION 
MAY 2 1991 

MONTANA STATE LIBRARY 

1515 E. 6th AVE. 
HELENA, MONTANA 59620 




iL. ^THE STATE PARK SYSTEM 
Montana's Legacy - 
A New^ Growth Industry 

A Report to Governor Stan Stephens 
and the 52ncl Legislature 

Respectfully Submitted by 
THE STATE PAFIK FUTURES COMMITTEE 

November 1 990 



MONTANA STATE LIBRARY 

S 35 1 .8632 F2sps 1 990 c. 1 v. 1 

The Slate park system :Montana"s legacy- 



3 0864 00072601 1 



. . . The committee dedicates this report to the memory of member 
KEITH TILKENS. His death on January 20, 1990, was a tragic loss. 
We believe that the task we started together is completed by caring 
Montanans, the gems of the State Park System will sparkle from all 
their facets in fulfillment of the goal to which he was dedicated . . . 



. . . The committee would like to thank Department of Fish, 
Wildlife and Parks Director K. L. Cool and his staff for the courtesy, 
cooperation, assistance, and accommodation given the committee 
throughout the course of this study. We particularly appreciate the time 
he and Governor Stephens spent with the committee. 

This administration has inherited a problem of long standing. It is 
to be commended for giving its resolution a priority among the 
numerous difficult challenges with which it must also deal . . . 



^ 



State Parb Futures Committee 



November 1, 1990 

The Honorable Stan Stephens 
Governor of the State of Montana 
Capitol Building 
Helena, MT 59620 

Dear Governor Stephens: 

Now that we have completed our report, the State Parks Futures Committee is pleased to confirm that the 
decision to call for public evaluation of Montana's park system was wise and timely. 

From public deliberations we learned that Montanans have a passionate love affair with "their" outdoor 
resources. But they are confused about much of the State Park System and are unhappy with its deteriorating 
condition. They prize state parks as an integral part of our social infrastructure — as necessary as roads and 
bridges. Some use the condition of our parks as an indicator or measure of the quality of Montana lifestyle. 

Because of their strong concern for the future viability of their cherished parks, Montanans were eager to 
participate in the public forums. A great volume of excellent information was surfaced and shared. In general, 
Montanans are alarmed at the gradual deterioration of many of our natural and cultural treasures. Everyone 
openly recognized that much of the corrective action that was suggested would cost money. Our committee 
was encouraged to hear, at all the meetings, that the participants were "willing to pay a fair share" to upgrade 
Montana's state parks. 

Funding, while critical, represents but one element of a bigger problem. Our committee recommendations 
represent a distillate of many innovative remedies for a broad range of deficiencies. Some can be implemented 
organizationally within state government with modest budget adjustments. Actually, during the year of our 
work we witnessed several excellent changes by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Substantive 
changes will require more time and money. Our committee is alarmed at the rate of parks degradation involving 
a number of irreplaceable state treasures. Having reviewed other states' experiences in like circumstances, we 
strongly recommend that bold, decisive, and unified action be initiated as soon as possible. We resp)ectfully 
suggest close study of our partnership option. 

The unparalleled richness of our natural and cultural resources and their great promise for enhancing 
both our social and economic well-being deserves no less. Traditional methods are not working. It is important 
to test our citizens' resolve and enlist full participation to ensure that these public assets will not be diminished 
as a legacy for our heirs. 

Having publicly identified this situation — on our watch — history may prove unforgiving if we fail to make 
a creditable effort to redress the alarming trend. The State Park Futures Committee has been honored to participate 
in the exercise and we hope our findings prove useful in developing Montana's State Park System up to its 
considerable potential. 



Sincerely 



cc: President of the Senate 

Speaker of the House of Representatives 

State Legislators 

Fish and Game Commissioners 

K. L. Cool, Director 

Department of Fish, WildHfe and Parks 

Montanans who participated 



Ed Zaidlicz, chairman ""^^^ — 
State Park Futures Committee 



The State Park Futures Committee 



Ed Zaidlicz, Chairman 

Billings 

Retired BLM State Director; 
Former Chairman, 1986 Governor's 
Forums on Montanans Outdoors 



Janet H. Ellis 

Helena 

Program Director 
Montana Audubon Council 




Senator Ethel M. Harding 

Poison 
Businesswoman 



^Mm.ila/It 



t/y 



^ 



Senator Cecil F. Weeding 

Jordan 
Rancher 



(ico^ud»^SLuL- 



I 



Representative Edward J. Grady 

Canyon Creek 
Rancher 




Representative Joe Quilici 

Butte 
Businessman 




'{^■<ytU.^<,-^\^ 



\-vv^-t\ Z£^ 



Margaret Kochman 

Great Falls 

Businesswoman; 

Chairman, Cascade County Park Board; 

Member, Giant Springs 

Heritage State Park Commission 




James Nave 

Bozeman 

Businessman; 

Concessionaire, Lewis and Clark 

Caverns State Park 




Bonnie L. Tippy 

Helena 

Businesswoman; 

Director, Montana Innkeepers Association 



f^c>-n7uJi^ c<. 



O 




Donald R. Tuttle 

Victor 

US Army Retired; 

Montana State Director, Good Sam Club 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



1 Dedication to Keith Tilkens 

2 Letter of Transmittal signed by Chairman Zaidlicz 

3 State Park Futures Committee Roster 

4 Table of Contents 

5 Executive Summary 

1 1 Montana State Parks Directory 

16 Introduction 

17 Background 
20 The Mission 

20 The Vision 

21 The Reality 

23 The Barriers Between the Reality and the Vision 

23 Role 

23 Long-Range Planning 

24 Management 

26 Image and Marketing 

27 Funding 

30 Overcoming the Barriers ... 

The Committee's Recommendations 

30 Role 

30 Long-Range Planning 

32 Management 

33 Image and Marketing 

34 Funding 

43 Partnerships 

48 The Montana Conservation Corps 

50 1990 Montana Historic Sites Study Commission 

51 Conclusion 

51 , Appendices 

(not for general distribution) 

\ 
4 



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

This executive summary represents a highlighted digest of the report to provide a general overview. It lacks vital detail 
and specificity found only in the full report. This report synthesizes what the State Park Futures Committee learned from 
professionals inside and outside the department, from the public, from a good look at the parks, from literature review of 
the experiences of other state park systems, and from each other. We believe our recommendations are practical, 
attainable, cost-effective in the long run, are in the public interest, and will earn public support. 



Who is the State Park 
Futures Committee? 



Where does current funding 
come from? 



The State Park Futures Committee was appointed by 
The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in August 1989 
with approval of Governor Stephens and legislative leaders. 
The committee's task was to make recommendations to the 
Governor, the 52nd Legislature, and the Fish and Game 
Commission about the proper role, priorities, and funding 
for state parks, (p. 3) 

What is the Montana State Park System? 

The 1939 Legislature provided the foundation upon 
which the State Park System has been built. It established 
the system "For the purpose of conserving the scenic, 
historic, archaeologic, scientific, and recreational resources 
of the state and providing for their use and enjoyment, 
thereby contributing to the cultural, recreational, and 
economic life of the people and their health " (p. 20) 

Today the Montana State Park System includes 60 
parks covering 30,000 acres. These natural, cultural, and 
recreation sites are found in every region of the state. Every 
year 3,000,000 people visit Montana's state parks. The 
current budget is $2,300,000 for operations and $ 1 ,300,000 
for improvements. The Park Division's staff of 43 full- 
time and 140 seasonal people is one of the smallest in the 
nation, (p. 17) 



Montana's Parks Division (and other divisions within 
the department which use park funds in support of parks) 
currently spend from three primary sources: parks earned 
revenue (36%), coal tax (36%), and motor boat fuel taxes 
(28%). (p. 17) 

The State Parks Division receives no money from 
hunting and fishing licenses or the General Fund for day to 
day management. The $1,300,000 budget for capital 
improvements comes from a variety of sources. 



28% Motor Boat 
Fuel Taxes 




36% Parks Earned Revenue 



36% Coal Tax 



How does the Montana State Park System 
compare with park systems in other states? 

Our State Park System ranks near the bottom among the fifty states. At $0.49 per visitor it spends only about 1/3 as 
much as North Dakota or the National Park Service. Put another way, Montana spends $25,000 per park while North Dakota 
spends $66,000 and Colorado spends $ 145,000. At 43 full-time and 140 seasonal employees, Montana's staff is one of the 
smallest in the nation, (p. 17) 

We are one of 5 states which offer no modem camp sites with electrical and water service. We rank 48th in the nation 
in spending per visitor and share with Wyoming the distinction of having no fixed outlay for capital construction of user 
facilities. Consequently, Montana ranks last in the nation in the amount of revenue it is able to earn per visitor, (p. 18) 

Montana, with 0.005% of its total area devoted to state parks, has proportionately less park land than any other state 
in the union except North Dakota (0.004%). (p. 18) 



State Park System Expenditures 




Colo. Mom. N. Dak. Wyo. 



$160,000 

5140,000 

$120,000 4- 

5100,000 i- 

S80.000 

$60,000 

540,000 

520,000 

SO 





Colo. Mom. N. Dak. Wyo. 



How do state parks benefit 
Montanans? 



The committee found that Montanans have a love 
affair with their outdoor resources. They prize state parks 
as an integral part of our social infrastructure as necessary 
as roads and bridges. The committee found that state parks 
hold a priceless natural and cultural heritage, arguably the 
best in the nation, (p. 2) 



Out-of-state visitors to Montana's state parks 
contribute almost $45 million to Montana's economy 
which supports 1,500 private sector jobs. When compared 
to the parks' current annualized expenditure of $2.3 million 
for operations and $ 1 .3 million for improvements, spending 
by out-of-state visitors to Montana's state parks represents 
a ten-to-one return on this investment, (p. 17) 



What is the condition of the l\1ontana 
State Parl< System? 

The committee inspected more than 20 state parks 
and heard testimonies and read studies about all the rest. 
The committee found that our state parks represent the 
unparalleled richness of Montana's natural and cultural 
resources. These parks offer Montanans and our guests a 
sense of our own history and identity, provide places of 
learning and inspiration, and opportunities for "re- creation" 
and re-vitalization in the most beautiful surroundings 
available anywhere. 

Our state parks provide a dramatic visual measure of 
the quality of life and style to which we aspire. They 
represent the things we treasure. In many ways the care 
which we give them is a reflection of the maturity of our 
society. 

Sadly, this wealth is not being used to our advantage 
now, and of more concern, may be compromised or even 
lost if present trends are not reversed. Vandalism and other 
degradation of irreplaceable resources is alarmingly evident 
in many of the parks the committee visited. The longer we 
wait to address these problems, the more it will cost and the 
less there will be left to salvage, (pp. 19- 21) 

The committee observed emergency need for 
stabilizing historic structures, controlling erosion and public 
use, correcting threats to human health and safety, and 
creating barrier-free access for people with handicaps. The 
committee also noted unrealized opportunities to inform 
and educate park visitors and school children. 

The committee noted a lack of even the most basic 
inventory of park resources. Thus, parks staff cannot 
protect these resources, much less make them available to 
the public for education and enjoyment, (pp. 21-22) 



What do Montanans want from their 
state partes? 

This Report is based on more than a year of meetings 
by the State Park Futures Committee, community meetings 
attended by over 500 people in 15 Montana communities, 
a statewide newspaper survey, and uncounted phone calls, 
letters, and conversations, (p. 16) This is what Montanans 
want: 

"A State Park System which protects Montana ' s significant 
natural and cultural heritage, enhances peoples' well- 
being, provides high-quality and accessible recreational 
opportunities for Montanans and visitors, and is 
appropriately managed to improve the economy through 
tourism . ..." (p. 20) 

Montana has almost completely overlooked the 
economic value of the State Park System. Even in its 
present under-developed condition, the park system could 
be more effectively used through networking with other 
tourism providers and promotional activities to augment 
economic benefits currently identified. 

What would it cost? 

The State Park Futures Committee recommends a 
level of funding that will establish a quality, but still very 
basic, park system. The committee recommends an 
additional $6,313,000 per year which will establish a 
quality park system over the next five years. The committee 
also recommends an additional 30 full-time equivalent 
employees, (pp. 29, 34) 




How would the money be spent? 



Capital Improvements 
$4,000,00Q 




Equipment 
$313,000 



Operations 
$2,000,000 



Where should the money come from? 

The committee is aware that finding additional funding for parks will be a difficult matter for the Governor and the 
Legislature. The committee felt that it would be best to suggest a broad spectrum of options which it considers the most 
appropriate of the many it considered. The committee further suggests that a healthy park system draws upon a rational mix 
of appropriate funding sources rather than relying on a single source of funding. 

The committee unanimously recommends the 

following funding sources: 
General Fund (p. 37); 
Coal Tax (p. 38; and 
equitable assessment of user fees (p. 40). 

A majority of the committee agreed on 13 other 
recommendations. Several included qualifiers that must be 
noted in the main report, (pp. 36-42): 

Rental Car Fees 

Statewide Mil Levy 

New $.01 Gas Tax 

Big Sky Dividend 

Sales Tax 

Recreational Equipment Tax 

Restaurant Tax 

RV Sticker 

Nonresident Boat Fees 

Existing Park Roads Maintenance Law Amendment 

Motor Vehicle Taxes 

Small Boat Fees 

Federal Matching Funds 

The committee also considered and rejected 10 other 
funding options, (p. 36) 




What else needs to be done? 



In Image and Marketing (pp. 33, 34) 



In Planning (pp. 23, 30-32) 

Clearly, much public misinformation exists about our 
State Park System. This is partly because publicly developed 
long-range plans have not been developed. 

The department lacks comprehensive inventories of 
the Park System's natural and cultural resources and lacks 
site sp)ecific management plans for many of its parks. 

1) Complete the draft State Park System Plan and 
develop site specific management plans where lacking. 
Involve the public in these efforts. 

2) Develop and apply system-wide quality standards 
for facilities and services in all parks. 

3) All of Montana's natural, cultural, and recreational 
resources should be comprehensively inventoried, 
beginning with state properties. 

4) Delay disposal of any parks until sufficient planning 
and inventorying has been done and the public has been 
involved. The disposal process must follow the long-range 
plan to assure the public is being properly served and that 
parks are being used to the maximum advantage to the state. 

In Management (pp. 32, 33) 

1) The department should strive to make Parks an 
equal partner with its Fish and Wildlife elements. 

2) The department should promote the highest quality 
professional standards and opportimity for staff. 

3) The division should collaborate with other agencies, 
organizations, and professionals. 

4) Parks staff should increase public involvement and 
the division's accountability to the public. 



1) Montana state parks should present a consistent 
image of the highest professional quahty, both in its 
personnel and in park facilities. 

2) The Governor should develop an aggressive 
marketing and promotion campaign for parks. 

In Partnerships (pp. 43-47) 

Partnerships not only offer the best opportunity to 
maximize effectiveness but also demonstrate to today's 
more sophisticated and knowledgeable public that their 
public servants are up to the challenge of working for the 
common good and pooling of resources. The public is most 
bothered by waste of resources and money and by needless 
duplication of effort. The public is cynical about the 
government's ability to make effective use of scarce 
taxpayers' dollars. Partnerships attack the problem on both 
fronts in highly visible ways. 

The committee sees opportunity for expanding the 
use of partnerships in two broad areas: 

1) Within the Governor's administration such as 
between tourism and parks; and 

2) Outside of state government, such as with the 
federal and local agencies and the private sector, where the 
Governor and his administrative leadership is needed. 

With Montana Conservation Corps (pp. 48-49) 

Faced with a degeneration of a priceless legacy 
involving our state parks and our troubled youth, we can 
ameliorate both problems by early reactivation of our 
dormant MCC program. The magic formula the Civilian 
Conservation Corps devised 50 years ago is still valid and 
most applicable. 

Tlie committee recommends that the MCC program 
be funded and implemented as soon as possible. 



The 1990 Montana Historic Sites 
Study Commission (p. 50) 

The State Park Futures Committee appreciates the 
work of the 1 990 Montana Historic Sites Study Commission 
and the Historical Society. Its detailed study of technical 
matters which are beyond the expertise of our committee 
gives appropriate special attention to our priceless cultural 
heritage. The committee will be issuing a seperate report. 



CONCLUSION 

We believe that this report accurately reflects the 
current condition of our parks, their management, and their 
needs. Montana's parks have the potential to be the best in 
the nation ... a goal within our reach and worthy of our 
efforts ... for ourselves, our children, and generations to 
come. (p. 51 ) 




10 



Montana State Parks Directory 



1 ACKLEY LAKE 



Ackley Lake, named after an early settler and frontiersman, offers 
diverse water sports opportunities. Stocked with rainbow trout, the 
lake is often good angling for IO-to-15-inch fish. (17 miles west 
of Lewiblown on U.S. 87 to Hobson, then 5 miles south on Sec- 
ondary 400, then 2 miles southwest on county road; 160 acres, 4,400' 
el. (406) 454-3441] 



2 ANACONDA SMELTER STACK 



The old Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack, completed on 
May 5, 1919, is one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in 
the world at 585 fiset, 1 .5 inches. The inside diameter at the bottom 
is 75 feet and at the top, 60 feet. The stack can only be viewed 
at a distance. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 
(Undeveloped.) [In Anaconda on Montana 1; I acre. 5,588' el. (406) 
542-5500] 



3 BANNACK 



The ghost town of Bannack, the site of Montana's first major gold 
discovery in 1862, became Montana's first territorial capita! in 1864. 
The main street is lined with historic log and frame structures that 
recall Montana's formative years. Bannack Days, with historic 
displays, activities, and events, is held the third weekend in July 
each year. The visitor center and campground are open from mid- 
May through September. A group picnic site is available on a reser- 
vation basis. National Historic Landmark. (5 miles south of Dillon 
on I-I5, then 21 miles west on Secondary 278, then 4 miles south 
on coun ty r oad; 198 acres, 5,890' el. (406) 834-3413] 

4 BEA VERHEAD R(X:K 

Sacajawea recognized this huge landmark, resembling the head of 
a swimming beaver, while traveling with the Lewis and Clark 
Expedition in 1805. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 
(Undeveloped.) (14 miles south of Twin Bridges on Montana 41; 
71 acres, 5,000' el. (406) 994-4042] 

5 BEAVER TAIL HILL 

This area has one-half mile of Clark Fork frontage that provides 
fishing and floating opportunities. Twenty-five developed campsites 
are available under a thick canopy of river cottonwoods. (26 miles 
southeast of Missoula on 1-90 to Beavertail Hill exit, then .25 mile 
south on county road; 65 acres. 3,500' el. (406) 542-5500] 

6 BIG ARM 

On Flathead Lake's Big Arm Bay, this park is a popular jump-off 
point to Wild Horse Island. Though gravelly, Big Arm's long beach 
is popular with sunbathers and swimmers. Camping under a stand 
of mature ponderosa pine and juniper is a major attraction. Others 
include: fishing for lake trout, boardsailing, bird watching, scuba 
diving, swimming, and waterskiing. (12 miles north of Poison on 
U.S. 93; 55 acres. 2,917' el. (406) 849-5255 or 752-5501] 

7 BIG PINE 

Ponderosa pine is Montana's state tree, and this park has one of 
the largest specimens in the state. It also has a delightful primitive 
camping area along the banks of Fish Creek, a clear, fast-moving 
mountain stream. [ 1 8 miles east of Superior, Fish Creek exit, 5 miles 
south on Fish Creek Rd.; 19 acres. 2.900' el. (406) 542-5500] 

8 BLACKFOOT RIVER 

This area starts at the Missoula-Powell county line and follows the 



Btackfoot River downstream to Johnsnid Park, 25 miles north of 
Missoula. County roads parallel the river much of the way. River 
floating is most popular early in the summer when high water covers 
most of the rocks. However, the river can be very cold, and the 
current is strong. Black bear, deer, elk, and other wildlife can be 
seen throughout the corridor. (18 miles east of Missoula on Highway 
200, then 1 mile northeast on Blackfoot River Rd.; 1,515 acres, 
3.400' el. (406) 542-5500] 

9 BLACK SANDY 

One of the few public parks on the shores of Hauser Reservoir. 
Black Sandy is an extremely popular weekend boating, kokanee 
salmon and trout fishing, and waterskiing take-off point. Interpretive 
displays describe the history of Hauser Dam, a short distance north 
of the park. (7 miles north of Helena on 1-15, then 4 miles east 
on Secondary 453, then 3 miles north on county road; 55 acres, 
3.650' el. (406) 4444720] 

10 CANYON FERRY 

Canyon Ferry Reservoir, with a shoreline of 76 miles, is bounded 
by rolling pine- or grass-covered hills. Numerous recreation oppor- 
tunities include picnicking, camping, fishing, swimming, and boating. 
Three full-service marinas provide docking space for over 300 boats. 
The area is also rich in points of scenic, historic, and geologic 
interest. The visitor center at Canyon Ferry Village provides infor- 
mation about the dam's hydroelectric facilities and the area's recrea- 
tional opportunities. (10 miles east of Helena on U.S. 12/287, then 
8 miles north on Secondary 284; 3.500 acres, 3.800' el. (406) 
475-3060] 

11 BEARS PAW BATTLEFIELD 

Site of the surrender of Chief Josqjh and the Nez Perce on October 
5. 1877. After a 1 ,7CI0-nriile retreat through some of the roughest 
country in the West. Chief Joseph, tired and disheartened, made 
his famous speech of surrender: "From where the sun now stands. 
I will fight no more forever." (16 miles south of Chinook on Sec- 
ondary 240; 200 acres. 3.842' el. (406) 228-9347] 

12 CHIEF PLENTY COUPS 

Situated within the Crow Reservation in south-central Montana, this 
park was the home of Plenty Coups, last chief of the Crow. Plenty 
Coups' log home and store remain as evidence of the chiers efforts 
to lead his people in adopting the hfestyle of the white man. (1 mile 
west of Pryor on county road; 195 acres, 4,100' el. (406) 252-1289] 

13 CLARK'S LOOKOUT 

Projecting above the dense cottonwoods and willows along the 
Beaverhead River, this rock outcropping provided an opportunity 
for members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to view the route 
ahead. (Undeveloped.) [In Dillon on 1-90 at Montana 41 exit. .5 
tnile east, then .5 mile north on county road; 7 acres. 5.406' el. 
(406) 834-3413] 

14 COONEY 

This irrigation reservoir is the most popular recreation area serving 
south-central Montana. Attractions include good walleye and rainbow 
trout fishing. Boating opportunities are abundant, and lots of camping 
space is available. (22 miles southwest of Laurel on U.S. 212. then 
5 miles west of Boyd on county road; 304 acres. 4.600' el. (406) 
2524654] 



11 



15 COUNCIL GROVE 



This park marks the site of the 1 855 council between Isaac Stevens 
and the Flathead, Kutenai, and Pend d'Oreille Indians. Here the 
Indians signed the Hellgate Treaty and relinquished their ancestral 
hunting grounds in exchange for a reservation in the Mission Valley. 
The area provides good rainbow and brown trout fishing in the Clark 
Fork. [In Missoula on 1-90 at Reserve St. Exit, 2 miles south on 
Reserve St., then 10 miles west on Mullan Rd.; 187 acres, 3,000' 
el. (406) 542-5500] 



16 DEADMANS BASIN 



This irrigation reservoir on the open prairie north of the Musselshell 
River provides miles of shoreline for a variety of water sports. It 
is also good fishing for kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. [20 miles 
east of Hariowton on U.S. 12, then 1 mile north on county road; 
618 acres, 3,900' el. (406) 252^54] 



17 EAST GALLATIN 



This area's prime attraction is a 5-acre lake that offers excellent condi- 
tions for beginning boardsailors as well as swimming, picnicking, 
and sunbathing. Day-use only; no overnight camping. (Under 
development.) fin Bozeman, North 7th Ave. to Griffin Dr., then 
.5 mile east; 84 acres, 4,795' el. (406) 994-4042] 



18 ELKHORN 



Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall, two picturesque structures in this 
early-day silver-mining ghost town, have been preserved as out- 
standing examples of frontier architecture. Each has been recorded 
in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Forest Service 
campgrounds are nearby. (Undeveloped.) [1-15 at Boulder exit, then 
7 miles south on Montana 69. then 1 1 miles north on county road; 
I acre, 6,400' el. (406) 994-t042] 



19 ELMO 



Situated on Big Arm, the largest bay of Flathead Lake, Elmo is 
a large, open campground partially shaded by juniper trees. Its long 
gravel shoreline and beach are popular with swimmers, boardsailors, 
and sailboaters. If you enjoy a less crowded camping experience 
and like the sun, then Elmo may be for you. [2 miles north of Elmo 
on U.S. 93, 40 acres. 2,917' el. (406) 849-5744 or 752-5501] 



20 FINLEY POINT 



Finley Point is located in a secluded, mature pine forest near the 
south end of Flathead Lake. Deer are often seen in winter but move 
to higher ground during the summer months. The kokanee salmon 
and lake trout fishing off Finley Point is often excellent. [11 miles 
north of Poison on Montana 35, then 4 miles west on county road; 
24 acres, 2,917' el. (406) 887-2715 or 752-5501] 



21 FORT OWEN 



Built of adobe and logs. Fort Owen is the site of the first perma- 
nent white settlement in Montana. Father Pierre DeSmet came to 
the area in 1841 and established St. Mary's Mission among the 
Flathead Indians. In 1850, Major John Owen established the fort 
as a regional trade center. Period fiirnishings and artifacts are 
displayed in the restored rooms of the east barracks. Listed on the 
National Register of Historic Places. [25 miles south of Missoula 
on U.S. 93 to Stevensville Junction, then .5 mile east on Secondary 
269; 1 acre, 3,300' el. (406) 542-5500] 



22 FRENCHTOWN POND 



This five-acre, spring-fed lake has a maximum depth of about ten 
feet. There is a swimming-diving platform a short swim from the 
north beach. A variety of fish— sunfish, bass, bullhead, brook trout, 
and rainbow trout— provide fair catches during the summer and 
through the ice in winter. Frenchtown Pond is also a favorite place 
to practice boardsailing, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling. [15 
miles west of Missoula on 1-90 at Frenchtown exit, then 1 mile west 
on Frontage Rd.; 41 acres, 3,000' el. (406) 542-5500] 



23 GIANT SPRINGS 



Discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 and one of 



the largest freshwater springs in the world. Giant Springs flows at 
a measured 338 million gallons of water per day. Today you can 
picnic by the Missouri River and visit the nearby Rainbow Falls 
overlook, the visitor center, and the fish hatchery. A food and 
beverage concession and group picnic site are also available. [3 miles 
east of U.S. 87 on River Drive, Great Falls; 117 acres, 3,312' el. 
(406) 454-3441] 

24 GRANITE 

The remnants of this once thriving 1890s silver boomtown bear stark 
witness to Montana's boom-and-bust mining history. The Superinten- 
dent's House and Miners Union Hall have been included in the 
Historic American Buildings Survey. (Undeveloped.) [6 miles east 
of Philipsburg on forest road; 1 acre, 7,050' el. (406) 542-5500] 

25 GREYCLIFF PRAIRIE DOG TOWN 

Sheepmen and cattlemen have often fought the prairie dog, but this 
town of black-tailed prairie dogs has been preserved. [9 miles east 
of Big Timber on 1-90 at Greycliff exit, 18 acres, 4,072' el. (406) 
252^t654] 

26 HELL CREEK 

On the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, this park provides 
facilities for most water sports as well as excellent walleye fishing. 
Hell Creek also serves as a launching point for boat camping in 
the wild and beautiful Missouri Breaks. [25 miles north of Jordan 
on county road; 172 aci^s, 2.175' el. (406) 232-4365] 

27 HOLTER LAKE 

This is one of the few public parks on the shores of Holter Lake. 
Weekend campers and picnickers can find a variety of water sports 
available here, as well as good fishing for rainbow trout, walleye, 
and yellow perch. The park also serves as a jumping off point for 
the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness and the Eleartooth Wildlife 
Management Areas. |2 miles north of Wolf Creek on Missouri River 
Rd., then 3 miles south on county road; 40 acres, 3,600' el. (406) 
454-3441] 

28 LAKE ELMO 

This 64-acre reservoir is a popular swimming, boardsailing, boating 
(nonmotorized), and fishing area. Food, beverage, and watercraft- 
rental concessions are available during summer months. [In Billings, 
U.S. 87 north to Pemberton Lane, then .5 mile west; 123 acres, 
3,195' el. (406) 256-6205 or 252^54] 

29 LAMBETH 

Situated on Lake Mary Ronan, Lambeth is shaded by a forest of 
Douglas-fir and western larch. Trails lead into the surrounding area, 
which abounds in wildflowers and wildlife, including deer, elk, 
iTxx)se, bald eagles, and several kinds of waterbirds. There are private 
resorts within walking distance with restaurants and lounges. Attrac- 
tions include lake fishing for trout, bass, and kokanee salmon, bird 
watching, huckleberry picking, swimming, and mushroom hunting. 
[U.S. 93 at Dayton, then 7 miles northwest; 76 acres, 4,000' el. 
(406) 849-5082 or 752-5501] 

30 LES MASON 

The only public park on the east shore of Whitefish Lake, Les Mason 
is heavily forested with hemlock, birch, and alder and has a 
picturesque gravel beach. (Undevetoped.) [4 miles north of Whitefish 
on Secondary 487; 8 acres, 3,100' el. (406) 752-5501] 

31 LEWIS AND CLARK CAVERNS 

Montana's first and best-known state park features one of the largest 
known limestone caverns in the Northwest. Naturally air conditioned, 
these spectacular caves, lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, 
and helictites, are electrically lighted and safe to visit. Above ground, 
a self-guided nature trail provides opportunities to understand the 
natural surroundings. Also available are a campground, picnic sites, 
and a food, beverage, and gift concession. The park is open with 
guided tours conducted daily between May 1 aiid September 30. 
[19 miles west of Three Forks on Montana 2; 2,735 acres, 5,5(X)' 
el. (406) 287-3541] 



12 



32 LOGAN 



39 MISSOURI RTVER ROAD 



With frontage on the north shore of Middle Thompson Lake, Logan 
is heavily forested with western larch, Douglas-fir, and ponderosa 
pine. A channel connects Upper, Middle, and Lower Thompson 
lakes. Attractions include swimming, boating, camping, waterskiing, 
and fishing for i^nbow trout, largemouth bass, kokanee salmon, 
and yellow perch. (45 miles west of Kalispell on U.S. 2; 18 acres, 
3,8%- el. (406) 293-7190 or 752-5501] 



33 LONE PINE 



The park offers a self-guided nature trail and several informal hiking 
trails, as well as horse trails and an archery range. There are three 
scenic overlooks that provide views fhjm Flathead Lake to Big Moun- 
tain Ski Area. One of the overlook trails is designed for the mobility 
impaired. The visitor center has nature and interpretive programs 
and includes a IOO-person<apacity meeting room that can be 
reserved. A group picnic shelter is also available on a reservation 
basis. (4 miles southwest of Kalispell on Foyes Lake Rd., then 1 
mile north on Lone Pine Estates Rd.; 182 acres, 2,959' el. (406) 
755-2706) 



34 LOST CREEK 



Spectacular grey limestone cliffs and pink and white granite foitna- 
tions rise 1,200 feet above the canyon's narrow floor. Lost Creek 
Falls, in the northwest comer of the park, cascades over a 50-foot 
drop to provide one of the most scenic and popular spots in the park. 
Wildlife, especially mountain goats and bighorn sheep, are frequently 
seen on the cliffs above. [1.5 miles east of Anaconda on Montana 
I , then 2 miles north on Secondary 273 , then 6 miles west; 25 acres, 
6,000 ' el. (406) 542-5500] 

35 MADISON BUFFALO JUMP 

An outstanding example of a natural feature that allowed Native 
Americans to stampede herds of bison over a precipice in order to 
secure the necessities of food, clothing, shelter, and tools. Inter- 
pretive displays help visitors understand the dramatic events that 
took place here for nearly 2,000 years. (23 miles west of Bozeman 
on 1-90 at Logan exit, then 7 miles south on Buffalo Jump Rd.; 
618 acres, 4.400' el. (406) 9944042] 

36 MAKOSHIKA 

To the Sioux Indians, Ma-^-shi-ka meant bad earth or bad land. 
Today the badlands of Makoshika are set aside for visitors to see 
and enjoy. In addition to the pine-and-juniper-studded badlands 
formations, the park also houses the fossil remains of such dinosaurs 
as tyrannosaurus and triceratops. Included within the park are archery 
and shooting ranges as well as scenic drives and nature trails, a 
campground, a group picnic area, and many picnic sites. [On Snyder 
Ave, in Glendive; 8.834 acres, 2,069' el. (406) 365-8596] 

37 MEDICINE ROCKS 

As its name implies. Medicine Rocks was a place of "big medicine" 
where Indian hunting parties conjured up magical spirits. "As 
fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen," said one of its 
first tourists in the late 1800s, a young rancher named Teddy 
Roosevelt. Weathering has given the sofi sandstone rock formations 
a Swiss-cheese look. The park is also a haven for mule deer, antelope, 
and sharp-tailed grouse. [25 miles south of Baker on Montana 7; 
316 acres, 3.441' el. (406) 2324365] 

38 MISSOURI HEADWATERS 

Established where Lewis and Clark discovered the Jefferson, 
Madison, and Gallatin rivers joining to form the Missouri River, 
Missouri Headwaters was a geographical focal point important to 
early Native Americans, trappers, traders, and settlers. The park 
provides a campground, picnic areas, foot trails to points of interest, 
and interpretive displays of the area's cultural and natural history. 
River floating and fishing are popular activities. [3 miles east of 
Three Forks on 1-90 at Three Forks exit, then east on Secondary 
205, then 3 miles north on Secondary 286; 527 acres, 4, 100' (406) 
994-4042] 



The road meanders through 35 miles of the scenic Little Prickly 
Pear Creek and Missouri River canyons, providing travelers with 
the opportunity to fish, boat, picnic, camp, or just relax with 
photography and leisurely sight-seeing. There are 12 maintained sites 
along the road that provide boat ramps, picnic tables, fireplaces, 
and play areas. "Trophy rainbow and brown trout in the 
lO-to-20-pound range can be caught in the Missouri here. [25 miles 
north of Helena on 1-90 at Recreation Rd. exit; 52 acres, 3,455' 
el. (406) 454-3441] 



40 NATURAL BRIDGE 



Constrained by a deeply cut chasm during high water, the Boulder 
River flows over a 100-foot precipice, creating the spectacular 
Boulder River Falls. At low water, the river flowed under a natural 
rock bridge, but in July 1988, the bridge that gave the area its name 
collapsed. The park also serves as a wilderness trailhead and has 
good trout fishing. [27 miles south of Big Timber on Secondary 
298; 40 acres, 5,200' el. (406) 2524654] 



41 NELSON 



This reservoir, located near the Milk River, is popular for walleye 
and northern pike fishing as well as most water sports. The area 
is also noted for its abundant waterfowl. [17 miles east of Malta 
on U.S. 2, then 2 miles north on county road; 228 acres, 2,222" 
el. (406) 228-9347] 



42 PAINTED ROCKS 



Located in the Bitterroot Mountains, Painted Rocks Reservoir offers 
boating, camping, and fishing in a scenic, western pine-forest setting. 
[20 miles south of Hamilton on U.S. 93, then 23 miles southwest 
on Secondary 473; 263 acres, 4,700' el. (406) 542-5500]. 



43 PARKER HOMESTEAD 



This sod-roofed log cabin is representative of the thousands of simple 
frontier homes that provided shelter for hopeful pioneers who settled 
Montana. (Undeveloped.) [8 miles west of Three Forks on Montana 
2; 2 acres, 4,050' el. (406) 9944042] 



44 PICTOGRAPH CAVE 



The Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost cave complex was home to 
generations of prehistoric hunters. Over 30,000 artifacts have been 
identified from the park. A paved .25-mile trail allows you to view 
the rock paintings, known as pictographs, that are still visible in 
Pictograph Cave, the largest of the three. Picnic sites are also 
provided under ancient boxelder trees. National Historic Landmark. 
[In Billings on 1-90 at Lockwood exit, then 6 miles south on county 
road; 22 acres, 3,600' el. (406) 2524654] 



45 PIROGUE ISLAND 



This typical cottonwood-covered Yellowstone River island provides 
a natural haven for waterfowl, bald eagles, and while-tailed and mule 
deer. Wildlife viewing, fishing for sauger, river floating, and 
Montana moss agate hunting are popular activities. [1 mile north 
of Miles City on Montana 22, then 2 miles east on Kinsey Rd., 
then 2 miles south on county road; 269 acres, 2,371' el. (406) 
232^365] 



46 PLACID LAKE 



Located on a branch of the Clearwater River, Placid Lake is known 
for its good trout fishing and smooth water. A number of facilities 
are provided for camping, picnicking, boating, and swimming. Inter- 
pretive panels give an account of the early-day logging practices 
attested to by the massive western larch stumps in the area. [3 miles 
south of Seeley Lake on Montana 83, then 3 miles west on county 
toad; 32 acres, 4,100' el. (406) 542-5500] 



13 



47 ROSEBUD BATTLERELD 



Site of the June 17, 1876, battle between the Sioux and Cheyenne 
Indians and General George Crook's cavalry and infantry. One of 
the largest Indian battles ever waged in the United States, it set the 
stage for the Indian victory eight days later when Lt. Col. George 
A. Custer and his immediate command were wiped out on the Little 
Bighorn. (Undeveloped.) [25 miles east of Crow Agency on U.S. 
212, then 20 miles south on Secondary 314, then 3 miles west on 
county road; 3,052 acres, 4,300' el. (406) 2324365] 



48 SALMON LAKE 



A natural impoundment. Salmon Lake is one of the beautifiil links 
in the chain of lakes on the Clearwater River. Fishing, boating, and 
a variety of water ^rts are popular activities in this woodland setting 
of western larch, ponderosa pine, and Douglas-fir. [5 miles south 
of Seeley Lake on Montana 83; 42 acres, 4,000' el. (406) 542-5501) 



49 SLUICE BOXES 



The Sluice Boxes Canyon, along a portion of Belt Creek, has a scenic 
hiking trail along an abandoned railroad grade and excellent trout 
fishing. It is day-use only, with a parking lot located at Riceville, 
the lower end. Nearby mines and ghost towns remind you of past 
mining days. |I5 miles south of Belt on U.S. 89, then 2 miles west 
on county road; 1,403 acres, 4,100' el. (406) 454-3441] 



50 SMITH RTVER 



A 61 -mile float trip down the remote Smith River Canyon provides 
incredible scenery and fantastic trout fishing. There are 23 beat camps 
along the river from the put-in point at Camp Baker to the take-out 
point at Eden Bridge. [16 miles northwest of White Sulphur Springs 
on Secondary 360, then 7 miles north on county road; 420 acres, 
4,400' el. (406) 454-3441] 



51 SPRING MEADOW LAKE 



This 30-acre, spring-fed. man-made lake on the western edge of 
Helena is noted for its clarity and depth. Open to nonmotorized boats 
only, the lake is popular for swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, 
and fishing for trout, bass, and sunfish. The park is accessible to 
the mobility impaired. There is an .8-mile, self-guided nature trail 
around the lake. The park is home to a surprising variety of birds 
and other wildlife. [In Helena, lake Euclid to Joslyn to Country Club 
Ave.; 56 acres, 4.157' el. (406) 4444720] 



52 THOMPSON FALLS 



A mature, mixed pine forest makes this a cool and private park. 
It is developed with drinking water, paved roads, and vault toilets. 
Attractions include bird watching, fishing for bass, trout, and ling, 
nature walks, and boating on Noxon Rapids Reservoir. A boat ramp 
is located nearby on Montana 200. [ 1 mile northwest of Thompson 
Falls on Montana 200. mileposl 50; 36 acres, 2,473' el. (406) 
827-3732 or 752-5501] 



S3 TONGUE RIVER RESERVOIR 



The impounded Tongue River provides a 12-mile long reservoir set 
in the scenic red shale and juniper canyons aix) open prairies of south- 
eastern Montana. Boating and other water sports are popular here, 
and the park boasts excellent bass, crappie, walleye, and northern 
pike fishing. Four state record fish have been pulled from its waters. 
[6 miles north of Decker on Secondary 314. then I mile east on 
county road; 640 acres. 3.424' el. (406) 232-4365] 

54 ULM PISHKUN 

This prehistoric bison kill site consists of a mile-long buffalo jump, 
or pishkun. thought to be the largest in the United States. The park 
has an interpretive trail, shelters, picnic tables, fireplaces, and a 
protected black-tailed prairie dog town. [10 miles south of Great 
Falls on 1-15 at Ulm Exit, then 4 miles northwest on county road; 
170 acres, 3,700' el. (406) 454-3441.) 

55 WAYFARERS 

Located on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake, a mature, mixed 
forest makes this site very pleasant for both camping and picnicking. 



From spring to late fall the area abounds in wildflowers. Nature 
walks over the rocky shoreline to the cliffs are popular with 
photographers for the excellent view of Flathead Lake. The nearby 
town of Bigfork is known for its Summer Playhouse, gift shops, 
restaurants, and private resorts. [.5 mile south of Bigfork on Montana 
35; 68 acres. 2.917' el. (406) 8374196 or 752-5501] 

56 WEST SHORE 

Here glacially carved rock outcrops rise from Flathead Lake to 
overlooks with spectacular views of the lakeshore and the Swan and 
Mission mountains. The beach is rocky, but swimming and boating 
are popular. A mature Douglas-fir forest also makes this a cool and 
private park. [20 miles south of Kalispell on U.S. 93; 146 acres, 
2,917' el. (406) 844-3901 or 752-5501] 

57 WHITEFISH LAKE 

A mature woodland contributes to this pleasant, secluded campground 
and beach. Boating, swimming, and fishing can be enjoyed the entire 
season. Whitefish Lake is rarely windy, often provkling glassy condi- 
tions for waterskiing. Looking north across the lake, you can see 
the ski runs of Big Mountain. The nearby city of Whitefish is a year- 
round resort, with the Whitefish Golf Course within walking distance 
of the park. Good restaurants and motel accommodations are also 
available in the city. (.5 mile west of Whitefish on U.S. 93. then 
1 mile north; 10 acres, 2,995' el. (406) 862-3991 or 752-5501] 

58 WILD HORSE ISLAND 

The largest island in Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island has been 
a landmark since the Salish-Kutenai Indians were reported to have 
used it to pasture horses lo keep them from being stolen by other 
tribes. The park is noted for its wildlife including bighorn sheep, 
mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, and falcons, as well 
as three wild horses. Rare and endangered plant species have also 
been found on its Palouse Prairie grasslands. The island's scenic 
shoreline is a favorite of hikers, boaters, swimmers, and sailboat 
enthusiasts. Day-use only is allowed, and ttiere are other strict rules 
to ensure maintenaiKe of its natural character. (Undeveloped) [Access 
from Big Arm (see 6) via boat lo Little Sheeko Bay on northwest 
side of island; 2.163 acres. 2.917' el. (406) 752-5501) 

59 WILD MISSOURI RTVER SITES 

This 149-mile stretch of river, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau 
of Land Management, was designated as a National Wild and Scenic 
River in 1976 because of its rich wildlife, scenic, historic, and recrea- 
tion values. A priceless remnant of primitive America, the free- 
flowing upper Missouri remains much the same as it was when Lewis 
and Clark explored it in 1805. The Parks Division provides 5 boat 
camps under a cooperative agreement. [5 miles southwest of Big 
Sandy on U.S. 87. then 7 miles south on county road to Coal Banks 
Landing; 500 acres. 2,800' el. (406) 454-3441.) 

60 YELLOW BAY 

Yellow Bay is in the heart of the famous Montana sweet cherry 
orchards. Cherry blossoms color the hillsides during spring. In the 
summer, cherries can be purchased at nearby roadside stands or "U- 
Pick" orchards. The park includes Yellow Bay Creek and a wide, 
gravelly beach. Among its attractions are boating, lake trout fishing, 
waterskiing. bird watching, swimming, camping, and scuba diving. 
[15 miles north of Poison on Montana 35; 10 acres. 2.917' el. (406) 
982-3291 or 752-5501] 



14 



Park Facilities and Features 



1 


Ackley Lake 


R^ 


~ 




• 




. 


• 


• 


• 






• 






• 


• 


2 


Anaconda Smelter Slack* 


C 
































3 


Bannack 


C 


• 


* 


• 


• 


• 


• 


• 


• 








• 




• 




4 


Bears Paw Battlefield 


C 




* 






. 




• 










• 








5 
6 


Beaverhead Rock* 


C 
































Beavertail Hill 


R 






• 


• 


• 


• 


• 














• 


• 


7 


Big Arm 


R 






• 


• 


• 


• 


• 


• 






• 




• 


• 


• 


8 


Big Pine 


N 










• 


• 


• 














• 




9 


Blackfoot River 


R 






• 




• 


• 


• 


• 






• 






• 


• 


10 


Black Sandy 


R 




* 


• 




• 


• 


• 








• 






• 


• 




11 


Canyon Ferry 


R 




• 


• 


• 


• 




• 


• 


• 


• 


• 






• 




12 


Chief Plenty Coups 


C 


* 


• 


* 


* 


• 




• 










• 




• 




13 


Clark's Lookout* 


C 
































14 


Cooney 


R 




• 


• 




• 




• 








• 






• 




15 


Council Grove 


C 




* 


• 




* 




• 














• 




16 


Deadman's Basin 


R 










• 




• 








• 






• 




17 


East Gallatin* 


R 
































18 


Elkhorn* 


C 
































19 


Elmo 


R 






• 


■k 


• 




• 


• 






• 






« 




20 


Finley Point 


R 






• 




• 




• 














• 






21 


Fort OvKen 


C 




• 






• 












i 








22 


Frenchtovi^n Pond 


R 






• 


• 


• 




• 




• 








• 


• 


• 


23 


Giant Springs 


N 


* 


* 


* 


* 






* 


• 




• 




• 




• 




24 


Granite* 


C 
































25 


Greycliff Prairie Dog Town 


N 




• 




























26 


Hell Creek 


R 






• 


• 


• 


• 


• 


• 




• 


• 




• 


• 


• 


27 


Holter Uke 


R 






• 




• 


• 


• 








• 






• 


• 


28 


Lake Elmo 


R 










• 










• 


• 




• 


• 


• 


29 


Lambeth 


R 






• 




• 


• 


• 








• 




• 


• 


• 


30 


Les Mason* 


R 


































31 


Lewis and Clark Caverns 


N 


• 


* 


• 


• 








• 


• 


• 




• 








32 


Logan 


R 






• 


• 










• 




• 




• 


• 


• 


33 


Lone Pine 


N 


• 


* 


• 


* 








• 








• 








34 


Lost Creek 


N 




* 


• 


















• 








35 


Madison Buffalo Jump 


C 




• 


• 


















• 








36 


Makoshika 


N 




• 


• 










• 








• 








37 


Medicine Rocks 


N 






• 










• 
















38 


Missouri Headwaters 


N 




• 


• 


• 




ir 




• 


• 




* 


• 




• 


• 


39 


Missouri River Road 


R 




•k 


















• 






• 


• 


40 


Natural Bridge 


N 




• 




















• 




• 






41 


Nelson 


R 












• 










• 






f 




42 


Painted Rocks 


R 






• 






• 














• 






43 


Parker Homestead* 


C 
































44 


Pictograph Cave 


C 




• 


• 










• 
















45 


Pirogue Island 


N 






• 


























46 


Placid Lake 


R 




• 


• 


• 




• 




• 






• 




. 






47 


Rosebud Battlefield* 


C 
































48 


Salmon Lake 


R 




• 


• 


• 




• 










• 




• 






49 


Sluice Boxes 


N 
























• 








50 


Smith River 


N 
































51 


Spring Meadow Lake 


R 






• 


* 
















* 


* 


A 




52 


Thompson Falls 


R 






• 






« 














• 






53 


Tongue River Reservoir 


R 






• 






• 








• 


• 




• 






54 


Dim Pishkun 


C 




• 








• 










• 










55 


Wayfarers 


R 






• 


• 




• 




• 


• 




• 


• 


• 




• 


56 


West Shore 


R 






• 






• 










• 


• 


• 






57 


Whitefish Lake 


R 






• 


• 




• 




• 






• 




• 






58 


Wild Horse Island* 


N 
































59 


Wild Missouri River 


N 




• 


• 
















• 










60 


Yellow Bay 


R 






• 


• 




• 










• 


• 


• 







* Undeveltiped 

* Features uvuiluhle 

* Features available ami aeeewihte 
to the ffhy\i(all\ Ji.uihleJ 



N - Natural 
C - Cultural 
R - Recreation 



15 



INTRODUCTION 



The State Park Futures Committee was appointed by 
the Department of Fish, Wildhfe and Parks in August 1989 
with approval of Governor Stephens and legislative leaders 
to make recommendations to the Governor, the 52nd 
Legislature, and the Fish and Game Commission about the 
proper role, priorities, and funding for state parks. 

The committee met 1 1 times throughout the state to 
consider the issues and develop its recommendations. On 
fact-finding trips it visited more than 20 of Montana's most 
significant state parks. It also held public meetings in 15 
towns, meeting with over 500 people representing over 70 
groups, conducted a statewide newspaper survey and 
received uncounted letters and phone calls. 

It was apparent that there is a good deal of public 
interest in, concern for, and a willingness to support the 
State Park System. 

The committee was impressed with the richness of the 
natural, cultural, and recreational treasures which make up 
the system. It was also impressed with the quality and 
dedication of parks employees and volunteers. 

We were disturbed by the serious daily management 
problems facing the system as well as the all too apparent 
threats to the preservation of these irreplaceable properties. 
We felt a sense of loss over the missed opportunities to 
educate our youth, enrich our lives, and to capitalize on the 
obvious potential for parks to be a much more significant 
contributor to our economy. 

In the end we were encouraged to find that the 
answers to these problems are available, the solutions are 
attainable, and that it is not too late to save these priceless 
resources. We found that the traditional methods of 
operation were often ineffective. Innovative and creative 
approaches have been developed and used on individual 
park areas and can be broadened to improve the entire State 
Park System. 

What is needed most is sufficient financial support to 
turn the tide in what is now a losing battle and to broaden 
the scope, level, and priority of park management in 
Montana. 



This report synthesizes what the committee learned 
from professionals inside and outside the department, from 
the public, from a good look at the parks, from literature 
review of the experiences of other state park systems, and 
from each other. We believe our recommendations are 
practical, attainable, cost-effective in the long run, are in 
the public interest, and will earn public support. 

All committee members endorse the report and have 
signed it. Most of its recommendations were adopted 
unanimously. In the case of funding the committee agreed 
to suggest prioritized options which the majority approved 
even though one or more members did not. This was done 
to provide a broad spectrum of options which were believed 
most appropriate. 

The committee acknowledges the fine work of Mr. L. E. 
Surles, Recreation Management Opportunities, Inc., for 
two studies of the financing and management of the State 
Park System (State Park System Financial Review, and 
State Park System Plan Draft) which are included in the 
Appendix. It has endorsed and advanced a number of Mr. 
Surles' concepts and recommendations. His meeting with 
the committee was also very enlightening and helpful. 




16 



BACKGROUND 



The State Park System celebrated its Golden 
Anniversary in conjunction with Montana's Centennial in 
1989. 

Since its beginning in 1939 with the acceptance of 
Lewis and Clark Caverns from the federal government, the 
Montana State Park System has had the chronic problem of 
insufficient funding and management resources to properly 
carry out its responsibilities. Ironically, even the caverns 
could not begin operations without private capital to provide 
such basic public services as drinking water. 

In the six decades since, the system has grown in 
response to public demands to include: 15 Natural Parks 
such as Lost Creek; 15 Cultural Parks like Bannack, 
Montana's first territorial capital; and 30 Recreational 
Parks, mostly located on lakes like Flathead and Canyon 
Ferry; a total system of over 30,000 acres. 

State parks receive 3 million visits annually. That 
exceeds both Glacier and Yellowstone national parks which 
in 1989 received 1.8 million and 2.6 million visitors 
respectively. 

Out-of-state visitors to Montana's state parks 
contribute almost $45 million to Montana's economy 
which supports 1,500 private sector jobs. When 
compared to the parks' current annualized expenditure 
of $2.3 million for operations and $1.3 million for 
improvements, spending by out-of-state visitors to 
Montana's state parks represents a ten-to-one return 
on this investment. 

The increase in number to the present 60 parks has 
always out-paced both development of facilities and 
management. The number would be larger except for 
department resistance to further expansion particularly 
since 1985. 



This chronic problem became acute in the mid 1980s 
when Montana's economic downturn, falling interest 
earnings, and other factors caused the state budget crisis. In 
subsequent legislative budget balancing efforts state parks 
lost over $624,000 per year through the elimination of 
general fund support and saw the parks coal tax trust 
temporarily capped. These two acts alone reduced parks 
budgets almost $1,000,000 per year. During the same 
period the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund was 
cut to 1/20 th its former amount. 

The cuts, compounded by the affects of inflation, led 
to a cutback in operations, a moratorium on capital 
maintenance, and construction of replacement facilities. 
Plans for developing and opening several previously 
acquired parks were suspended and opportunities to acquire 
more parks were resisted despite outside pressures. 

In an effort to earn more revenue the Fish and Game 
Commission initiated an entrance fee system in 1989. It was 
a catch-22 situation . . . money was needed to improve 
facilities and management, but without improvements 
support for user fees was seriously eroded. The department 
also lacked personnel and site control to provide complete 
and equitable collection. The fees added about $300,000 
per year but raised only about half of what was expected. 

The 1989 legislature appropriated $2.6 million from 
a variety of sources, some one-time only opportunities, to 
repair and add basic facilities and to help ease the transition 
to the newly adopted entrance fee system. 

Even with the new fees the parks operating budget of 
$2.3 million ranks near the bottom among the fifty states, 
and at $0.49 per visitor it spends only about 1/3 as much as 
North Dakota or the National Park Service. Put another 
way, Montana spends $25,000 per park while North Dakota 
spends $66,000 and Colorado spends $145,000. 



Since the mid-1970s while the system grew by 16 
parks and visitation doubled, real spending power remained 
fiat due to infiation. 



Montana's Parks Division (and other divisions within 
the department which use park funds in support of parks) 
currently spends from three primary sources: parks earned 
revenue (36%), coal tax (36%), and motor boat fuel taxes 
(28%). 



17 



Montana's park fees support about the same 
percentage (36%) of the total budget as is the case in other 
park systems throughout the nation. Nearly every other 
state provides General Fund support . . . Montana does not. 

The primitive condition of our parks not only deprives 
users of needed facilities and a quality experience. It also 
severely erodes revenue earning capability. Consider . . . 
we are one of 5 states which offer no modem camp sites 
with electrical and water service, unlike most we do not 
offer cabins or lodge units for rent, we rank 48th in 
spending per visitor and share with Wyoming the distinction 
of having no fixed outlay for capital construction of user 
facilities. Consequently, Montana ranks last in the nation 
in the amount of revenue it is able to earn per visitor. 

Additionally, Montana has sacrificed its land 
acquisition program. It has given up the ability to protect 
existing parks from the threats of incompatible use on 
critical inholdings and adjoining lands. It has lost the 
opportunity to bring important new properties into the 
system. Montana, at 0.005% of its total area devoted to 
state parks, has less than any other state in the union except 
North Dakota (0.004%). 

At 43 full-time and 140 seasonal employees, 
Montana's staff is one of the smallest in the nation. 



It holds a representation virtually of every major 
historic theme. For example: 

Prehistoric archaeological sites . . . 

Pictograph Cave, Madison Buffalo Jump, 
and others; 

Lewis and Clark Expedition . . . 

Giant Springs, Great Falls of the 
Missouri, Missouri River Headwaters, 
Beaverhead Rock, and others; 

First Permanent White Settlement . . . 

Fort Owen; 

Indian Wars . . . 

Rosebud Battlefield, Chief Joseph Battleground 
of the Bear's Paw; 

1855 Treaty site . . . 

Council Grove; 

Indian/white cooperation . . . 

Chief Plenty Coups' homestead; 

Mining, commerce, railroads . . . 

Sluice Boxes, Elkhom, Granite, and others; 



Despite its problems, the Montana State Park System 
embodies a wealth of natural and cultural treasures 
unsurpassed in the nation. 




First territorial capitol . . . 

Bannack; 

Industry . . . 

Anaconda Stack. 

Natural wonders at: 

Medicine Rocks; Makoshika; Lewis and 
Clark Caverns; Wild Horse Island and 
other Flathead Lake parks; Lost Creek. 

Unsurpassed recreation . . . 

on most of the major lakes and reservoirs 
in the state. These are limited, highly prized, 
water resources to which state parks often 
provides the only public access. 



18 



These parks offer Montanans and our guests a sense 
of our own history and identity, provide places of learning 
and inspiration, and opportunities for "re-creation" and re- 
vitalization in the most beautiful surroundings available 
anywhere. 

Our state parks provide a dramatic visual measure of 
the quality of life and style to which we aspire. They 
represent the things we treasure. In many ways the care 
which we give them is a reflection of the maturity of our 
society. 

This wealth is not being used to our advantage now, 
and of more concern, may be compromised or even lost if 
present trends are not reversed. Vandalism and other 
degradation of irreplaceable resources is alarmingly evident 
in many of the parks the committee visited. The longer we 
wait to address these problems, the more it will cost and the 
less there will be left to salvage. 



The committee found that while the department is 
very creative in stretching scarce resources over 60 parks, 
it may not always be effective in directing its resources to 
the highest priority needs. The present system lacks a clear 
sense of long-term direction and mission which the public 
understands and supports. 

Consequently, the department has been vulnerable to 
outside pressures to accept areas that could be better 
managed by others and to adopt priorities which have 
popular local support but which do not necessarily address 
the long-term high priority needs of the park system. While 
this approach has resulted in many worthwhile projects, it 
has added to the burden, misdirected funding and effort, 
and added to the public's confusion about the identity and 
purpose of the State Park System. 

These facts, together with the interest demonstrated 
at our public meetings, lead to the inescapable conclusion 
that it is time for action. These disturbing trends in the State 
Park System must be changed. An informed and concerned 
citizenry demands that the parks' legacy not be lost 
through abuse or neglect. 

Public confidence in department management, 
priorities, and direction must be strengthened to maintain 
support for giving it additional money and personnel. 
These tools must be made available soon to save our park 
resources and to use them effectively to serve the public. 



::^m 




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19 



s- 



THE MISSION 



The committee started its work by examining the 
parks' legislative mandate . . . 



The Enabling Act . . . 

The 1939 Legislature provided the foundation upon 
which the State Park System has been built. Title 23, 
Chapter 1, Part 1 of the Montana Code begins with a 
statement of its purpose . . . 



"For the purpose of conserving the scenic, historic, 
archaeologic , scientific, and recreational resources of the 
state and providing for their use and enjoyment, thereby 
contributing to the cultural, recreational, and economic 
life of the people and their health . . ." (23-1-101) 



2) Its natural and cultural resources being the best 
representative examples of statewide significance; 

3) Its recreational resources being rural in setting and at 
least of regional significance; 

4) Management policies which are guided by professionally 
and publicly developed long-range park management 
plans to assure proper stewardship in perpetuity; 

5) Park land acquisition and disposal which assure that 
appropriate resources are added and inappropriate ones 
are removed on a long-term planned basis; 

6) Management which adheres to uniform identity and 
quality standards of resource protection, facility 
construction and maintenance, and public service; 



THE VISION 



The Enabling Act is a very broad mandate. One of the 
committee's first tasks was to add definition, structure, and 
standards around which the committee's and the public's 
vision of the ideal State Park System for Montana could be 
developed and managed. 



The Vision . . . 

"A State Park System which protects Montana's significant 
natural and cultural heritage, enhances peoples' well- 
being, provides high quality and accessible recreational 
opportunities for Montanans and visitors, and is 
appropriately managed to improve the economy through 
tourism. 

Such a park system is characterized by: 

1) Its legacy of natural, cultural, and recreational resources 
remaining undiminished and not degrading over time; 



7) Public use facilities which are appropriate, safe, clean, 
and accessible; 

8) Educational, interpretive, and informational services 
which adhere to uniform identity and quality standards; 

9) Innovative and creative management techniques which 
make the best uses of outside assistance such as volunteers 
and cooperative relationships such as federal and local 
governments, the private sector, and with other interests; 

10) Professional staff who provide Montana's leadership 
in park management and who develop working 
collaborations and technical assistance among other park 
providers; 

11) A strong, positive image and an organizational structure 
which is readily identifiable, accountable, and responsive 
to Montanans; 

12) Being affordable to Montanans; 

13) Being an essential element of the tourism industry 
"network." 



20 



THE REALITY 



How does our present park system compare against 
the standard described in the Vision? . . . 

The Reality . . . 

In its visits to more than 20 of the most significant 
parks across the state, the committee observed emergency 
need for historic structure stabilization at Bannack and 
Chief Plenty Coups Memorial, found vandalism of natural 
and cultural features at Lewis and Clark Caverns and The 
Madison Buffalo Jump, and saw evidence of uncontrolled 
and excessive use at Canyon Ferry as well as erosion which 
is threatening irreplaceable resources at Yellow Bay , to cite 
just a few examples. 

At Finley Point, Cooney, Black Sandy, and elsewhere 
we noted serious human health and safety problems due to 
lack of proper facility development and timely maintenance 
and management control of natural features. 

The committee noted a lack of even the most basic 
inventory of park resources. There are no comprehensive 
surveys of the paleontological, archaeological, historical, 
geological, biological, or other values it manages. Thus, 
staff cannot protect, much less make them available to the 
public for education and enjoyment. 

The department appears to be doing what it can, but 
it is losing the battle through lack of professional manpower, 
specialized expertise, and funds to deal with these problems. 
Since the decline of these resources is often not dramatic, 
it goes unnoticed by the public who pressure the department 
and the legislature to give priority to more visible projects 
offering immediate user benefits. 

The system does contain some of the most important 
treasures of the state . . . places like Wild Horse 
Island, Makoshika, Missouri Headwaters, and many others. 
But it also is responsible for parks which are of 
questionable statewide significance and which would be 
more appropriately managed by others. They are in the 
system because local jurisdictions could not afford them 
and the state was looked upon as a deep pocket. 

The department does not have a comprehensive, 
publicly developed, formally adopted body of management 
policies to provide the long-term direction or day to day 



management . . . though much of what is needed is in draft 
form. Employees sj)end their energies on the demands of 
day today management because of alack of proper facilities 
and scheduled cyclic maintenance. It appears necessary to 
spend a disproportionate amount of time responding to 
such things as stopgap health and safety needs of users. 

The system's history of growth appears to have been 
guided by opportunism and political pressure rather than by 
a systematic evaluation of the state's resources, contrary to 
original legislative intent. The Coal Tax Park Acquisition 
Program, for example, added appropriate areas like the 
Rosebud Battlefield, but also ones like East Gallatin at 
Bozeman which may not fit the state park mission. 

The public is skeptical of any immediate park land 
disposal. It mistrusts the department in the absence of a 
well-defined long-range plan. It is worried about who, if 
not the department, has the capability to better manage 
parks which serve local park needs. 

The Acquisition Program is now defunct because all 
parks coal tax trust revenue is going to management to 
cover the withdrawal of general fund support. This is a 
serious blow at a time when inholdings threaten the 
integrity of parks like Lewis and Clark Caverns, Bannack, 
and others; while important resources outside the system, 
like White Sandy beach on Hauser Lake, are in imminent 
danger of being develop)ed by their owners and lost to the 
public. 

The State Park System lacks clearly identifiable and 
consistently applied appearance and quality standards. 
Camping facilities, for example, vary widely, not only 
across the state from park to park, but also within a park 
where one can find several kinds of tables, stoves, space 
allocations, and camp pads or their absence, even though 
the cost to the user and his needs and expectations do not 
change. 

Truly barrier-free access for the handicapped is almost 
nonexistent. The committee applauds the department's 
newly drafted Handicapped Access Plan which will address 
this problem if funding is made available. 

Bank erosion, lack of trail maintenance, run-down 
facilities and water systems which do not meet current 
health standards are basic problems throughout the park 
system. 



21 



Educational and interpretive facilities are likewise 
lacking or in need of repair. Lewis and Clark Caverns, for 
example, which has a high-quality guided tour, has, for 
several years, had nonoperative audio/video equipment in 
both of its primary public contact points due to lack of 
replacement funds. We found the same problem at the 
Chief Plenty Coups Museum. 

In many places interpretive signs, which when 
installed were high-quality and informative, are now gone 
or heavily damaged from vandalism. The site security to 
protect them, and the money to replace them, is not available. 
Many parks have developed brochures but lack effective 
methods of dispensing them, or the funds to print them in 
sufficient quantity or to update them. 

The system, as a whole, is falling far short of its 
potential to educate, inspire, and inform park users of our 
heritage. 

In response to extremely limited resources, park 
managers have developed an impressive array of innovative 
partnerships and creative techniques. The system lacks 
mechanisms, other than poverty, for encouraging their 
development and use, and staff for researching and sharing 
this knowledge. 

Montana's professional park system staff is one of the 
smallest of the fifty states. The system does not include 
necessary specialists in history, historic structure 



preservation, archaeology, natural sciences, media, 
interpretation, and many others. Its few management level 
employees are routinely called upon to provide all of these 
services in addition to providing basic management. The 
committee was impressed with them individually and as a 
group. 

There is an equal amount of talent and dedication 
among the seasonal employees and volunteers. We met 
one young woman who has returned each summer for 14 
years to a job that pays about $7.60 per hour. She, alone at 
her park, gives guided tours, collects the fees, enforces the 
rules, picks up the garbage, cleans the toilets, waters and 
mows the grass, and controls the weeds. She and Montana's 
bicentennial park. The Missouri Headwaters, deserve better. 

Montanans deserve better. 



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THE BARRIERS BETWEEN THE 
REALITY AND THE VISION 



Clearly, the park system does not mirror the 
committee's vision of what it should and could be. The 
committee's reading of public attitude is that it should. 
Why doesn't it? 

We found conditions which we recognized as barriers 
which must be overcome, or problems which need to be 
solved, for the park vision to be realized. The barriers fall 
into the general categories of: 

Role 

Long-Range Planning 

Management 

Image and Marketing 

Funding 

These matters were considered at considerable length 
and in some detail. The committee called upon outside 
experts — the public — and tested these observations with 
insf)ections in the parks. We spent many hours with 
department personnel from all levels of management and 
drew from a considerable body of literature and reports. 
The committee used an independent consultant/facilitator 
to assure impartial, efficient, and thorough discussion and 
an accurate recording of the results. 



ROLE 

The 1939 enabling legislation defined the broad 
mission for the State Park System. It is so broad, in fact, that 
it provides little guidance for focusing the efforts of the 
department. The range of scope and quality of Montana's 
resources make it imperative that a clearly defined selection 
process be used to choose the areas to be managed by the 
department. The options to use other public and private 
resource managers as partners, the pragmatic limits of 
budgets, manpower, and others make it imperative that 
Montanans define the proper niche for the State Park 
System. 



The committee did not find that this had been done. 
Its Vision Statement is intended to fill that need. 

It is particularly important that the State Park System ' s 
niche, or role, be accepted and understood by the public. 
Without public involvement at this level, support is severely 
diminished. The department is whipsawed into, or assumes, 
inappropriate responsibilities which drain its resources and 
further confuse the public about its purpose. 

The committee saw draft documents which classify 
park lands and provide a prescription for their selection and 
management. They do not, however, provide a vision of the 
system as a whole, but rather prescribe the component 
parts. These appear to be sound, professional documents 
which could be made more meaningful with the inclusion 
of the Vision Statement. They have not been, but should be, 
offered for public comment and formally adopted. 



LONG-RANGE PLANNING 

It is clear to the committee through its public meetings 
that a parks legacy is important to our way of life, our well- 
being and to Montana's economy. The public is concerned 
about, and is dissatisfied with the condition and management 
of our state parks. 

Clearly, much public misinformation exists about 
our State Park System. This is partly because publicly 
developed long-range plans have not been developed. 

Work of the department on long-range planning 
specifically involving park classification, setting of 
priorities, and the State Park System plan have lain dormant, 
apparently due to a lack of staff and funds and perhaps to 
a lack of commitment to complete them. 

The department lacks comprehensive inventories of 
the park system's natural and cultural resources and lacks 
site specific management plans for many of its parks. 



23 



At the same time, however, there is department-led 
public discussion about disposing of some parks. This is 
making people very nervous and we heard about their 
concerns in all of our public meetings. 

Strong public opinion recommends against disposal 
of any sites pending adequate citizen review and completion 
of the State Park System plan. The public would accept 
mothballing of some sites if necessary to maintain the 
status quo until an adequate review is completed. 

Montana's legislative mandate is not being honored 
and the public's needs and expectations are not being met 
with regard to public services currently available at our 
state parks. Many lack basic security, informational, 
interpretive, and educational services. Facilities are often 
inadequate, old and in need of repair, and some present 
risks to health and safety. 

There are examples of quality facilities and service at 
some parks. But it appears to the committee that through a 
combination of a lack of long-range plans and consistent 
standards, and a shortage of personnel and funding these 
successes are more often the exception than the norm for 
the system. Quality standards are being developed by the 
department but the results are not yet evident at many parks. 

The lack of the necessary plans and the identification 
of priorities masks the true needs, cripples efforts to mobiUze 
public support to address these problems, and may result in 
misdirecting the limited management resources which are 
available to the department. 




MANAGEMENT 

During the course of its recent discussions the 
committee was encouraged by the strongly expressed 
commitment to parks by Director K. L. Cool and his 
deputies, and by members of the Fish and Game 
Commission. Long-vacant planning and administrative 
staff positions in the Parks Division, lost during previous 
budget cuts, are being filled and a new position has been 
created in the director's office to deal with priority recreation 
issues. This progress has been made without much needed 
budget relief. 

This shifts more emphasis to leadership, policy 
development, and plarming. The committee applauds this 
apparent change in management emphasis. 

Public perception is a problem statewide. In almost 
every public meeting there was concern about the proper 
administrative home for parks. People frequently suggested 
that parks was treated as a step-child to fish and wildlife 
interests. It is felt that usually the marriage is encouraged 
and supported only when it is for the purpose of parks 
supporting fish and wildlife needs. 

Several organizational options were suggested by the 
public ... an independent parks agency, combining parks 
with tourism and commerce, combining parks with State 
Lands or returning parks to the Department of Highways, 
to cite common examples. 

There seemed to be a lack of sufficient department 
interface with the public about parks matters and it was 
clear that the public expected more frequent opportunities 
to express its concerns. 

There are serious and widespread misconceptions 
about funding. Public perception is that the department is 
well-off financially and all that is needed to fund the parks 
program is for the department to share its hunting and 
fishing license revenues. It would appear that parks has 
trouble securing its own legitimate funding because of 
these misconceptions. 

Historically, there appears to have been a lack of 
appreciation or understanding internally about the 
difference in needs and approach to managing 
nonrenewable park and cultural resources as opposed 
to renewable wildlife resources. 



24 



This has been evidenced by an apparent lack of a 
sense of urgency to address park matters when choices 
were made in assigning park crews to headquarter 
maintenance or other tasks in support of the fish and 
wildHfe programs instead of to park maintenance. As a 
result irreplaceable park resources continued to go 
unattended while the "more important" business of the rest 
of the department was addressed by park crews. The 
public believes that parks needs are too frequently 
subordinated to the needs of the rest of the department. 

The perception exists that "parks" is not adequately 
represented at the policy level in the department. An 
example often cited was that there is no formal representation 
for parks required of Fish and Game Commission 
membership and indeed the very name of the commission 
reinforces this perception. 

Parks professionals reported that they are not able to 
interact with other professionals outside the state or achieve 
the professional stature that fish and wildlife professions 
enjoy as a result of their out-of-state professional contacts. 
The department has indicated that this is largely a budget 
problem faced by all divisions. 

The public perceives that fish and wildlife programs 
are promoted and supported by the department far more 
than are parks programs. Parks resources, particularly the 
historic, scientific, and cultural, are not being used to 
advantage by schools or by the tourism public. 

The public is thoroughly confused about the 
jurisdiction and management responsibilities, and the 
purpose for various department lands such as Fishing 
Access Sites, Wildlife Management Areas, and Parks. 

The public perceives an apparent artificial 
stratification of department employees. For example, a 
question often asked was, "Why are wardens not used more 
to enforce parks regulations?" 

The State Park System and its employees have a 
muddled and confusing identity. As a group, parks 
employees lack stature and a positive professional image. 
This may be due at least in part to the fact that their jobs are 
viewed as largely "caretaker" positions. This perception is 
often reinforced by the lack of visible professional 
management services in parks; by employee uniforms that 
are nondescript, lack a professional crispness and do not 
look sharp; and by the lack of involvement at the professional 



level with peers in other agencies, the academic world, and 
communities. 

In contrast, as individuals, parks employees receive 
highly complimentary endorsement by people who know 
them, know their work, and their commitment to it. 

The problem is compounded by the array of roles 
parks employees must assume. To cite one example. Fish 
and Game wardens are only providing a small fraction of 
the enforcement and public contact needs of parks. The 
balance of park enforcement rightly must come from park 
professionals who presently are too few in number, and 
almost totally without the training and equipment to do the 
job. 

A second example involves the loss of Parks Division 
staff expertise in the field of interpretive services. This 
staff expertise was reassigned to the Field Services Division 
in the previous administration as part of reorganization and 
budget relief for the Parks Division. This work is too 
important to the mandate of the park system to subordinate 
it to the rest of the department. 

Another example involves the almost total absence in 
many parks of professional interpretive and educational 
effort,and the near absence of outreach and interpretive 
programs for schools, the traveling public, and the tourism 
industry. These services are the mark of a truly mature and 
appropriate park service to the public. Without them the 
value of park resources to the present generation is largely 
being wasted, is going unappreciated and consequently 
may be lost through ignorance. 

The department's organizational structure appears to 
have allowed too much individual autonomy among 
regional supervisors for park purposes. Historically, many 
were not professionally qualified or professionally 
motivated to assess the significance and needs of the parks 
component of the department. The present complement of 
regional supervisors appears to have much better 
awareness of and sensitivity to parks needs. 

There is also a lack of parks program policy guidance 
at the Helena headquarters level to direct field effort on a 
statewide basis. (This has been at least in part due to 
previously vacant staff positions now filled.) Lack of 
policy has created a vacuum which is filled by supervisors 
who historically have not been trained in park management 
and have had their own priorities. These factors appear to 



25 



have affected park employee morale, caused confusion 
among the public about accountability, and resulted in a 
lack of consistent disciplined adherence to existing parks 
plans, policies, and priorities. Often these seem to have 
been subordinated to other department interests by being 
undeveloped, unused, or changed based upon the preferences 
of individuals. 

The committee has been assured that these practices 
are changing through direction from the director, through 
new field staff appointments, and the filling of vacant 
positions which will accelerate policy development. 




IMAGE AND MARKETING 



Montana's state parks and its employees are generally 
perceived poorly by the public. 

The committee found that this poor image results 
from problems in five general areas: 

1) Appearance . . . 

Employees and parks do not exhibit 
high and consistent standards. 

2) Identity . . . 

The public is confused and misinformed about the 
mission, sites, administration, responsibilities, and funding 
of state parks. 

3) Promotion . . . 

There are no clearly identified marketing plans, 
promotional materials are inadequate and poorly distributed, 
and the public is confiised and uninformed about the parks 
and facilities available to them. 

4) Leadership . . . 

Historically, there has been a lack of sufficient attention 
to parks within the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 
the Governor's office, and the Legislature. This vacuum 
has contributed to the general decay of the Park System. 

5) Funding . . . 

Funding is both a root cause and a symptom of the 
problem. Chronic under-funding is a substantial reason for 
the traditional lack of attention given to state parks' image 
and marketing needs. This has precipitated a lack of public 
pride in, or even awareness of, the system's value and 
potential. Consequently, its legitimate funding needs are 
not recognized. 

As a result, Montana is not capitalizing on the social 
and economic benefits which can flow from a strong State 
Park System. 

Because of the questionable image and a serious lack 
of a marketing strategy it is very difficult to generate vital 
support among the general public and other cooperators in 
the public and private sectors. 

The Park System's low profile and lack of a clear 
identity is also masking the severity of present degradation 
of significant and irreplaceable resources. 



26 



Montana has almost completely overlooked the 
economic value of the State Park System. Even in its 
present under-developed condition, the Park System could 
be more effectively used through networking with other 
tourism providers and promotional activities to augment 
economic benefits currently identified. 

The committee was encouraged by the new partnership 
initiatives presently being pursued by the department and 
the Montana Promotions Division of the Department of 
Commerce. The Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism 
has been expanded to include Fish, Wildlife and Parks 
involvement, promotion of the State Park System appears 
to have support from the Governor's Tourism Advisory 
Council, and better coverage of parks in their promotional 
materials is being coordinated. 

The State Park System contains treasures of national 
as well as state significance. We have an obligation to 
protect, interpret, and share them not only to the present 
generation of Americans but for America's future publics. 

Failure to share this wealth of natural and 
cultural history with Montana's own educational 
community is a final indictment of our marketing 
efforts. That we would let go to waste these important 
opportunities to enlighten and inspire our youth makes 
society poorer by our inaction. To deprive our children of 
the privilege of experiencing historical, cultural, and 
scientific treasures that lay within our state's boundaries is 
unconscionable. 

In most parks, employees, often the only employee on 
duty, must dump the garbage, clean the toilets, mow the 
weeds, repair the facilities, collect the fees, enforce the 
rules, as well as provide information and park interpretive 
services. Often they provide their own vehicles and 
temporary housing on site. While the people the committee 
met and interviewed were highly motivated and dedicated, 
we recognized that undercurrent conditions it is impossible 
for them to overcome the enormous workloads, serve the 
user public effectively, and present a more desirable park 
image. 



FUNDING 

Current Funding 

The Parks Division was appropriated $2,896,131 for 
operations for July 1, 1990, through June 30, 1991. Funding 
came from four primary sources: 

Interest from Parks Coal Tax Trust $903,602 

(1.27% of tax builds trust corpus) 

Parks Earned Revenue from user fees $1,180,172 

(Entrance, camping, cabin, concession, etc.) 

Motorboat Fuel Tax $570,470 

(9/10 of one per cent of 20 cent/gallon gas tax) 

Federal Matching $241,887 

(for the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) 

However, the actual operations budget is only 

$2,334,775. 



Interest from Parks 
Coal Tax Trust 
$903.602 




Fee-earning shortfall caused a cut of $3 19,469 in the 
earned revenue account. This cut made it impossible to 
implement the MCC for which an additional $241,887 in 
matching funds was lost. The total $561 ,356 cut represents 
a 19% reduction in an already very austere budget. 

The consequences of this cut are severe: 

Montana Conservation Corps Program 

not implemented 
No replacement of capital equipment 

such as mowers, etc. 
No park major facility and utility maintenance 
No statewide signing program 
Cuts in field operations at low-earning 

and non-fee parks 



27 



The long-term consequences of continuing to operate at 
this level will be even more serious: 

Implications of No New Funding 

The park system continues to degrade at current 
funding levels. 

No New Capital 

1. The current deterioration of the park system would 
be accelerated. Roads, water and septic systems, toilets, 
boat ramps — all park facilities — would continue to crumble. 

2. Continued resource damage such as bank erosion at 
Flathead Lake, Cooney; historic structure collapse, 
Bannack; cultural resource degradation. Rosebud 
Battlefield and Chief Plenty Coups would accelerate. 

3. Visitor safety will decline causing closure of parts 
of, or entire sites due to water contamination, physical 
hazards such as lack of tree maintenance, road washouts, 
unsafe boat ramps, unusable restrooms, etc. Entrance may 
be restricted to walk-in only to many sites. 

4. Lack of site control will result in poor visitor 
security resulting in thefts, assaults, and nuisance behavior. 

5. Benefits to the tourism industry would be non- 
existent or even negative. 

6. Recreational demands of the public would not be 
met and quality of life for Montana would decline. 

7. Inholdings could destroy current park resource and 
recreational values through incompatible uses. 

No New Equipment 

1. Within four years, only 25% of all small equipment 
will be operable. This includes weedeaters, lawnmowers, 
and chainsaws. This will hinder the ability to mow lawns, 
cut noxious weeds, and clear brush or tree hazards around 
park sites. 

2. Riding lawnmowers, snowplows, generators for 
running small hand tools, and trailers have a five-to ten- 
year life. With no ongoing replacement program, mowing, 
painting, and other basic site maintenance would virtually 
cease after ten years. 



3. Large equipment like backhoes, dump trucks, etc. 
have a ten plus year life. But without the funds to keep up 
with repairs of even older equipment, and the problems of 
excessive down time, operations at remote park sites are 
not efficient or cost-effective. And, without the support of 
the smaller equipment, their usefulness would be minimal. 
Many parks have no heavy equipment now. 

Operation and Maintenance 

1. Fees could no longer be charged on some or many 
sites due to lack of services, inoperative facilities, and lack 
of collection personnel. 

2. Employee layoffs would be necessary. On-site 
presence would be reduced or eliminated. 

3. Restroom maintenance would not be continued at 
an approved health and safety level, therefore, toilets 
would be removed from many sites or closed. 

4. All sites would be considered for pack in pack out 
trash removal. 

5. Weed control would not keep pace with infestation 
thus creating an infectious area impacting surrounding 
lands in violation of the state weed law. 

6. Safety/enforcement staff would be cut, increasing 
visitor and department liability thus causing possible park 
closures. 

7. Services would be virtually eliminated on many 
sites, especially remote sites. 

8. Educational opportunities would be further 
diminished or lost. 




New Funding Targets . . . Annual 

The department presented the committee with four funding scenarios: 



Funds available . . . from present ongoing and reUable 
sources which, if not augmented, would result in a continued 
degradation of the Park System as described above; 

Park protection ... the funding level which would 
avoid system regression. Includes resources protection, 
visitor safety, infrastructure, fee system enhancement, 
and response to increased public demand. 



Park improvement ... the funding level which 
would begin to restore the Park System over the next 
ten years; 

Accelerated park improvement ... the funding 
level which would establish a quality park system over the 
next five years. Includes a modest amount for inholding 
acquisitions and expansion of a few destination parks to 
accommodate increased tourism use. 





funds 
available 


park 
protection 


park 
improvement 


accelerated 

park 

improvement 


equipment 

capital 

operations 

TOTALS 


$ 
2,324.775 


$ 168,000 
2.000,000 
3,050.000 


$ 240.000 
3,000.000 
3.550,000 


$ 313,000 
4,000,000 
4,300,000 


$2,324,775 


$ 5.218.000 


$ 6.790,000 


$8,613,000 


NEW FUNDS NEEDED 




$ 2.918.000 


$ 4.490,000 


$6,313,000 


FTEs 


96.23 


108.78 


117.35 


126.47 


NEW hlEs NEEDED 




12.55 


21.12 


30.24 



**Note: The present Park System budget is $3,434,775. It includes $2,324,775 operations; 
$1 ,100,000 capital; and $10,000 equipment. Funds will be available from coal tax, motor boat fuel 
tax, and parks earned revenue to support only current operations at $2.3 million. Capital and 
equipment needs would have to come entirely from new revenue. Existing funding comes largely 
from one-time sources that will not be, or cannot be counted upon, to be available. 



29 



OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS . . . 
THE COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATIONS 



The present administration has inherited a serious 
problem of long standing. 

The committee recognizes that much, but not all, of 
what it recommends can only be achieved with additional 
funding and personnel. 

ROLE 

The committee sees the need to bridge the gap between 
the broad mandate in the enabling legislation and the 
selection, classification, and management of specific parks. 



1) The committee recommends that its "Vision" 
statement be adopted as a draft definition of the Role of the 
Montana State Park System. In its development the 
committee considered the department's legal mandates, 
the public's wishes, and drew upon examples from the 
nation's quality park systems. 

2) It should be offered for public comment along with 
the department's Classification System, revised if necessary, 
and then formally adopted and faithfully followed. 



LONG-RANGE PLANNING 

The State Park Futures Committee considers the 
restoration of public trust and involvement of paramount 
and immediate concern. 

The public demands concrete results and an ongoing 
dialogue through public meetings where people can be 
apprised of progress and can influence department action. 

It should not take too long for the department to have 
already prepared draft documents ready for public review. 
Taking this step soon would demonstrate to the public that 
the department is serious about involving citizens and 
would keep going the momentum started by the State Park 
Futures Committee's public meetings. 



The committee learned of a number of planning 
efforts started but not completed or shared with the public. 
It also identified other planning needs which are not being 
addressed. In making its recommendations it recognizes 
the funding and staffmg limitations. It is encouraged by the 
department's initiatives to fill vacant planning staff 
positions. 

1) The committee considers the completion of draft 
park classification documents, the State Park System Plan, 
and park system priorities vital to public and agency needs. 
It urges that this planning be given precedence, completed 
and shared with concerned citizens, revised if necessary, 
and implemented. 

2) Then, site specific management plans should be 
developed on a priority basis after the proper mission of 
each park has been determined through classification and 
the overall State Park System Plan. 

Site specific planning should be done in the context of 
the park system as a whole. Each park should address a 
specific part, or parts, of the system's mission and should 
complement, not duplicate without reason, other parks in 
the system. Each park should adopt the standards and the 
identity of the system. It should include a comprehensive 
inventory of the park's natural and cultural features so that 
they can be properly understood, protected, and developed 
for their educational value. 

Management planning should include provisions for 
upgrading the quality of resource and visitor protection, 
public facilities and services, and interpretive/educational 
information. 

Adequate access for all, including people with 
disabilities, should be given special attention. 

3) A minimum, predetermined, system-wide 
quality standard must be established to encompass all 
state parks. The department's draft priority system must 
be completed to insure orderly use of this standard. 



30 



4) A healthy State Park System requires input from 
an informed public. Full participation of concerned citizens 
on a statewide basis must be encouraged at all stages of 
park planiiing, from system-wide to site specific. 



5) The State Park Futures Committee strongly 
recommends against hasty disposal of any individual park 
lands before the completion of long-range plaiming. This 
includes inventory, classification, and prioritization as well 
as intra and interagency coordination. 

Public input suggests that less viable sites may be 
used as trading stock to further upgrade the quality of the 
overall State Park System. The public would accept 
mothballing of some sites if necessary to maintain the 
status quo until an adequate review is completed. 

Any trades or disposal must respect the highest and 
best public benefit and must be based on a comprehensive 
plan. Any disposal of state owned sites should be to the 



maximum advantage of the state in terms of management 
efficiency and public benefit. 

6) All of Montana's natural, cultural, and recreational 
resources should be comprehensively inventoried, 
beginning with, but not limited to, state owned properties 
but not limited to state ownership. Montana's legislative 
mandate suggests exactly that. The state park professionals 
should be vested with the leadership role in providing that 
inventory. 

Any future cooperative sharing of resource 
management by city, county, federal, or private entities 
demands adequate statewide resource data that is 
developed by the Administration through the department. 

The committee feels strongly about developing a 
broad spectrum of partnerships and has developed more 
specific recommendations on this subject in a later chapter 
bearing that title. 




31 



MANAGEMENT 



Steps which we recommend be taken include: 



Several organizational options were considered by 
the committee ... an independent Parks Agency, combining 
parks with tourism/commerce and the Historical Society, 
combining parks with State Lands, or returning parks to 
the Department of Highways. 

The committee feels that the State Park System 
belongs in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 
The missions are compatible and complimentary. There 
are examples of similar organizational structures at the 
federal level in the Department of Interior which includes 
the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife 
Service, and in other states, notably South Dakota, which 
has a quality State Park System under circumstances 
similar in many ways to ours. 

We recognize that distinct and adequate sources of 
funding for parks which are recognized and understood as 
such by the public are fundamental to the healthy marriage 
of parks to the department. 

But the committee strongly recommends that 
management problems which it has identified be addressed 
and resolved so this arrangement can more effectively 
serve the public and the needs of park resources. 




1) The department should strive to make Parks an 
equal partner with its Fish and Wildlife elements.The 

director's preference is to merge Parks tightly with Fish 
and Wildlife so the department is perceived by the public 
and its employees as one cohesive unit, and that it in fact 
functions as such. 

An alternative is to make the Parks Division a more 
independent, self-sufficient unit within the department as is 
the case in South Dakota and the National Park Service. 
Given the historical problems with the present 
organizational structure the committee prefers this 
alternative. 

2) The committee applauds the initiative of the 
chairman of the Fish and Game Commission to change the 
commission's name to "Fish, Wildlife and Parks 
Commission." The committee also urges that when 
members are appointed by the governor there be 
commensurate representation on the commission of persons 
whose qualifications and interests are in the field of parks. 

3) The department should be sensitive to the 
fundamental differences between the management of 
renewable fish and wildlife and nonrenewable parks 
resources. Parks, unlike wildlife, cannot be effectively 
managed remotely. On-site presence is needed. Addressing 
threatened parks resources should not be subordinated to 
other department needs by diverting parks crews. 

4) Parks program policy development should be 
given a high priority now that planning staff positions have 
been filled. 

5) There should be more clearly defined 
accountability in the chain of command and more formal 
follow-up to insure the accomplishment of assigned 
priorities. 

6) The legitimate and unique needs of professional 
parks stewardship, such as enforcement and interpretive 
services, must be recognized and addressed. 

7) Parks professionals should be afforded the cross- 
training and professional development opportunities to 
qualify them for professional advancement throughout the 
department. 



32 



8) Because of parks' broad mandate to manage 
Montana's outdoor recreation, natural, historical, and 
cultural resources, the Parks Division should spearhead 
interpretive programs for the state and have the visible 
endorsement of the Governor's Administration and the 
educational community. 

9) The committee feels strongly that parks should be 
used to capitalize on the educational aspects of Montana's 
rich heritage, especially for our elementary and secondary 
school students. This will require new partnerships but also 
adequate and professionally qualified staff in the Parks 
Division to do this important, but now neglected, work. 

10) The department should increase and expand the 
interaction between parks and other entities, such as the 
tourism industry, the educational, and social services 
communities. This would broaden the expertise to include 
specialists in the fields of travel promotion, interpretation, 
and human services, for example, and bring the Park 
System into contact with additional users who could benefit 
from parks resources and services. 

11) In recognition of public demand, the department 
should have more routine and frequent public contact about 
parks matters. People need frequent progress reports about 
program implementation and face to face opportunities to 
express their views to the department about broad policy 
issues, priorities and department initiatives. 

12) It is particularly important that the Montana users 
and taxpayers be kept informed about the budgetary status 
of parks ... its revenue sources and amounts, how they are 
used and the restrictions that apply, as well as budgetary 
needs. Montanans must also be kept informed about what 
their money is buying in resource protection, facilities, and 
services. 




IMAGE AND MARKETING 

A number of the system's problems can be solved 
with appropriate and early attention to its image and 
marketing. The conmiittee recommends the following 
actions: 

Appearance 

1) The department should recognize the importance 
of portraying a professional staff image to the public. The 
uniform of park employees should be upgraded to a standard 
comparable to other professionally managed state and 
national parks. 

It is not necessary for parks employees have a uniform 
that is totally unique. It is important that the public be able 
to distinguish park employees from biologists or game 
wardens through an identifying patch. It is also vital that 
the uniform present a professional image of which both the 
employees and the public which they serve can be proud. 

2) Park employees, who are quality and dedicated 
people, should be properly trained and well-equipped to 
meet and serve the public. 

3) At larger parks, additional specialized persormel 
are needed. Interpretive, resource, enforcement, and 
supervisory responsibilities cannot effectively be handled 
by one or two people. The professional managers should be 
free to oversee the stewardship of these parks and provide 
a liaison with parmers, their communities, and other 
professionals. 

4) Park construction and maintenance standards should 
be developed and implemented uniformly statewide. The 
committee is aware that such standards are being developed 
for major facilities and urges that the completion and 
adoption of those standards be expedited. 

Promotion 

1) The department should give priority consideration 
to providing at least one interpretive information specialist 
at the Helena headquarters office when staffing is increased. 

2) Priority should be given to developing and 
implementing a Governor's administration-wide park 
marketing campaign involving all pertinent groups and 
constituencies. 



33 



3) The Department of Fish, WildHfe and Parks 
should develop a strategic plan for the creation of a 
philanthropic foundation for state parks whose mission 
would be to support, promote, and raise private money. 

Identity 

1) The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks 
should establish a clear identity for the parks logo on all 
signs, publications, and uniforms. This can be done as 
a supplement to the department's logo where appropriate 
and not as a replacement for it. 

2) Signage should be uniform and identifiable 
statewide. 

3) Promotional campaigns should focus on the 
system as well as individual parks to reinforce the 
system's identity. 

4) Interaction among Montana state park 
professionals with peers and other disciplines both 
within and outside of Montana should be encouraged. 




MONTANA 

STATE PARKS 



FUNDING 

The committee recommends funding at the 
ACCELERATED PARK IMPROVEMENT level of 
funding on a FIVE year schedule, $6,313,000 new funds 
per year, and 30.24 new FTEs (full-time equivalent 
employees which would consist of both year around and 
seasonal employees). 

At the request of the committee the department 
developed various funding scenarios and schedules for 
committee consideration. After the committee selected its 
preferred option, the department developed very detailed 
documentation for the actual projects and activities which 
our recommendation covers. This information is contained 
in the Appendix. It is summarized below. 

It should be noted that "ACCELERATED PARK 
IMPROVEME^^^" does not include everything that could 
be done, but is reflective of a quality, but reasonable, 
budget in view of Montana's overall fiscal realities. 

Funding priorities 

This level of funding and manpower will establish a 
quality, but still very basic, park system over the next five 
years addressing the following priority needs: 

1) resource protection and human safety . . . 
save irreplaceable natural and cultural features such 

as Medicine Rocks sandstone formations and Ulm Pishkun 
artifacts, and provide safer roads and water systems, etc.; 

2) infrastructure integrity . . . 

do preventative maintenance on many buildings and 
utilities and fund life cycle replacement; 

3) public demand, use, and preference . . . 
add facilities and services to improve customer 
satisfaction, such as security, information and 
interpretive services; 

4) revenue enhancement . . . 

provide quality campgrounds and other things 
people will pay to use and enjoy; 

5) inholdings . . . 

secure properties which if inappropriately used by 
others could compromise or even destroy existing 
park values; 

6) meeting long-term future needs . . . 

provide for orderly development of existing undeveloped 
parks and to acquire through exchange, lease, donation, 
easement, or fee other park lands worthy of being in the 
State Park System with an emphasis on expanding 
existing sites. 



34 



Funding needs (itemized list in Appendix) 

operations . . . $2,000,000 new funds 

Includes personnel, supplies, travel, communications, 
day to day management, routine upkeep, and repairs. 

Additional funds would: upgrade professional park 
management and maintenance capabilities; provide 
scheduled maintenance and replacement of facilities; 
increase fee collections, security, public contact, 
informational/interpretive services; provide long-range 
management plans; pursue parmerships and adopt a park 
strategies; liaison with tourism industry; engineering support 
for capital program and facility maintenance; support for 
the Montana Conservation Corps; and other operational 
and maintenance needs; 

equipment . . . $313,000 new funds 

Includes all office, shop, and field equipment costing 
over $200 and which has a useable life of more than one 
year. 

Additional funds would provide: scheduled 
replacement of mowers, tractors, trucks, shop equipment, 
etc; upgrade field safety communications equipment; add 
new maintenance and service equipment for work crews, 
fee collectors, and office support; 

capital . . . $4,000,000 new funds 

Includes buildings and other facilities such as utilities 
and roads which are real property improvements and include 
land acquisitions. 

Additional funds would provide: life cycle and 
preventative maintenance for roads and public facilities; 
upgrade facilities for handicapped accessibility; add 
campground services such as dump stations, toilets, shelters, 
water systems, boat faciUties, shade tree irrigation, site 
control and identification, and facilities for volunteer hosts; 
provide structure stabilization of historic buildings, erosion 
control; expand signing and interpretive and public contact 
facilities; acquisition or easement of critical inholdings and 
adjoining properties which threaten parks; and expansion 
for increased public demands for campgrounds, etc. 

The committee's reasons for its recommendation 

It is vital to not only stop the degradation of our parks 
but to do it as quickly as possible. This will rescue priceless 



resources from certain obliteration and will do it at less cost 
today than later. Further degradation and inflation only add 
to the price. The price will be higher and there will be less 
to save. 

Funding at this level will be a sound investment in 
Montana's tourism industry. It will have very positive 
economic benefits to local communities and main street 
businesses throughout the state. The five year schedule 
will make it possible to synchronize the improvements in 
the Park System with the state tourism initiative. Reducing 
the funding and stretching the program out to ten years is 
too long to wait to develop the partnerships which park 
improvements will stimulate. 

The five year plan will also add and improve facilities 
more quickly, which will increase the public's user 
satisfaction and willmgness to pay to use, thus augmenting 
the earning potential of park fees. 

Funding at the recommended "ACCELERATED 
PARK IMPROVEMENT" level will provide Montanans 
with the substantial visible improvements which they have 
told the committee they want to see in their parks to 
increase their quality of life. Piecemealing or phasing 
makes results less apparent and adds to the frustration of 
people who have been complaining about the present 
situation for years already. 

New Funding Sources 

The committee is aware that finding additional funding 
for parks will be a difficult matter for the Governor and the 
Legislature. It felt that it would be best to suggest a broad 
spectrum of options which it considers the most appropriate 
of the many it considered. The committee further suggests 
that a healthy park system draws upon a rational mix of 
appropriate funding sources rather than relying on a single 
source of funding. 

The committee agreed to include options which the 
majority favored even though one or more members did 
not. This resulted in a list of 16 revenue categories. Three 
of these, the General Fund, Coal Tax and User Fees are 
unanimous committee recommendations. The list does not 
include many other revenue sources which a majority of the 
conunittee did not favor for a variety of reasons. 

From this Ust, or other sources it may prefer, Montana ' s 
political leadership may select those that it considers viable 
and adequate. 



35 



The committee also strongly recommends that rigid 
earmarking of funds be avoided, particularly where it might 
unnecessarily limit or encumber the flexibility and 
prerogatives necessary for responsive management. 

In developing its recommendations the committee 
first defined the criteria by which it would judge all of the 
possibiUties which were suggested by the public or surfaced 
in literature review and its own deliberations. 

Prioritized Criteria for Evaluating Funding Options: 

1. Preferred new funding sources should not create 
obligations or earmarking which diverts the department 
from, or is in conflict with, the park mission. 

2. Recommended new funding sources should not 
carry accounting responsibilities and complexities which 
are beyond the management scope and capacity of 
department, but should contribute to a planned and balanced 
parks program. 

3. The recommended funding options should have 
broad constituency support. 

4. Funding sources which can be expected to provide 
long-term benefits, are stable and predictable, are preferred. 

5. Funding sources which are the least costly and 
simplest to manage and which provide a revenue source 
large enough to assure a high "benefits to the public" vs. 
"cost to administer" ratio are preferred. 

6. Funding sources which can be shown to have a 
logical tie to the purpose for which they will be spent are 
preferred. 

7. Activity-related user fees should provide benefits 
to those who paid the fees. 

8. Funding which permits or instills an expression of 
pride and confidence in the Park System and which can be 
used to enhance the aesthetic value of the system is preferred. 

9. Given the demands on traditional funding sources, 
the committee will also give priority consideration to new, 
innovative, and creative funding options. 

10. Because the public recognizes that there are 
urgent needs in parks and is rightly impatient to have them 
addressed, funding sources which will provide immediate 
budget relief to provide quick and visible improvements 
are also needed. 



Recommended Funding Sources: 

These are discussed in detail in the "Revenue Estimates 
and Discussion of Recommended Options" section which 
follows. Some sources include important qualifiers which 
are identified in the discussion. 

* Unanimous committee recommendations 

Rental Car Fees 
♦General Fund, restore 
*Coal Tax, increase parks share 

Statewide Mil Levy 

New $.01 Gas Tax 

Big Sky Dividend 

Sales Tax 

Recreational Equipment Tax 
♦User Fees 

Restaurant Tax 
RV Sticker 

Nonresident Boat Fees 

Existing Park Roads Maintenance 
Law Amendment 

Motor Vehicle Taxes 

Small Boat Fees 

Federal Matching Funds 

The committee also considered and rejected: 

• Liquor taxes 

• Gambling taxes 

• Tobacco taxes 

• Bed taxes 

• Corridor sales taxes — assessed only in the major 
travel area between Glacier and Yellowstone 
National Parks 

• Land conversion taxes — assessments made 
when undeveloped land is developed for any 
nonagricultural purpose 

• Land transfer taxes — assessed any time title to 
real property is transferred 

• Nonresident landowner taxes — additional 
assessments on owners of property in Montana 
but whose primary residence is outside of Montana 

• Fishing and hunting license fees — adding 
new fees earmarked for parks or allocating a 
portion of existing fees to parks 

The committee felt that these did not meet enough of 
the criteria to be appropriate of viable sources of parks 
funding. 



36 



Revenue Estimates and Discussion of the Recommended 
Options 



2) Restore the General Fund support to its 1985 
level of $624,000. 



Rental Car Fees 

Montana has about 15 firms with about 67 outlets in 
the short-term car rental business. From 80% to almost 
100% of their gross aimual earnings comes from non- 
resident rentals. They gross about $12 million in annual 
nonresident earnings. 

A 4% tax on nonresident business is estimated to earn 
about $480,000 annually. 

General Fund 



The public at large believes that the State Park 
System is supported by the state General Fund and wants it 
to continue. The coirmiittee believes that the park system 
should be funded from a variety of sources and feels 
imanimously that there are sound reasons to include the 
state General Fund in that mix. 

Park benefits go far beyond those who visit. Montana's 
quality of life depends upon the preservation of our cultural 
and natural heritage and the basic tax system should support 
it. State parks are a legitimate part of Montana's social and 
material infrastructure. The system is worthy of general 
taxation support by virtue of the same rationale as are 
schools and libraries. 

Montana is the only state except for Florida and 
Missouri which does not use its General Fund in support of 
state parks. Rorida and Missouri directly earmark a portion 
of their general sales tax to parks, instead. 

The committee suggests the following formulae as 
options for returning General Fimd support to state parks: 

1) Match user fees on a fixed ratio. For example, at 
1 : 1 the General Fund share would be about $850,000 to 
$950,000 per year in the coming biennium. 

User fees could support user services and the General 
Fund could provide for park resource protection and 
infrastructure development and maintenance. 

The matching formula would provide park managers 
an additional incentive to optimize fee earnings. 



3) Use General Funds for bringing the present system 
up to standard in the capital program. It could be withdrawn 
when this is accomplished and user fees or other funding 
sources are available to assure life cycle maintenance of 
facilities. Of the $4 million /year proposal, 1/4 to 1/2 could 
be used for matching federal funds and to address resource 
protection and rehabilitation. 

4) The Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) which 
can address Montana's needs in the areas of disadvantaged 
and troubled youth, job training for teens and young adults, 
as well as address park and conservation projects is worthy 
of General Fund support for at least its administrative costs. 



'iti 









^kA <>-^J ^4f Pill 



■ i^^'k 




37 



Coal tax 

Continued use of the coal tax is consistent with the 
legislature's original intent that the extraction of one 
nonrenewable resource, coal, be used to protect and 
develop another nonrenewable resource, parks. 

1.27% of all mine mouth coal tax collections is 
deposited in a trust account from which only the interest can 
be spent for parks purposes. 

In the year ending June 30,1 990 the total tax collections 
equaled $68,501 ,496. The parks share of this was $869,969. 
Due to a reduction in the tax in coming years, the tax 
proceeds will drop to about $40,000,000 per year with the 
parks share falling to about $508,000. This will mean that 
the trust will grow more slowly than in the past. 

Account status June 30, 1990: 

Corpus balance (parks 2/3) $12,1 12,778 
Tax deposits, previous 12 mos. $869,969 
Interest, available to parks $1,228,170 

The history of the parks coal tax trust is one of erosion. 
It began at 2.5% but was reduced to 1 .27% with a splitting 
off of 1/3 of the account to the Arts Council for cultural 
projects. The parks share became smaller again when 1 2% 
was allocated to the Department of Highways until 1 993. It 
has also suffered the ravages of falling interest earnings, a 
temporary capping, and the scheduled reduction of the tax 
rate from 30% to 15% which is now being phased in. 



ORIGINAL ALLOCATION 




50% Distributed 
to Agencies 



2.5% State 
Park Trust 



50% Constitutional Trust 



The committee strongly supports both the concept of 
using severance taxes to support parks and increasing the 
funding from this source. It also agrees with the use of Coal 
Tax for arts and cultural projects and does not want the 
funding formula for these purposes diminished in any way. 
It unanimously suggests the following options for 
accomplishing this: 

1) From the 12% now going to highways, direct that 
3% be used for park connecting and interior roads, and 
from the same temporary highway account take an 
additional 1 .23% to restore the parks Coal Tax Trust to the 
original 2.5%. 

Present tax share @ 1.27% $869,969 annually 
New tax share @ 2.5% $1,712,537 annually 
Added interest first full year @ 10% $84,000 new 
interest available for appropriation annually 

EXISTING ALLOCATION 



50% Constitutional Trust 




38% Distributed 
to Agencies 



1.27% State 
Park Trust 



PROPOSED FOR 1991 



50% Constitutional Trust 



38 



7.7% 
Highways 

3% 

Parks , 

and 

Connecting 

Roads 




36.17% 
Distributed 
to Agencies 



2.5% 
State Parks 



63% Cultural 



2) When the temporary 12% allocation now going 
for highway rebuilding sunsets in 1993, earmark at least 
3% for park purposes including the authority to use it in 
partnership with counties and others for park connecting 
roads. This would bring the total allocated for parks and 
park roads to 5.5% of the coal tax. 

PROPOSED FOR 1993 



50% Constitutional Trust 



5.5% 

Parks 

and 

Connecting 

Roads 




.63% 
Cultural 



43.87% Distributed 
to Agencies 



Present tax share @ 1.27% $869,969 annually 
New tax share @ 5.5% $3,767,582 annually 
Added interest first fiill year @ 10% $290,000 
new interest available for appropriation annually 

3) In the absence of any increase, the committee 
strongly urges that the parks Coal Tax Trust be protected 
from any further erosion. The committee wants to go on 
record as supporting the share now going to the Arts 
Council for cultural projects. 



Statewide Mil Levy 

This would be another source of general taxation 
support. It might be preferred to allocating funds from the 
existing General Fund sources. 

The 1988 earnings from the 161 mils was $1 1,640,744. 
On a statewide average one mil was worth $72,300. 

( The 1988 assessments were: University system, 6 mils; 
Agriculture and Livestock, 75 mils; and all others, 80 mils.) 

New $.01 Gas Tax 



The state gasoline tax is 20 cents per gallon. In the year 
ending June 30, 1990, this totaled $87,832,742 less 
$3,857,698 in refunds, or $83,975,044. 

The committee recommends adding a one cent tax 
which would generate about $4.2 million per year. 

This new revenue should be used for upgrading roads 
leading from the interstate and primary highways to state 
parks and for constructing, improving, and maintaining 
interior park roads. 

Safe and reliable roads leading to and within parks is 
an essential need of park users. Paved highways are needed 
for high-use parks, particularly those serving nonresident 
travelers. People will not venture onto unpaved connecting 
roads with expensive equipment. Tourists cannot be 
expected to find their way to parks on roads that are not well 
marked. 

The Park System is not funded to maintain its existing 
interior road system to a gravel standard much less pave 
roads or assume the responsibility for connecting roads 
leading from the interstate and primary highways. 



Counties caimot afford to make these roads a priority 
unless there is sufficient resident use to justify it, which is 
most often not the case. This increase would provide relief 
for counties which are unfairly burdened in these instances. 

Tourism is the major growth industry in Montana. 
Good roads are a vital part of making Montana's attractions 
available to our visitors thus encouraging them to stay 
longer in our state. 



39 



Big Sky Dividend 

Governor Stephens has proposed capping the 
constitutional trust and using the tax proceeds, instead, 
through local governments for immediate infrastructure 
repairs throughout the state. The program is expected to 
generate about $20 million per year. 

The committee recommends that IF the legislature 
adopts the Big Sky Dividend program, it and the Governor 
add the State Park System to it as a top priority. State parks 
have infrastructure needs throughout the state. A healthy 
State Park System would improve our citizens' quality of 
life, preserve our priceless legacy for coming generations, 
and contribute substantially more to the state's and local 
community's economies. 

The public considers state parks as part of the social 
infrastructure and as important as roads and bridges. 

Sales Tax 



The committee recommends that IF a sales tax is 
enacted, a portion should be earmarked for state parks, or 
appropriations be made to parks from an augmented general 
fund. 

The committee believes that this is an appropriate use 
of this potential new revenue source for reasons already 
cited in the previous general fund and statewide mil levy 
discussions. 

Recreational Equipment Tax 

The committee recommends that outdoor recreational 
equipment such as camping gear, footwear and clothing, 
film and developing, nonmotorized boats, rafts and personal 
recreational floating equipment, trail bikes and three 
wheelers, snow skis, accessories and clothing, water skis 
and accessories, jet skis, hang gliders, and others which a 
more complete study might identify, be assessed a 4% tax 
at time of sale with the proceeds earmarked for state parks. 

The committee recommends excluding equipment 
already subject to a similar tax, such as fishing equipment, 
firearms, and ammunition. 

The Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research 
has rough preliminary survey information which indicates 
that nonresidents spend about $73 million annually in 
Montana, and residents spent $68 million, a total of about 



$141 million on these items. 

A 4% tax at time of retail sale would yield about $5.6 
million annually. 

The committee understands that more study would be 
needed to more specifically define what equipment should 
actually be subject to the tax and how much revenue it 
would generate. Preliminary analysis suggests, however, 
that people who own such equipment benefit from state 
parks and are not now supporting their recreation in the way 
hunters and fishers have supported their recreation very 
successfully for decades. 

User Fees 



1) The committee unanimously recommends that all 
users pay an equitable fee. It found the present level of fees 
is about right considering the existing level of facilities and 
services and in comparison with similar parks in neighboring 
states. 

2) To assure fairness to users and to optimize collection 
of fees under the existing system, the department reports 
that it will take an additional $90,000 and 3.5 FTEs, or 7 
seasonal positions. 

It is estimated that this will generate an additional 
$200,000 per year through better fee compliance (currently 
spend $72,000 to collect $300,000). 

The committee recommends that this be done and has 
covered this need in its funding recommendations. 

3) The committee further recommends that the annual 
camping pass be reinstated, at an appropriate market price, 
for the convenience of campers. 

4) Passes or discounts which are provided in parks, 
particularly those mandated by the legislature, should be 
rebated to parks by the General Fund or other appropriate 
account. It is our recommendation that social welfare 
programs, not parks, provide any subsidy for the truly 
needy. 

5) The committee feels that the existing Golden Years 
Passes (for resident Montanans 62 years and older) should 
be honored but no new ones should be issued. It recommends 
that the department consider this as it decides whether to 
appeal the recent district court summary judgement which 
requires that existing passes be honored. 



40 



6) The committee urges the department to complete 
its land classification review and make the appropriate 
adjustments between parks and fishing access to remove 
confusion about fees. 

There is confusion in the public about the difference 
between fishing access where fees are not charged and park 
system sites where fees are charged. Indeed, in many cases 
there is no difference in the facilities and services provided. 
Some fishing accesses, like parks appear to serve multiple 
users, not just fishermen, and seem to suffer from similar 
problems of lack of appropriate facilities and adequate 
maintenance. Because of the public's change of their use, 
some fishing access sites ought to be part of the State Park 
System and users should be charged appropriately for 
facilities and service. 

Restaurant Tax 



Eating places in Montana grossed $378,586,000 
according to the 1987 Census of Retail Trade. A 4% tax 
earmarked for parks would yield over $ 1 5 million armually . 

While data cannot distinguish between restaurant 
customers associated with recreation and business, another 
survey done by the Institute for Recreation and Tourism 
Research seems to show that almost half is attributable to 
nonresidents in Montana. 

RV Sticker 

The Montana Good Sam Club estimates that there are 
35,000 recreational vehicles owned by resident Montanans. 
A fee of $3.50 would earn about $122,500. 

Recreational vehicle users represent a substantial 
proportion of park customers. They also require special 
services not needed by picnickers or tent campers, for 
example. 

The committee recommends the creation of a $3.50 
Annual Recreation Vehicle sticker which would be required 
for all RVs not now specially assessed a similar fee (such 
motor homes, travel trailers, 5th wheels, pick-up campers, 
and tent trailers) and earmark the revenue for state parks for 
RV services and facilities. 



Nonresident Boat Fees 

The committee recommends extending the present 
resident boat registration laws to certain nonresident boaters 
who use Montana waters. 

Montana honors a nationwide reciprocity law which 
allows boats from other states with a federally approved 
numbering system to use Montana waters for up to 90 days 
without a Montana registration number. Counties "may" 
sell use sticker to other non resident boaters but none do 
because it is not cost-effective. 

Canadians are not subject to reciprocity or to 
registration and are using Montana waters in ever greater 
numbers, particularly in the Rathead, without cost. 

Neither the Department of Revenue nor the 
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have records from 
which to make revenue estimates. In October 1 990, too late 
for inclusion in this report, the Institute for Tourism and 
Recreation Research expects to have survey results which 
will be useful in estimating boat numbers. 




41 



Existing Park Roads Maintenance 
Law Amendment 

Note: This recommendation will not generate additional 
funding but its implementation will free for other purposes 
park funds now going to road maintenance. 

There exists permissive, but not mandatory, authority 
for the Department of Highways to provide certain 
connecting roads to state parks. 

23-1-104. Connecting roads. The department of highways 
MAY (emphasis added) construct, improve, and maintain, 
with state highway funds, connecting roads between 
existing state highways and state parks. Each road shall 
not exceed a total often miles. 

The committee recommends that this law be amended 
to include interior park roads as well as connecting roads 
and to make this a mandatory responsibility of the 
Department of Highways using highway gas taxes. 
Provisions should be made for assisting counties with roads 
which provide access to heavily used parks. This would be 
a very cost-effective parmership arrangement. 

Motor Vehicle Taxes 



There are 1,098,000 motor vehicles registered in 
Montana. A $0.50 fee on all registrations would generate 
over $500,000 annually. 

Since most state park users arrive by vehicle, and 
because a substantial amount of the facility and maintenance 
costs are associated with vehicles, this would be an 
appropriate way to fund parks. 

Small Boat Fees 



The committee recommends that registration fees be 
created for canoes, rafts and draft boats under 1 2 feet long, 
for crafts owned by both residents and nonresidents. 

Neither the Department of Revenue nor the 
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have records from 
which to make revenue estimates. In October 1 990, too late 
for inclusion in this report, the Institute for Tourism and 
Recreation Research expects to have survey results which 
will be useful in estimating boat numbers. 



Federal Matching Funds 

The committee urges the department to capitalize on 
all available sources of federal funds. It is aware of the 
following sources: 

Land and Water Conservation Fund 

Dingle Johnson Fisheries and Boating Funds 

Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers 

PL 89 72 Funds 

Federal Highway Administration Lake Access Funds 

The committee is also aware that these funds all 
require state matching of up to 50%. Its intent is that any 
new funding made available to parks be appropriately split 
to optimize the use of federal funds. 







42 



PARTNERSHIPS 



Initial committee discussions recognized the 
tremendous potential of partnership strategies. Each 
committee member could reference, or was personally 
involved in, one or more success stories with parks relevance. 

Effective partnerships provide a mechanism for 
maximizing limited resources of individual agencies or 
entities and for improving the quality of the end product 
resulting in a net benefit to the public. 

The following realities create the need for pursuing 
partnership strategies at the highest level among public 
land managers: interlocking land control patterns; 
overlapping legal authorities; need for pooling limited 
special skills; complimenting missions and charters; all for 
a common customer — the taxpayer. Partnerships not only 
offer the best opportunity to maximize effectiveness but 
also demonstrate to today's more sophisticated and 
knowledgeable public that their public servants are up to 
the challenge of working for the common good and pooling 
of resources. 

The public is most bothered by waste of resources and 
money and by needless duplication of effort. The public is 
cynical about the government's ability to make effective 
use of scarce taxpayers' dollars. Partnerships attack the 
problem on both fronts in highly visible ways. 

We can no longer afford the traditional ways of doing 
business where each entity jealously guards its own turf. 
All agencies of government today are short of funds and 
manpower. To squander limited resources on separate 
discrete and inadequate efforts is unacceptable. 

The committee sees opportunity for expanding the 
use of partnerships in two broad areas: 1) within the 
Governor's administration, such as between tourism and 
parks, and; 2) outside of state government, such as with the 
federal and local agencies and the private sector, where the 
Governor and his administrative leadership is needed. 



The committee recommends the following actions: 

State Administration Level 

1) Montana must have an overall master strategy for 
managing all of its natural, cultural, and recreational 
resources. It should be developed under the leadership of 
the Governor and involve the directors of all of Montana's 
public land managing agencies. 

Interagency cooperation and other partnership 
possibilities maximize the public benefits of a unified 
approach to outdoor recreational resource management in 
Montana. 

By having a master strategy it is possible to mobilize 
support for the implementation of individual initiatives, 
particularly budget requests. 

This is particularly important given the Governor's 
stated priority and initiative to improve the state's economy 
through enhancement of its tourism potential. 

2) We respectfully, but strongly urge, that the Governor 
make the State Park System a top priority in his 
administration and begin a tradition which will be carried 
forward into future administrations because the 
demonstrated value in doing so will have been proven. 

3) We recommend that the Governor convene his 
cabinet officers and other state officials to identify new 
state level partnerships to increase the utilization of parks 
for the social and economic well-being of Montanans. 



43 



Obvious participants include: 

a) the Department of Commerce 

for promotional and private sector tourism ties; 

b) the Department of Highways 

for improved signage, maps, and park roads; 

c) The Department of Natural Resources and 

Conservation and the Department of State Lands 
to assure that appropriate resources under their 
administration are effectively linked with parks; 

d) The Historical Society 

to share with Fish, Wildlife and Parks 
expertise in the preservation, 
management, interpretation, and promotion 
of historic sites; 

e) The OfTice of Public Instruction 

to use unique parks qualities to the best 
teaching advantage; 

f) The Department of Family Services, 
The Department of Social and 

Rehabilitation Services, 
the Department of Labor and Industry, 
the Department of Justice, and 
the Department of Institutions 

to use our park and human resources 

more effectively in symbiotic 

relationships through the Montana 

Conservation Corps. 




4) Following the development of the Administration's 
strategy, we suggest that the Governor convene a Partnership 
Forum to develop and share future cooperative efforts 
drawing from all sectors of Montana society to the benefit 
of all taxpayers. 

These partnerships should involve appropriate 
agencies of the executive branch and include local and 
federal agencies, the legislature, individual private citizens, 
not for profit organizations, and other private groups. 

Only at the Governor's level can a "center of gravity" 
or "focal point" be established to marshal, coalesce, and 
make more effective the current individual efforts. 

5) The committee supports the Governor's Natural 
Resource Council which meets regularly to discuss common 
land management concerns. It consists of the Governor, the 
Regional Director of the US Forest Service and the BLM 
State Director. We recommend expending the membership 
and scope of that forum. 

We suggest adding the Superintendent of Glacier or 
Yellowstone national parks, possibly on a permanent 
revolving basis. Consideration should also be given to 
adding other federal land managing agencies such as the 
US Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, 
and the US Fish and Wildlife Service on an "as needed," 
isssue by issue basis. 

This group, through the Governor's leadership, 
could be very effective in developing high-level statewide 
priorities, and carrying out comprehensive state/federal 
initiatives in recreational management, travel promotion 
and public information, for example, as well as continuing 
to address the traditional land management issues 
considered by the council. 

6) To marshal the information of diverse agencies to 
further take advantage of the potential symbiosis, the 
present Geographical Information System should be 
augmented to include park resources data throughout 
the state. 



44 



Department of Fish, Wildlife and 
Parks Level 

The committee was impressed and frequently surprised 
by the number and scope of partnership arrangements 
being employed throughout the State Park System. These 
came to our attention through discussions with staff, during 
park visits, and public meetings. It was apparent that 
individual staff initiative and innovation, or outside interest, 
was most often responsible for these successes. These 
efforts appeared to be unique and not often shared with 
others. We found no department policies (except at the 
Great Falls Headquarters) which mandated, prescribed, 
encouraged, or budgeted for their use. Yet, they are being 
used to considerable advantage. 

We also found that the partnership strategy has far 
more potential. 

The committee recommends that: 

7) The department develop incentives to encourage 
managers to use partnership strategies. This should be 
done with the participation of field managers to be most 
effective. Perhaps a portion of field operating budgets 
could be allocated on a one for one matching of partnership 
assistance. Awards for outstanding managers and their 
partners might be announced at an armual Partnership 
Awards function. 

8) Staff be assigned to document and share the 
prescriptions for successful partnerships throughout the 
system so that each new manager and potential partner does 
not have to start from the begirming to learn the necessary 
laws, rules, procedures, and effective techniques. 

9) Staff and budget should also be devoted to outreach 
to other states, agencies, and the private sector to keep 
abreast of the partnership phenomenon which is sweeping 
the country and becoming more sophisticated at an 
accelerating rate. 

10) The department should take the lead in advancing 
the partnership initiative among a broad spectrum of entities 
both inside and outside govenunent. The state 's best experts 
in this field should be, and are, in the department. 
Unfortunately, presently staff time and funding is not 
available for such an initiative. The committee urges that 
it be considered when budget relief is realized. 



The committee has developed an extensive list of 
partnership possibilities which are included in the Appendix. 
They include suggestions for private individuals, groups, 
businesses, and industry; and public agencies at the local, 
state, and federal levels. It has also identified a number of 
ways these partners could be used to raise money, promote, 
acquire, develop, and maintain parks. 

It is not only the resources of the State Park System 
which are in jeopardy. Partnerships also have the potential 
to reach out to all levels of government, historical societies, 
and others to address the needs of the broader spectrum of 
cultural and natural resources. This would meet a need 
pointed out to the committee throughout the state and at the 
same time relieve the pressure for the State Park System to 
accept inappropriate management responsibilities because 
present alternatives are limited. 



11) The committee recognizes the long-term value of 
establishing a private foundation to help support parks. It 
could raise money and accept bequeaths and endowments; 
be a park advocate; provide technical assistance; involve 
prominent, successful persons in park issues; and provide 
other services which it might choose. 

This has been highly successful in virtually every 
worthy public endeavor including park systems. But, to be 
successful it must be professionally staffed and be adequately 
funded from the outset. Even under optimum conditions it 
would take at least a year to establish. The committee 
realizes that Montana's low population will make the task 
more difficult. For this reason it does not consider the 
establishing of a foundation to be among the early solutions 
to the p£U"ks problem. 

It does suggest, however, that the department look for 
assistance in establishing a foundation. It might research 
the grants field for help or consider hiring consultant help 
if appropriate. 

12) Volimteers can provide immediate and substantial 
benefits to parks. In fact, examples of volunterism already 
exist throughout the system. However, except for the Great 
Falls Headquarters, there is no organized and staffed 
program which includes formal recruitment, job 
descriptions, training, uniforms, incentives and rewards, 
and the other amenities necessary to truly capitalize on the 
great potential of volunteerism. 



45 



The committee recommends that the department staff 
fund and develop a statewide volunteer program. It is the 
committee's intent that this be included if the department 
receives funding at either the "Park improvement" or its 
recommended "Accelerated park improvement" funding 
levels. 

The campground host program now being used in 
some parks could be increased substantially if parks provided 
site amenities such as level pads, water, sewer, and electrical 
services which would make them attractive and feasible for 
volunteers. Fewer than five parks now offer these basic 
services. The committee urges the department to consider 
their installation a high priority in the capital improvements 
budget which it has recommended. 



"Model"or "Destination" Parl( 
Demonstration Projects 

13) We recommend consideration of two or more 
Model Parks projects to demonstrate the value of using 
partnerships to create true park destinations for both 
Montanans and tourists. 

The committee cautions that the models proposed are 
chosen because they represent immediate and exceptional 
existing partnership opportunities. They should be 
encouraged before these opportunities are lost. They 
should not be viewed as, or implemented to avoid long- 
range orderly planning in the park system. 

This concept has the potential to marshal the 
appropriate interests, expertise, and resources to capitalize 
on the tourism, educational, recreational, and legacy values 
of the State Park System. 

The committee offers four examples of projects which 
would demonstrate a variety of partnership combinations 
using existing parks widely different in their present 
development and which are spread geographically 
throughout the state. 

A common feature of all is their potential to capitalize 
on tourism, the industry with the major growth potential in 
Montana. 










Agriculture, mining, and timber, while basic and 
important, have reached plateaus. When we view the high 
quality of Montana's tourism resources compared to other 
states and contrast that with the investment in those resources 
it is obvious that we have been very derelict in not developing 
and promoting them better. If we are to maximize the 
economic benefit to the state we must build a network of 
quality tourist attractions. 

We must get away from the impression that Montana is 
only a pit stop between Glacier and Yellowstone Parks. 

The committee is particularly strong in its belief in 
the importance of partnerships in improving the quality of 
our parks. 

The following four examples will illustrate the 
committee's concepts. They demonstrate geographical 
distribution and diversity, all levels of development, and a 
variety of park themes. They all have two qualities in 



46 



common: they can coalesce a broad spectrum of partnership 
interests; and they have great tourism potential. 

The committee recommends that the department study 
these and others which it might identify, for their viability. 
The committee urges that the best of these projects be 
included in the Governor's proposal to the 1991 Legislature. 

"Chain of Lakes" Northwestern, new park, 

no development . . . 

4000 acres recently donated by Champion 
International Corporation on McGregor; Upper, Middle, 
and Lower Thompson; Loon; Horseshoe. 

Partners: Champion International, US Forest 
Serx'ice, Plum Creek for potential land trades; all publics 
for planning; private entrepreneurs, service clubs and 
volunteers, chambers of commerce for development and 
management; 

A 'TIathead Lake" destination park incorporating 
West Shore, Big Arm, Elmo, Finley Point, Yellow Bay, 
Wayfarers Parks. Located in Northwestern Montana, these 
parks have long been established and developed but are 
worn out. They are now individually but inadequately 
managed and promoted . . . 

Partners: the SalishlKootenia Tribe, U of M 
Biological Station at Yellow Bay , Department ofHighways, 
cities of Poison, Big Fork, and Kalispell, Chambers of 
Commerce, Historical Societies, Flathead and Lake 
Counties, Glacier National Park, Glacier Country Tourism 
Council, Department of Natural Resources, Department of 
Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Department of Commerce, and 
the US Forest Service; 

Upgrade facilities and management to create a regional 
tourism magnet through common promotion, shared 
administrative and maintenance effort, and development of 
innovative and high quality attractions and accommodations. 

Makoshika. Eastern, long established but primitive, 
great potential but little use because of lack of facilities and 
promotion . . . 

Partners: the Custer Country Tourism Council, City 
of Glendive, Dawson County, Glendive Chamber of 
Commerce, Historical Societies, Friends of Makoshika, 
BLM, to name only a few. 



Canyon Ferry. West Central, Tremendous 
immediate potential to increase use, opportunities, and 
revenue, established but new long-range planning 
underway . . . 

It has the best potential for private investment and an 
immediate opportunity for significant symbiosis between 
the federal and state governments and the private sector. 

Partnerships involving the Bureau of Reclamation, 
The Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, Lewis 
and Clark County, the Canyon Ferry Recreation 
Association, Broadwater County, Helena and Townsend 
Chambers of Commerce, concessionaires, and adjacent 
private businesses, and other recreation and sporting groups. 

Giant Springs. Central, well-established, well- 
developed but still evolving and growing, a first-class park 
with more opportunities immediately at hand . . . 

New department headquarters, new fish hatchery, 
highly developed, high quality park facilities already in 
place. More undeveloped land acquired through trade and 
donation, new USPS Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center 
being designed. 

Strong partnership groups in place: Giant Springs 
Heritage State Park Commission, Great Falls Chamber of 
Commerce, Montana Power Company, Portage Chapter 
of Lewis and Clark Trail Foundation, USPS. Almost 100 
dedicated, well organized and managed volunteers. 

Within high population area, nationally known, 
national historic site, and could be a model river front and 
historic park development. 




'A"i 




THE MONTANA CONSERVATION CORPS 



The introduction to this chapter of the report is taken from a letter written by Chairman Ed Zaidlicz to the 
Opinion Editor and which appeared on the Editorial Page of the Billings Gazette, July 1, 1990. 



"TWO NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES IN JEOPARDY" 

In June the State Park Futures Committee inspected the Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. 
Our 16 public meetings and other state park visitations confirmed that Montana had a problem. 
However, one feature of the Caverns proved noteworthy — it was the enduring quality of the work 
the Civilian Conservation Corps had done over a half century ago. The craftsmanship and 
functional value of their legacy had to be applauded. 

Montana's last legislature, recognizing these historic achievements, wisely passed a bill 
creating a Montana Conservation Corps. Our committee was enthused about the work MCC could 
perform to correct many of the physical problems our state parks now face. 

The MCC funding needs for 1990, to get the program started, amounted to $225,881. Of 
this $69,000 had to be raised from new first year entrance fees to our State Parks. The anticipated 
level of receipts was not realized and MCC was aborted. "For want of a nail a war was lost." In 
reviewing supporting statistics to justify MCC's creation, I found "that for each public dollar 
invested we could expect a $ 1 .25 to $ 1 .93 return." Our committee can confirm that an enormous 
backlog of badly needed conservation work exists just to protect Montana's priceless state parks. 

The principle goal of MCC was "to provide a work experience program for unemployed or 
economically disadvantaged youth and adults" — a goal highly laudable and deserving of our 
early and enthusiastic support. However, in recent years I have been aware of another 
nonrenewable resource threat that Montanans must address beside state parks, and that is our 
emotionally disadvantaged youth. 

I have witnessed (Billings area) professionals like Diane Barz, Harold Hanser, Ted Lechne, 
and Richard Kerstein agonize over their lack of options to save many of our disadvantaged youth 
from being drawn into the vortex of the criminal justice system. 

Sadly, our social system requires heavy dollar investment in youth, that have become court 
statistics, by placing them in costly environments that often fail to return these troubled children 
to a full productive role in our society. Many of these youth are confused and teetering on the line 
between achieving their birthright as productive citizens and the abyss that ultimately develops 
life-long inhabitants of institutions, which further sap our economic strength. We can't build 
enough institutions to warehouse all these future unfortunates, if current trends prove accurate. 

Continued page 49 . 



48 



Our real hope is in preventive action to help redirect these children before they enter the 
"Justice continuum." Our educational community and the workers in the Department of Family 
Services are knowledgeable and aware of many of these young people who can be saved with timely 
action. The MCC is a cost-effective option that provides work experience to leam useful skills, to 
enjoy the therapy of productive physical labor in our great outdoors, to develop discipline and self 
esteem — all without the imprinted stigma of being "institutionalized." 

If our social conscience is unwilling to accept this current, burgeoning evidence of impending 
catastrophe, perhaps hard monetary statistics may better focus on the inadequacies of our efforts. 

Currently for children 1 6 to 18 years of age we pay 
per child/year: 

$12,000 $25,000 ??? 

to to and 

$4,000 $18,000 $42,000 $273,000 $30,000 growing 

^m Is ^m Is ^B IS 

UUU mu^ UUH W^H Unu UHH 



Family 


Group 


Treatment- 


Psychiatric 


Pine Hills 


Deer 


Foster 


Homes 


Residential 


Care 


& 


Lodge 


Care 








Mountain 
View 





In contrast the 1990 MCC program budgeted $225,88 1 for 70 corps members (3 adult crews — 
4 summer youth crews). I know there are at least 375 kids now in Foster Care between the ages of 
16 and 18 that could be considered for this alternative chance. 

Too many of our scarce tax dollars are now directed toward unsuccessful "after the fact" action. 
We should shift emphasis to prevention and early lifestyle redirection to achieve long-term benefits 
and thus relieve our more fortunate children of some of the future tax burden our profligate and 
ill-advised actions have already levied on them. 

Faced with a degeneration of a priceless legacy involving our state parks and our troubled 
youth, I believe we can ameliorate both problems by early reactivation of our dormant MCC 
program. The magic formula the 3 C's devised 50 years ago is still valid and most applicable. Must 
we continue to repeat the expedient but failed practices while we avoid the acceptance of a certain 
future catastrophe? 






Ed Zaidlicz 



In addition to the benefits mentioned in Chairman 
Zaidlicz's letter, there are others the committee feels are 
worthy of mention. 

Timely action would provide immediate, obvious and 
low-cost improvements in our parks. This would keep the 
momentum of current public interest and provide early 
demonstration of concrete action. 

The improvements which MCC could provide include 



the type that would enhance tourism related facilities and 
fee collections thus returning early monetary benefits. 

The committee recommends that the MCC Program 
be funded and implemented as soon as possible. The 
funding level recommended by the committee includes it, 
as mentioned in the "funding" section of these 
recommendations, the committee sees solid justification 
for allocating general fund monies to support the 
administration of the program. 



49 



THE 1990 MONTANA HISTORIC 
SITES STUDY COMMISSION 



The 1 990 Montana Historic Sites Study Commission 
was created by the Montana Historical Society to 
make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, 
state agencies, and others about the future management 
of historic and prehistoric sites. 



The executive summary of their report will be 
distributed with a copy of this report. A copy of the 
complete report will be available from the Historical 
Society and will be included in the Appendix of this 
document. 



The committee was created after the 1989 
Legislative Session which considered special legislation 
to address a broad range of concerns for the protection 
and utilization of these irreplaceable resources. The 
Legislative committees concluded that the Historical 
Society already had the necessary authority and funding 
without new legislation and agreed that a study was 
warranted. 

The State Park Futures Committee appreciates the 
work of the 1990 Montana Historic Sites Study 
Commission and the Historical Society. Their detailed 
study of technical matters which are beyond the expertise 
of our committee gives appropriate special attention to 
our priceless cultural heritage. 



It should be noted that the historic sites study may 
make recommendations which are beyond the capabilities 
of the funding recommendations of the State Park Futures 
Committee. For example, we have provided for only one 
cultural resources specialist and only modest increases for 
inventories and stabilization which are in line with the 
approach we have taken in funding the park system as a 
whole. We acknowledge the need for more and would 
welcome augmentation of funding for cultural purposes if 
it is not at the expense of the balanced system-wide program 
which we have developed. 



.Mrt!k!lSuii"" "c,,. 







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50 



CONCLUSION 



The committee believes that this report accurately 
reflects the current condition of ourparks, their management, 
and their needs ... as well as a majority of the Montanans 
who took part in our review. 

The committee's preferred funding alternative rests 
on a time frame of 5 years. We believe this to be most cost- 
effective in the long term. Benefits that can flow from early 
networking with Montana's current tourism effort, while 
difficult to calculate, also could be significant and an 
additional spur to the economic picture. 

The heightened awareness of the general public to 
environmental issues, the exceptional quality of our state's 
natural resources, and the need to protect their leisure time 
playgrounds suggests the time is most opportune to marshal 
citizen participation to save our heritage. 

In 1986 the public was stimulated by Governor's 
Forums on Montanans Outdoors, ten public hearings which 
were held throughout the state at the request of President 
Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors. Montanans 
expected follow-up which was not forthcoming until the 
meetings of the State Park Futures Committee in 1990. 

The results of these two highly visible and 
enthusiastically received efforts were consistent and 
reinforcing. But little, if any, progress was made in the 
interim. People now not only expect, but demand action. 
Without it, irreplaceable resources may be lost and important 
social and economic benefits of the State Park System will 
continue to go unrealized. 

The Administration, the Legislature, and many willing 
partners who have stepped forward have the opportunity to 
make substantial progress which will be anticipated and 
supported by an informed and concerned public. On the 
other hand, all risk public cynicism about the sincerity in 
inviting public involvement in the issue, as well as their 
ability to resolve these matters, if steps are not taken to 
address these serious problems. 



The committee appreciated the opportunity to 
participate in the process. It was a rewarding, educational, 
enjoyable, and challenging experience. Montana is blessed 
with the finest park resources in the nation. We are served 
by capable and dedicated people. Members of the committee 
will not soon forget them or our park visits. We were 
uplifted by the members of the public whom we met. We 
foimd them knowledgeable, helpful, and enthusiastic. 

We believe that this report accurately reflects the 
current condition of our parks, their management, and their 
needs. 

We trust that it will be given serious and thoughtful 
consideration. We hope our recommendations will be 
implemented. It is not a superficial effort but involves more 
than a year's work by ten members, is backed by the 
support of a number of professionals and the experiences of 
other park systems. 

Montana's parks have the potential to be the best in 
the nation ... a goal within our reach and worthy of our 
efforts ... for ourselves, our children, and generations to 
come. 

APPENDICES 

(not for general distribution) 

Individual public meeting summaries 
Consolidated public meeting summary 
Written comments 
Newspaper opinion poll 
Committee Membership 
Committee meeting schedule 
Canyon Consulting vita 
List of sites visited 
1990 Montana Historic Sites 
Study Commission Report 
"Great Escapes" 
Master List of Parks 
State Park System Plan Draft, Surles 
State Park System Financial Review, Surles 



51 



I 



^Sm. State Park Futures Committee