Montana State Parks Celebrate 75 Years

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Montana is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its state parks system this summer and Gov. Steve Bullock is urging residents to go out and explore.

At the Capitol on Tuesday, Bullock and Missoula artist Monte Dolack unveiled a painting titled “Smith River in June.” The state commissioned the painting, which will be on display at the Capitol. Proceeds from the sale of prints will benefit the parks department.

The Montana parks system got its start in 1937 when Congress agreed to transfer the Lewis & Clark Caverns National Monument to the state. President Theodore Roosevelt had declared the area a national monument in 1911.

The system now includes 55 parks and drew 2.1 million visits last year — a 5 percent increase over 2012.

Bullock says the parks showcase landmarks, landscapes, Montana’s history and offer a chance to have fun and relax.

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