Montana State Parks asks for help in drafting plan
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: June 29, 2016

What is your vision for enhancing heritage resources in Montana State Parks?

We at Montana State Parks are embarking on a process to develop a system-wide heritage resource plan and we need your valuable input. The plan will address the unique challenges and opportunities of heritage sites in the park system, including the 7 National Historic Landmarks as well as 25 National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) sites and NRHP-eligible sites.

The outcome will be a cohesive direction for better management of these sites and improved program guidance and coordination. It will also address solutions related to heritage resource and artifact collection management, compliance, stewardship, training and staff needs, data collection and information management.

How You Can Help

We want to know, from your perspective, how Montana State Parks can enhance management and protection of heritage resource sites, like Bannack State Park, Montana’s first territorial capital, and First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, the state’s newest National Historic Landmark. With your interest in Montana State Parks and your support of Montana’s important heritage resources, your input is valuable to us; the success of this process is strengthened with your involvement and that of others around the state.

Over the next 6 months, we will be asking you to provide feedback on topics like how we can maximize management of these sites within our existing capacity; how we can improve our processes relative to protection, stewardship, and compliance; and how we can better build existing and potential partnerships for meeting heritage needs throughout our park system.

Share your input!

  1. Online Discussion Forum: Share your input in an online forum on Montana State Parks’ heritage resources and program. The forum features a number of questions to start the discussion, and will be live through July 31. Please visit our discussion page on mySidewalk to log in and participate in the forum.
  2. Survey: We will send out a survey in early July to ask questions on programmatic elements and potential management solutions for the Montana State Parks heritage resource program. We will be following up with a separate email with instructions to complete the survey at the beginning of July.
  3. Stakeholder Workshop: We will share the draft strategic plan with stakeholders later this year through a public forum with the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board. We will also have a small workshop for invited stakeholders to provide in-depth feedback on September 21 in Missoula.

What You Can Expect

This plan builds upon the direction outlined in our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to make Montana’s state park system one of the strongest systems in the country. The plan will also be consistent with the Classification Policy that was recently passed by the Governor-appointed Montana State Parks & Recreation Board to allocate resources within the park system based on the newly established classification structure.

We will send periodic updates as we move throughout the process. We are also working closely with an internal team of staff that manages heritage sites in our system. With both the input you and staff provide, we will prioritize areas for building capacity, and identify partners and resources needed. The planning process will be completed by December, and the resulting heritage resource plan will be reviewed and approved by the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board.

For questions about the process, please contact Maren Murphy, Senior Planner, at For information about heritage resources in Montana State Parks, please contact Sara Scott, Heritage Resources Program Manager, at

Please support us in this exciting project that we hope will result in a strong direction for our heritage program and management of heritage resources across our great state. We encourage you share this information widely with your partners and supporters.

We look forward to collaborating with you.
Chas Van Genderen
Montana State Parks Division Administrator
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