Flathead Valley State Parks Hosting Outdoor Education Programs for Kids, Families

The suite of programs includes volunteer opportunities on National Trails Day, activities for kids and an outdoors woman workshop in Kalispell

By Tristan Scott
GPS in hand, Charlie Ashton and his sister Isabelle Ashton, left, lead their group to the next waypoint on a geocaching expedition through Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell as part of the park’s Jr. Ranger Days program on June 27, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is hosting a suite of outdoor education programs in the coming weeks, as well as projects on National Trails Day, at two local state parks in June.

Lone Pine State Park, located 5 miles southwest of Kalispell, is hosting several events open to the public. Lone Pine State Park is open year-round, with its visitor center open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Big Arm Unit of Flathead Lake State Park is 15 miles north of Polson on U.S. Highway 93 on Big Arm Bay along the west side of Flathead Lake. It is also hosting an event on National Trails Day.

To learn about Montana’s state parks, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks

Information on these events and more is listed below.

AmeriCorps member and education specialist for Lone Pine State Park Kyle Gallaher leads students through a geocaching activity as part of the park’s Jr. Ranger Days program on June 27, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

National Trails Day

Lone Pine State Park

Saturday, June 1, 8:30 a.m. – 1 pm

Lone Pine State Park, in collaboration with Foy’s to Blacktail Trails, invites outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to join forces in an inspiring initiative to improve our trails on National Trails Day. The event promises a day of camaraderie and stewardship as participants come together to enhance the natural beauty of Lone Pine’s trails. By working in groups, volunteers will engage in a variety of trail maintenance activities, including pulling noxious weeds and repairing damaged sections of trail infrastructure. Participants will be treated to lunch provided by the Kalispell Daybreak Rotary Club. Registration is required. To register, call 406.755.2706, ext. 0.

Big Arm State Park Archery Range

Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

National Trails Day is an opportunity to celebrate all the benefits that trails provide for recreational access and enjoyment of national, state, and local public lands. The recently added archery range to the Big Arm Unit of Flathead Lake State Park features a roughly 1-mile-long trail that connects a series of shooting stations. The trail has been dug but still requires some finishing work to ensure it will remain in good condition for years to come.

“We are inviting the public to join us in finishing off these trails and come enjoy the incredible recreation opportunity this new archery range provides,” according to FWP.

Volunteers will need sturdy closed-toed shoes, long pants, weather appropriate clothing, water, and snacks/pack lunch.

Space is limited to 20 volunteers. Please call the Wayfarers Ranger Station at 406-837-3041, ext. 0 or ext. 5 to register for the event. For additional information, email FWP Land Improvement Specialist at [email protected].

Lone Pine State Park. Courtesy FWP

National Get Outdoors Day

Lone Pine State Park

Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m.-noon

Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day by diving into the fascinating world of local wildlife. This drop-in program runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the picnic shelter and offers a unique hands-on experience where visitors can touch and explore the pelts and skulls of various animals native to our area. Learn about the habits, diets, and habitats of these incredible creatures. The interactive session is perfect for families, nature enthusiasts, and anyone eager to connect with the outdoors and learn more about the amazing animals that share our environment. No registration is required.

Instructor Kearstyn Cook of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks prepares to fire an arrow at the archery range at Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell on Nov. 21, 2021. Micah Drew | Flathead Beacon

Archery Basics

Lone Pine State Park

Ages 4th-8th grade: Tuesday, June 11, 10 a.m.-11 a.m.; Adult: Thursday, June 13, 7 p.m.-8 p.m.

Calling aspiring archers. Lone Pine State Park invites eager enthusiasts to join FWP’s basic archery sessions this June. Dive into the world of archery with specialized classes designed for two age groups. Kids in grades 4-8 can build their skills on June 11 while adults can aim for greatness on June 13. Participants will receive expert guidance in fundamental techniques and safety measures within our welcoming environment. All necessary equipment will be provided. Secure your spot now to unlock your inner archer. Limited spaces available, so register today to secure your spot on the range. To register, call 406.755.2706, ext. 0.

Camo Digs Dads

Lone Pine State Park

Sunday, June 16, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Join FWP this Father’s Day for “Camo Digs Dads,” a special program where families can uncover the wonders of soil alongside the park’s resident bull snake, Camo.

“Join us as we delve into the mysteries beneath our feet, exploring the essence of soil — what it is, who depends on it, and its critical role in sustaining life,” according to FWP.

Participants will explore soil composition, textures, and ecosystem inhabitants through hands-on activities. Registration is required. To register, call 406.755.2706, ext. 0.

Ruby Hadley, age 11, of Montana Wild Wings handles Louie, a long eared owl, at the Lone Pine State Park Visitor Center in Kalispell on August 22, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Wings of Freedom: Celebrate American Eagle Day

Lone Pine State Park

Thursday, June 20, 10 a.m.-noon

Gather at the picnic shelter to honor American Eagle Day, marking the bald eagle’s selection as a national symbol on the Great Seal in 1782.

“This day celebrates the eagle’s remarkable conservation journey, symbolizing its triumphant return from near extinction,” according to FWP. “Delve into the world of these majestic birds, discovering their role in our ecosystem and the conservation efforts safeguarding their population.”

The event is geared toward families and bird enthusiasts alike. No registration required.

Nature’s Detective Bug Hunt

Lone Pine State Park

Wednesday, June 26, 10 a.m.-noon

Join FWP for a captivating program where kids ages 5-10 become sleuths of the wilderness, uncovering the secrets of bugs and insects. Starting at the picnic shelter, kids will participate in a short, engaging program that introduces them to the fascinating world of bugs, highlighting their important roles in our ecosystem. Following the introduction, embark on a short, guided hike where young detectives will use magnifying glasses to observe various insects in their natural habitats. Registration is required. To register, call 406.755.2706, ext. 0.

Sundays with Camo

Lone Pine State Park

Sundays, June 2, 9, 23 and 30, 2 p.m.

Join FWP on one of four Sundays in June for an exploration into the world of the agency’s resident bull snake, Camo.

“Discover the unique characteristics and behaviors of these slithery inhabitants as we observe Camo and witness him enjoy his weekly meal, offering a glimpse into the life of these misunderstood creatures,” according to FWP.

No registration required.

Wild Horse Island as seen from Big Arm State Park on Sept. 19, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Discover the Joys of the Outdoors with “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” Program at Lone Pine State Park

FWP is hosting a Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop at Lone Pine State Park in late June.

The program is $45 and will focus on outdoor skills, including map navigation, hiking techniques and archery lessons, as well as outdoor photography, nature journaling and more.

The workshop is Friday evening, June 21, and all day Saturday, June 22.

This event offers an opportunity to learn hands-on outdoor skills from local experts, fostering a deeper connection with nature and building confidence for responsible outdoor adventures.

The program is designed to provide valuable resources and skills that extend beyond the event itself. The structure includes engaging plenary sessions and three themed tracks. Each track offers a variety of options tailored to enhance your outdoor experience:

Outdoor Essentials: Master practical skills such as Leave No Trace ethics, map navigation, safe hiking techniques, and archery.

Ecological Discoveries: Deepen your appreciation for nature through bird, wildflower, and tree identification.

Nature’s Arts: Capture the beauty of the outdoors with photography, watercolor, sketching, and nature journaling.

With small group sessions of 10-15 participants, each attendee will receive personalized guidance, ensuring a meaningful and educational experience.

Space is limited. To register, visit https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/213609 beginning at 10 a.m. on May 25. For more information, contact Kylie Kembel at 406-444-5280 or email [email protected].

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