Friday, May 28, 2004
Montana’s fish, wildlife and State Parks all come with exciting and colorful stories. Part of managing these resources is telling those stories, and that can be a big job.
Some are captured on educational videos; others tucked in learning trunks for schools; or told around the campfire at State Parks, and on the FWP web pages at www.fwp.state.mt.us . At many state parks there are exhibits, signs, and brochures. In some parks interpretive specialists lead tours and make presentations. Most FWP offices also provide adventure, with wildlife mounts on display, aquariums, informational posters, signs and brochures.
At the FWP regional office in Miles City, visitors can walk through time. The bones of Ice Age camels, bison, mastodons and dog-sized horses that grazed in the area are on display, and visitors can learn about the history of hunting along the Yellowstone River. Twelve thousand years ago big game included the sixteen-foot-tall Imperial mammoth that was hunted with spears and atlatls. When the Ice Age ended and these giants vanished, hunting shifted to bison, deer, elk and antelope as the nomadic lifestyle of the Plains Indians developed.
Similar FWP interpretive exhibits are available across Montana—at State Parks, Fish Hatcheries, and Wildlife Management Areas.
Displays of today’s fish and wildlife figure prominently, of course, but you’ll also find dinosaurs at Makoshika State Park near Glendive, and a chance to use your senses to learn about buffalo hunting at Ulm Pishkun State Park near Great Falls.
The Washoe Hatchery in Anaconda recounts the history of the state’s first fish hatchery. Or, visitors can simply relax on a comfortable indoor bench and watch the cutthroat and grayling behind the windows of a live stream exhibit.
Exhibits at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park near Three Forks tell the history and geology of the caverns. A walk-through cave model surprises and delights kids.
FWP also offers wayside interpretive signs that can be found at Wildlife Management Areas, such as the one at the south end of Canyon Ferry Reservoir, with information about the birds and mammals that frequent the area.
Whether it is the design, fabrication and installation of an exhibit or the production of a sign or brochure, the goal is the same—to make it interesting and fun for Montanans and our visitors to learn about, enjoy and help conserve our fish, wildlife and parks.
If you’ve never been face-to-face with a bear or wolverine, looked a cutthroat trout in the eye, or heard the story of the Vigilantes in the first person—it may be time for you to visit a State Park or Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office. To learn more about the state’s fish, wildlife and parks, visit the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us.