Experience the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge this fall

USFWS Mountain Prairie, Flickr

Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana

USFWS Mountain Prairie, Flickr

Big blue skies, golden cottonwoods and the haunting sound of elk bugling up the coulee: That’s the Charles M. Russell Refuge (CMR) in early autumn. The Wilderness Society is hosting a bus tour and hike into the C.M. Russell on Sat. Oct. 1.

The tour is free and open to the public. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the Refuge’s incredible natural and cultural history. It’s a place that’s evolved from home to prehistoric dinosaurs, to Native American hunting ground, to one of the great gateways to the West as settlers followed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark.

Today, the Charles M. Russell stands out as the second largest national wildlife refuge in the Lower 48. There is no better place to experience the wildlife of the rugged frontier West. Come watch Ferruginous Hawks swirl overhead and gaze down the Missouri River as it cuts through the Refuge for 125 miles. Learn from experienced guides about the thriving bighorn sheep, antelope, sage grouse and black footed ferret habitat conserved within the Refuge. This includes a large population of trophy elk, which inhabit the cottonwood bottoms along the Missouri in late September and early October, and draw visitors who come to watch and listen as these majestic animals bugle as part of an elaborate mating ritual.

The Wilderness Society’s Wild Prairie Legacy Campaign elk bugling field trip

Friday, Sept. 30:
Guests are invited to arrive in Lewistown by late afternoon. Dinner and a short introductory presentation are planned at the historic Calvert Hotel.

Saturday, Oct. 1:
10 a.m.-noon.: Bus ride from Lewistown to the CMR’s Antelope Creek Proposed Wilderness Area.
Noon-3 p.m.: Lunch and a guided hike into Antelope Creek Proposed Wilderness Area.
3-7 p.m.: Travel to elk viewing area for elk viewing and picnic dinner.
7-9 p.m.: Return to Lewistown.

Sunday, Oct. 2: Guests depart

WHERE: For lodging in Lewistown, Mont., contact the historic Calvert Hotel  or Symmes-Wicks House Bed & Breakfast

RSVP and meet-up details: Please e-mail John Todd, Northern Prairie Campaign Coordinator for The Wilderness Society or call Kris Brownlee as a contact via phone at 406-586-1600 ext 106.