Milltown State Park.
With a grand opening anticipated in 2014, Milltown State Park features more than 500 acres of terrain, ranging from restored river bottoms to a pine forested bluff overlooking the confluence. The park will afford visitors a place to go hiking, biking, fishing, floating and watching for birds and wildlife. The park will include trails, picnic shelters and river access points. The overlook is open now.
Interpretive displays will explore the natural and human history of the area. Among the many stories from the deep past are the Glacial Lake Missoula floods that shaped the landscape thousands of years ago. The Salish and Pend d' Oreille know the confluence as the place of big bull trout and consider it an ancestral home. In 19th century history, Meriwether Lewis made a Fourth of July passage through the confluence and decades later the Mullan Expedition spent a harsh winter there. Beginning in the 1880s, the rivers were dammed to produce power for the mills and communities but at great consequence.
The hopeful story of the Milltown Dam removal and rivers' return offers an opportunity to explore America's changing relationship to the land as well as the benefits that river restoration yields for Montana's families and communities.
Whether you come to play or to learn, there will be a lot to do at Montana's newest state park.
In the meantime, visit the Milltown State Park Overlook, located on the Deer Creek Road, for a panoramic view of the park and interpretive experience of the confluence below.
Michael Kustudia is the manager of Milltown State Park near Missoula.
Milltown State Park
c/o FWP Region 2 Headquarters
3201 Spurgin Rd.
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-5533