Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking comment on a proposal to acquire nearly 24 acres of land, including a building that houses a visitor center, museum and artifacts at Travelers’ Rest State Park near Lolo. No state revenues would be used in this acquisition.
FWP would provide $300,000 through Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) federal grant dollars towards the $700,000 discounted purchase price. Other funders include the Missoula County Open Space Bond Fund and Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association. FWP is expected to receive this significant sale discount from the existing landowners, as the anticipated value of the entire project is valued at $2 million dollars.
If the acquisition is completed, FWP anticipates it will able to expand the trail system within the park to connect Lolo neighborhoods and existing non-motorized trails.
Travelers’ Rest State Park, a proven Lewis & Clark campsite and important Native American crossroads, was established as a state park in 2001 with a donation of 15 acres of land from The Conservation Fund.
The proposed acquisition includes the Holt Museum and Visitor Center at the park, which is currently leased and managed by parks staff and houses exhibits related to the history of the area, as well as the headquarters for Travelers’ Rest, Fort Owen and Painted Rocks State Parks.
This project would not only add the visitor center and museum to state ownership, but the additional lands would protect important riparian habitat along Lolo Creek and provide important and desired recreational access to the Lolo and western Montana community.
To review the proposal and draft environmental assessment, go to fwp.mt.gov under “Submit Public Comments,” then “State Parks” and then “Acquisitions.” Copies of the EA are also available for public review at Travelers’ Rest State Park, Region 2 FWP Headquarters in Missoula, FWP Headquarters in Helena, or the State Library.
To comment on the proposal, email LFlynn2@mt.gov or phone 273-4253. Send written comments to: Loren Flynn, Travelers’ Rest State Park, P.O. Box 995, Lolo MT 59847. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 21.
The FWP Commission will make a decision on the proposal at its June or July meeting in Helena. If approved, the Montana Land Board would also review the acquisition for final approval after final funding is secured from private sources.