Cultural, scientific and recreational activities all come together Saturday when Milltown State Park’s Confluence Area's grand opening takes place.
The Salish drum group Yamcut Singers and Salish-Kalispell Cultural Committee elder Tony Incashola open the gathering at 11 a.m. with an honor song and blessing of the area, which has extensive Native American legacy as a travel landmark and fishing site.
Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council Chairman Ronald Trahan will speak, followed by representatives of the agencies involved in the federal Superfund cleanup of the former dam and reservoir. Montana State Parks and Recreation board member Jeff Welch and Fish, Wildlife & Parks Director Martha Williams will also address the opening.
Park manager Mike Kustudia will recount the history of the confluence and the park’s creation at 12:30 p.m. Author and Montana Trout Unlimited member David Brooks will discuss the Superfund project and subsequent restoration work at 1 p.m.
At 2 p.m. FWP fisheries biologist David Schmetterling will give a presentation on bull trout recovery at confluence the Salish Indians called “The Place of Big Bull Trout.” FWP bear manager Jamie Jonkel will follow at 3 p.m. with a presentation on other wildlife that travel through the state park ecosystem.
At 4 p.m. bird experts Kate Davis of Raptors of the Rockies, Erick Greene of the University of Montana and Dalit Uscio of the Montana Osprey Project will discuss the avian inhabitants of the confluence area.
Anyone with family or historic memories of the confluence area can make a recording of their recollections at the Milltown Memory Booth from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Clark Fork Coalition members will have beneficial native trees, shrubs and grasses to plant starting at 12:30 p.m. National Park Service experts will teach and lead a variety of traditional native games between 12:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. The bluegrass band Milltown Dam will perform live from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
To reach the Confluence Area of Milltown State Park, take Highway 200 east from Missoula or west from Bonner to Tamarack Road. Turn at the park sign on Tamarack and follow the road about a mile to the park sign to the entrance on Juniper Drive
Please note that parking is limited so consider carpooling. In addition, there’s no trailer parking, and limited RV parking.
Route 4 of the Mountain Line Bus stops at Tamarack Road. Buses include bike racks. Check out the bus schedule here.