The Lolo National Forest is located in west central Montana and encompasses two million acres. We have lots of recreation opportunities such as camping, water sports, and hiking. We also have two wonderful visitor centers. We invite you to explore this web site, and contact us if you have questions.
The official address of this site is fs.usda.gov/lolo If you are curious about the long address you see in your web browser or interested in other short addresses for specific sections of this site, visit our web address information page.
Quick Links to Your Outdoor Adventures
Marshall Woods Restoration Project
The Marshall Woods project has been designed to achieve multiple restoration objectives in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area (NRA) and adjacent Woods Gulch. Mountain bikers, hikers, runners, skiers, and those who love to hunt and fish all find something to love in the Rattlesnake NRA or the adjacent Rattlesnake Wilderness. But the NRA is also adjacent to homes in the Rattlesnake neighborhood -- and just a short commute from downtown Missoula. Vegetation in the project area, including locations adjacent to the main Rattlesnake trail and nearby meadows, are outside their historic condition. Some areas are densely populated with non-native species. One of the objectives of the Marshall Woods project is to both restore native vegetation and promote the health of species like ponderosa pine – and reduce heavy fuel loading. Mitigating the potential for high intensity fire in this area, where Rattlesnake subdivisions buffer the national forest, is a key objective. Click here to follow this project and learn more about the collaborative effort that brought it to life.
Unpatented Mining Claims
It is important for any prospective buyer to understand what an unpatented mining claim is and what the rights of an owner of an unpatented mining claimant are. >more
Burning Shows Results on Plains-Thompson Falls District
Fire managers recently completed several prescribed fires on the Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger District to improve wildlife habitat and reduce fuels. They took advantage of favorable fall fuel conditions and weather systems to successfully treat approximately 4,000 acres this fall. The burning will provide long-term benefits to wildlife habitat and reduce the potential for large escaped fires in the future.
Please see the news release for details.
The Watershed Education Network (WEN) Recently Received Forest Service Funding to Conduct a Summer Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Program
As part of Forest Service’s efforts to employ more youth, the Watershed Education Network (WEN) recently received Forest Service funding to conduct a summer Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program . WEN selected eight high-school students from the Missoula area to work together on a YCC crew for six weeks during the 2014 summer. The crew worked on the Lolo National Forest collecting stream-monitoring data, conducting road runoff surveys, pulled weeds, and more. All while they learned about native plants and wildlife such as macro-invertebrates, black bears, and birds in post fire habitats. Best of all, according to their leaders, the YCC crew learned how to work together as a team, built lasting friendships, and explored careers in natural resources, all adding to their resumes for college. They also learned new job skills for future employment.
Planting Trees in the 2013 Lolo Complex Fire Area
Missoula International School students recently spent a day in the field planting trees in a burned area of the Lolo Complex Fire near Ft. Fizzle on the Missoula Ranger District. The tree planting was a cooperative effort between Lolo National Forest silviculture and heritage specialists and the Missoula International School.
Main Rattlesnake Trail Stream Stablization Project
Work was completed in mid-March, 2014 on a stream bank stabilization project along the main Rattlesnake trail, about one-third of a mile north of the trailhead/parking area and near the Rattlesnake Creek foot bridge. The newly stabilized stream bank will greatly mitigate sediment delivery from the trail directly into the creek, while also improving access and use of the stream for hikers and other recreationists -- with a natural beach area and large boulders for sitting.
The Lolo National Forest has worked with several groups to design, fund or provide feedback on the project and the existing condition at the site. Those partners include: Missoula County Resource Advisory Committee, Western Native Trout Initiative, Rattlesnake Watershed Group, and GEUM Environmental Consulting. More>
New Order/Area Closure Pertaining to Crystal Digging
Disturbed Soil Due to Crystal Digging Restoring the Disturbed Ground.
The Missoula Ranger District is continuing outreach efforts to inform crystal collectors about the resource impacts that have resulted from digging and excavating for crystals over the last several years in the Lolo Pass area. Resource impacts have included large areas of disturbed soil and impacts to vegetation. Large or even small holes also create significant safety hazards. Holes dug into the inherently unstable granitic soils found in the Lolo Pass area can cave and bury crystal diggers, hunters and other recreationists. Areas around the base of healthy trees that are dug out can also weaken a tree’s root structure and can result in toppling of the tree. Even small dug-out spots, when covered by early fall snow, create unseen holes and are a hazard to hunters and others walking through the area. For current Forest Orders relevent to crystal digging please visit Lolo NF Public Notices .
The Missoula Ranger District is looking for backcountry enthusiasts to volunteer for the Wilderness Management program during the summer of 2014. Candidates must have excellent backpacking and camping skills, public speaking abilities, a strong land ethic, and be willing to work in a physically demanding environment with limited supervision. More information about this opportunity can be accessed here.
For information about other 2014 summer volunteer opportunities with the Lolo National Forest, visit our Volunteer page.
Lolo Forest Restoration
An important part of the Lolo National Forest mission is to restore natural processes in areas that have been altered by past or present management activities. Whether designed to improve stream function, vegetation resilience or species habitat, restoration efforts on the forest rely on active partners to be successful. Forest partners bring valuable experience and expertise in the design and implementation of natural resource restoration projects. The Lolo NF also partners with local and regional groups on a variety of conservation education and wildlife monitoring projects. To learn more about restoration efforts on the Lolo NF please click here.
Southwestern Crown of the Continent Forest Carnivore Monitoring
In 2013 Lolo National Forest Wildlife Biologists continued to work with partners like Northwest Connections and adjacent forests to monitor the distribution and abundance of carnivores in the Southwest Crown of the Continent (SWCC) area of the Forest. more>
Volunteers Remove 9,100 Feet of Barbed Wire Fence in Pattee Canyon
Tangle Free Montana, a local organization of volunteers with a mission that includes removing unwanted fences from public lands recently pulled and removed 9,100 feet of old fence line in the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area of the Missoula Ranger District. More>
Biologists Seize Opportunity in Tributary Stream
The vertically eroding (down-cut) tributary stream along the popular O’Brien Creek trail west of Missoula presented an opportunity to bring a stream back to a more natural condition and restore it to its role in a functioning ecosystem. More>
Lolo NF and Missoula County Weed District Specialists Respond to Yellow Starthistle Along Highway 12
The impacts of noxious weeds in western Montana are well known to the people who battle against new weed infestations: impaired wildlife habitat, increased erosion, impacts to hydrologic cycles, less productive farm and ranch land.
“This weed is an aggressive invader. It’s prevalent in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. California alone has documented the weed invading over 10 million acres. The 0.5 to 2-inch long spines that grow from the bracts on the bright yellow flowers make any infested area inhabitable and undesirable to wildlife. As a rapid colonizer, it germinates quickly under most conditions and seeds can germinate throughout the year and overwinter as seedling” – Karen Stockmann, Missoula Ranger District Weed Coordinator. More...
Keep Your Pet Safe as You Recreate!
Bringing your pet with you on public lands provides countless opportunities for recreation and enjoyment of the natural landscape, as well as some responsibilities. To learn more...
National Forest Foundation Video
This short video from the National Forest Foundation provides a snapshot of one of NFF’s important restoration initiatives on National Forest lands across the country.
Kennedy Creek Mines Draft Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis
In partnership with Trout Unlimited, the Lolo National Forest recently completed a Draft Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis (EE/CA) for the Kennedy Creek Mines on the Ninemile Ranger District. The draft document assesses different clean-up options at the old mining site, which is composed of three historical mines, the Hautilla, the Lost Cabin, and the Nugget – all within the Ninemile Mining District and located approximately ten miles north-northwest of Huson on the Lolo National Forest.