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Montana State Parks News

Mon Nov 05 11:23:00 MST 2012

Montana State Parks News

(Helena, MT) – Montana State Parks ( announced today that lands directly related to Travelers’ Rest State Park in Lolo, including the visitor center and museum collections, are now publicly owned by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. No state funds were used in this acquisition.

“We want to recognize and thank the Missoula area partners, the Holt family and the many generous donors who have made this possible,” said Chas Van Genderen, Administrator for Montana State Parks.

The funding for this acquisition came from the Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Missoula County Open Space Bond, Five Valleys Land Trust (a community based land conservation organization) and a private fund-raising effort lead by the Travelers’ Rest Preservation & Heritage Association and the Missoula Community Foundation. The acquisition included a generous donation from previous owners Bill and Ramona Holt.

“Missoula County and the community’s enthusiasm and generosity have created a wonderful legacy for future generations by securing this remarkable site as a state park,” said Bruce Mihelish, President of the Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association.

The value of the acquisition is estimated at $1.25 million dollars and includes 24 acres of land, including 10 acres of high-quality riparian habitat, the visitor center, and the museum collections. The museum and visitor center have been leased for the past 3 years by the state.

“This project was truly a team effort, with citizens, government agencies and nonprofits working together to protect this special place forever,” said Meredith Printz, Executive Director of the Missoula Community Foundation. “Travelers' Rest State Park draws visitors from all over the country, many of whom made donations to the campaign," Printz said.

“This acquisition increases public access to Lolo Creek, provides open space, and provides the ability to expand the current area trail system,” said Nancy Heil, Senior Planner with Missoula County Rural Initiatives.

“Trails and open, natural areas bring communities together,” said Pelah Hoyt, Conservation Project Manager for Five Valleys Land Trust. “With permanent public access on Lolo Creek and connections to a public trail corridor, Travelers’ Rest State Park has what it needs to become a beloved part of the Lolo community for generations to come.”

Travelers’ Rest State Park, the location of a centuries-old Native American gathering ground, has the only archaeologically verified campsite in the nation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the 2012 season (Jan. – Sept.) more than 21,116 people visited this state park, a 13% increase over the 2011 season.

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