Today we celebrate the Monument’s 13th birthday!
Eagle Creek campground, in the iconic White Cliffs section of the Monument. (Photo Bob Wick, BLM.)
It was on this day in 2001 that President Bill Clinton proclaimed nearly 400,000 acres of central Montana prairies and badlands (with 149 miles of the Wild and Scenic Missouri River flowing through it) as the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
And here’s why it’s worth protecting, from the proclamation:
The area remains remote and nearly as undeveloped as it was in 1805. Many of the biological objects described in Lewis and Clark’s journals continue to make the monument their home. The monument boasts the most viable elk herd in Montana and one of the premier big horn sheep herds in the continental United States. It contains essential winter range for sage grouse as well as habitat for prairie dogs. Lewis sent Jefferson a prairie dog specimen which was, as Lewis noted at the time, “new to science.” Abundant plant life along the River and across the Breaks country supports this wildlife. The lower reach of the Judith River, just above its confluence with the Missouri, contains one of the few remaining fully functioning cottonwood gallery forest ecosystems on the Northern Plains. Arrow Creek, originally called Slaughter River by Lewis and Clark, contains the largest concentration of antelope and mule deer in the monument as well as important spawning habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon. An undammed tributary to the Missouri River, Arrow Creek is a critical seed source for cottonwood trees for the flood plain along the Missouri.
And what makes it even more special is that the Monument is part of America’s newest, permanently protected collection of public lands: the National Conservation Lands. These lands are managed not by the National Park Service — with its fees, rules, paved trails and interpretive signs posted everywhere — but by the Bureau of Land Management. These lands, 28 million acres in all, are free and open for you to explore on your own. These lands are the last places in America where you can truly get away from it all.
Read more about the Conservation Lands here. Or have a look at this map, and start planning your next adventure. And join our mailing list if you’d like to find out more about how the Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument work not only to preserve and protect our Monument in Montana, but also work to preserve and protect all of America’s National Conservation Lands.
We are honored to be working to protect this amazing place. Thanks for all you do to help.
– Beth Kampschror, Executive Director