wild and scenic upper missouri river

Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument in Montana remains largely unchanged in the nearly 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled through this area on their epic journey. What’s more, the first skeletal remains of dinosaurs ever discovered in North America were found right here. The monument offers natural beauty in a remote setting and plenty of opportunities to explore by hiking, fishing, or floating along the National Wild and Scenic River portion of the Missouri River. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands

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July #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover Goes Wild and Scenic

Rivers are an important part of our Nation’s history, economy, and way of life. They were our first “highways” - connecting people and communities.  In 1968, President Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to preserve rivers with certain outstanding wild, scenic, or recreational  values. The Act currently protects more than 200 rivers in 35 states and Puerto Rico.  

The BLM’s National Conservation Lands currently manages 69 of those wild and scenic rivers in 7 states - Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah  -  with more than 2,400 river miles and 1,165,000 acres.

Follow today’s #conservationlands15 takeover here for wildlife along wild and scenic rivers, a behind the scenes with a BLM river ranger, and stunning wild and scenic rivers for your bucket list.

Note: The #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover is a 2015 monthly celebration of the 15th anniversary of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

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Explore the Upper Missouri with #mypubliclandsroadtrip this weekend for solitude and stunning scenery!

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana spans 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River, the adjacent Breaks country, and portions of Arrow Creek, Antelope Creek and the Judith Rivers. The monument includes six wilderness study areas, the Cow Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern, segments of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, the Fort Benton National Historic Landmark, a watchable wildlife area and the Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway. In 1976, Congress designated the Missouri River segment and corridor in this area a National Wild and Scenic River.

The area has remained largely unchanged in the nearly 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled through it on their epic journey. Within the monument, you can float the river, fish, hike, hunt, drive for pleasure – or simply find a little solitude and enjoy a sense of exploration in this beautiful natural setting.

Photos by Alyse Backus and Bob Wick, BLM

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The July #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover Ends with a Variation of Our Monthly “Top 15” List.  

Wild and scenic rivers are designated for their ONV or Outstanding Natural Value, so our list includes a few of our favorite BLM Wild and Scenic Rivers by value.  

SCENIC: Beaver Creek, AK; Rogue, OR
HISTORIC: Fortymile, AK; Upper Missouri, MT
RECREATION: Birch Creek, AK; Rio Chama, NM; Rogue, OR
WILDLIFE: Amargosa, CA
FISH: Upper Missouri, MT; Rogue, OR
CULTURAL: Bruneau, ID; Owyhee, OR
GEOLOGIC: Owyhee, OR; Deep Creek, UT
RIPARIAN: Rio Grande, NM
WATER QUALITY: North Fork American, CA
FREE FLOWING: Lower Salmon, ID

Match your interest (like geology or history) with rivers, for a custom-made bucket list.  

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Our July #conservationlands15 Bucket List Location: Take a step back in time and paddle through history along the BLM Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River in Montana

“The hills and river Clifts which we passed today exhibit a most romantic appearance…. The bluffs of the river rise to hight of from 2 to 300 feet and in most places nearly perpendicular; they are formed of remarkable white sandstone which is sufficiently soft to give way readily to the impression of water…” Meriwether Lewis,  May 31, 1805.

You can camp in the same locations as the 1805 Lewis and Clark expedition on your multi-day canoe expedition down the “Big Muddy”.  The river is a relatively easy paddle with current and riffles but no major rapids. Along the way, camp under the shade of spreading cottonwoods and try your luck catching a paddlefish – some weigh over 100 pounds.  The Breaks Country surrounding the river offers opportunities for scrambles and cross country hikes to the bluffs above.  

The unique geology and harsh landscapes that were extensively described by Lewis and Clark are in a condition that has changed little since the passage of the expedition.   Historic homesteads dot the river banks, and remnants of the steamboat era remain in inscriptions that were etched on the rock walls.  

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Take a step back in time and paddle through history along the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River in Montana. You can camp in the same locations as the 1805 Lewis and Clark expedition on your multi-day canoe expedition down the “Big Muddy.” The unique geology and harsh landscapes that were extensively described by Lewis and Clark are in a condition that has changed little since the passage of the expedition. Historic homesteads dot the river banks, and remnants of the steamboat era remain in inscriptions that were etched on the rock walls. Sunset photo by Bob Wicks, mypubliclands.