CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge - West Side

Zortman, Montana

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The CMR Wildlife Refuge was named for the famous Montana cowboy artist Charlie Russell, who captured on canvas the beauty and drama of the Montana plains, western tradition, early inhabitants, and Montana wildlife. Before Russell, the explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through this country, as did James Kipp, who set up the first trading post within the Blackfeet Nation. The Missouri River remained a major travel corridor through Montana until the advent of the railroads. The lay of the land here is an intriguing maze of high buttes and benches, deep draws and jutting headlands, all splashed by colorful sunrises and sunsets. In the heavy heat of summer, powerful thunderstorms sweep these plains, filling the sky and turning the roads to gumbo. The west end of the refuge, a remote corridor along the Missouri River sixty miles northeast of Lewistown, best exemplifies the rough, highly eroded cliffs and gullies known as the “Missouri Breaks.” Here the refuge preserves some of the most extensive ungrazed stands of riparian vegetation found anywhere in Montana. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful general information.
Birding Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Birding Montana

by Terry McEneaney (Falcon Guides)

The CMR Wildlife Refuge was named for the famous Montana cowboy artist Charlie Russell, who captured on canvas the beauty and drama of the Montana plains, western tradition, early inhabitants, and Montana wildlife. Before Russell, the explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through this country, as did James Kipp, who set up the first trading post within the Blackfeet Nation. The Missouri River remained a major travel corridor through Montana until the advent of the railroads. The lay of the land here is an intriguing maze of high buttes and benches, deep draws and jutting headlands, all splashed by colorful sunrises and sunsets. In the heavy heat of summer, powerful thunderstorms sweep these plains, filling the sky and turning the roads to gumbo.

The west end of the refuge, a remote corridor along the Missouri River sixty miles northeast of Lewistown, best exemplifies the rough, highly eroded cliffs and gullies known as the “Missouri Breaks.” Here the refuge preserves some of the most extensive ungrazed stands of riparian vegetation found anywhere in Montana. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful general information.

©  Terry McEneaney/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Zortman
Trail Type: Several options
Duration: 2 to 3 days
Best Times: Best spring; April, May, June
Local Contacts: Bureau of Land Management
Local Maps: Montana Highway Map
Driving Directions: Directions to C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge - West Side

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Apr 2018