Spring has finally arrived in Western Montana, which means baby red buffalo calves will start to appear at the Bison Range, formally known as the National Bison Range.
On December 27th, 2020 Congress passed and the President signed, the Bison Range Restoration legislation. Through Public Law 116-260, Congress has now restored the Bison Range to federal trust ownership for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The Tribe is currently working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to transition from federal to Tribal management.
The Tribal Council has adopted, as its interim the Bison Range management plan, the current Comprehensive Conservation Plan that was developed and adopted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2019 (for which CSKT was a cooperating agency).
Over the next few months you will begin to see a new look in signs and the remolding of the Visitor Center. However, the annual re-opening of Red Sleep drive over Mother’s Day weekend will remain the same. This 19-mile one-way gravel scenic auto tour increases your opportunity to see baby red calves, and other wildlife that reside on the Bison Range year around. The front gate opens at 6:00AM and closes at 8:00PM, 7 days a week. Beginning Saturday, May 8th, Red Sleep Drive opens at 7:00AM, with the last car allowed on the drive at 6:00PM. Prairie Drive is open year around, and we ask that you exit the front gate by 8:00PM.
May 8th will be the first day the Visitor’s Center will be partially open from 7:00AM to 8:00PM, to pay fees, pick up maps/brochures, and facilities will be available. We are still following CSKT COVID guidelines and require anyone entering the building to wear a face mask, over your mouth and nose, and please adhere to social distancing. The Visitor Center staff will be available daily to assist visitors with resource questions and new informational and educational materials will be added during the upcoming summer. Please be patient while we remodel the museum and new gift shop, projected to open in June. If you missed us, please come back to check out the new look!
Starting May 8, 2021 a daily or annual pass per vehicle to enter the Bison Range will be required. The entire Bison Range is a fee use area, including the Day Use Area. The new rate is $10 per car, daily. Our Bison Range Annual pass is $20/year. All proceeds go back into the management and operation of the Bison Range. As it has been in the past, there is no charge for Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal members with Tribal Identification.
Because the Bison Range is no longer a USFWS or NPS facility any Federal use pass will no longer be accepted for entrance fees or sold at the CSKT Bison Range. These include but are not limited to the America the Beautiful or Golden Age passes.
We welcome you to visit the Bison Range. Please be courteous of other visitors, respect all wildlife from a distance, and please remove your garbage. For more information visit www.bisonrange.org or contact the CS&KT Natural Resources Department at (406) 883-2888.