Responsible Recreation on the Flathead Reservation
Visiting an American Indian reservation in Western Montana is a special experience, and we must all do our part to recreate responsibly no matter where we roam. Here’s how to be a responsible and respectful traveler while enjoying the communities, great outdoors and fresh mountain air of the Flathead Reservation and other tribal lands.
Respect Tribes and Tribal Lands
- Know before you go. Plan ahead. Play it safe.
- Practice physical distancing and protect tribal elders by wearing a mask while you are on reservations.
- Purchase a tribal permit for outdoor recreation activities, like fishing, hiking and camping, on tribal lands. Learn more here about permits for recreating on the Flathead Reservation.
- Respect mandatory watercraft inspections and boating regulations in order to mitigate the risk of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
- Both tribal and federal law prohibit tampering with or removing archaeological items from reservations. Please only pack out what you pack in.
- Use caution when driving in reservations; be on the lookout for wildlife and pedestrians using the roadway.
- Cell phone service varies throughout Western Montana; be prepared.
- Please ask permission before taking a picture of any person, ceremony or private residence on reservation land.
- Don’t wander off established roads or trails—you will likely be trespassing.
- Unless invited, don’t enter sweat lodges or cemeteries.
- Adhere to Leave No Trace principles.
- Be part of an inclusive outdoors.
- Please resist the temptation to build a rock cairn on tribal land. Moving rocks disrupts the natural state of the ecosystem, takes away from the natural beauty of the area and disregards Leave No Trace principles.
Be Bear Aware!
To emphasize how important it is to carry bear spray in grizzly country, CSKT Natural Resources is working with Defenders of Wildlife and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put bear spray in the hands of all outdoor recreationists. Any resident of the Flathead Indian Reservation can request bear spray for $10 when purchasing a 2021 Tribal recreation, camping, or fishing/hunting permit from our Fish, Wildlife & Recreation Conservation office in Polson. Tribal members can request $10 bear spray with their Tribal ID. One of the best ways to ensure safety is to travel in a group of three or more people and make noise. Make loud noise especially when in dense brush or near running water where surprise encounters are likely to take place
To receive consultation or information on securing bear attractants and preventing conflicts around your home, please call Kari Eneas at the Tribal Wildlife Management Program at (406) 883-2888 ext. 7217. To report bear or other carnivore conflicts, call the 24/7 Wildlife Conflict Dispatch Center, (406)-275-2774, immediately during or after the incident.
Reservation Permit Vendors
Columbia Falls, MT
– Super One Foods
– Smiths Food and Drug
– Bob Ward & Sons
Hot Springs, MT
– Cornerstone Convenience Store
– MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks-Region 1
– Snappy Sport Senter
– Sportsman & Ski Haus
– Sliter’s Ace Hardware
– Bob Ward and Sons
– MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks-Region 2
– Sportsman’s Warehouse
– Thad’s Tackle Shop
– Zimmer Tackle
– Mangy Moose
– CSKT, DFWRC, 406 6th Avenue East
– Westland Seed
St. Ignatius, MT
– Allard’s Stage Stop
– Westgate True Value
– Sportsman & Ski Haus
Woods Bay, MT
– Papa’s Woods Bay Market
Reservation Permits are also available on the internet at https://ols.fwp.mt.gov/
NOTE: A Reservation Permit must be purchased in person initially from a retail outlet/Reservation Permit vendor to register. After that first registration you can purchase online. v