Welcome to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest!
With 2.8 million acres of public land spread across mountain ranges from the Continental Divide to the eastern edges of central Montana, your favorite place is out there!
The scenic Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest stretches 2.8-million acres through central and north-central Montana. The Forest is comprised of island mountain ranges bisected by the Continental Divide and Missouri River and includes 6 ranger districts: Lincoln, Helena, Townsend, Judith - Musselshell, Rocky Mountain, and Belt Creek - White Sulphur Springs and 2 Forest Supervisor's offices located in Helena and Great Falls to oversee forest management in 17 counties.
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Beaver Creek is the primary spawning tributary for the large migratory rainbow and brown trout that move up from Holter Reservoir in the spring and fall. Beaver Creek is listed as an impaired stream by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for both sediment and riparian damage. The Forest Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have also noted declines in spawning rainbow trout over the past 20 years due to angling pressure, predation, whirling disease, and continued habitat degradation. The Beaver Creek Restoration Project will restore 1.2 miles of stream to its natural state improving both water quality and fish habitat. This is a collaborative effort with many partners including NorthWestern Energy, River Design Group, MT Fish Wildlife and Parks and Pat Barnes Trout Unlimited Chapter.
The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is home to both black and grizzly bears, and provides important habitat for bears and other wildlife to use throughout the year. Learning about bears will help you become a more knowledgeable visitor to the forest, and will help keep both you and bears safe while sharing the woods.
Do Not Move Firewood
Montana has suitable habitat for harmful forest pests and therefore prohibits the transport of firewood from most US states and Canadian provinces where invasive species are present.
Holter Lake-Gates of the Mountains River Recreation Plan
Review the coordinated draft management plan for the Holter Lake-Gates of the Mountains Recreation Area on the Missouri River.
Plant Biodiversity Flickr Set
Visit our Flickr album featuring the plant biodiversity of the Helena-side of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.
USDA Civil Rights Policy Statement April 9, 2021
Secretary Vilsack writes that, "At USDA, we are recommitting ourselves to the values of equity, inclusion, and equal opportunity for each other and those we serve."