Add a Route
How to create a new section for the Montana Birding and Nature Trail
This step-by-step 2006 guide to creating a birding and nature trail gives communities a framework for creating a new route linked into a statewide system of local trails that compose the Montana Birding and Nature Trail. While based on Montana's designated pilot Bitterroot Trail, the handbook gives pertinent suggestions for communities outside the state as well. Note that this effort is a work in progress, to be refined and improved based on suggestions from within and outside of the state.
The handbook project was made possible thanks to the National Forest Foundation, the University of Montana Avian Science Center and the Montana Natural History Center.
The Montana Birding and Nature Trail Steering Committee developed the following form for communities to use for site nominations. Please cut and paste and fill in the blanks for your trail:
Site Nomination Form
Montana Birding and Nature Trail
The Montana Birding and Nature Trail is a network of outstanding birding and nature viewing sites along thematic routes that stretch across Montana. We’re creating a pilot route in your community. The (YOUR TRAIL NAME HERE) will run from X ______TO X_____ and will showcase the natural and scenic sites in your area. Each site along the route must be open to the public or open with permission, be able to accommodate wildlife watchers, and be easily and safely accessed. We’re soliciting nominations for potential sites through public meetings, on-line and mail-in applications. Completed applications will be reviewed and site visits made to each nominated site. Nomination does not guarantee acceptance as a site along the trail.
To nominate a site, please complete the application as soon as possible and to the best of your knowledge. Return it to _________email________ Nomination deadline: __________
Please Print or Type (Please fill in all areas marked with an *)
|*Name of location:|
|Owner/Agency Street Address|
|Owner/Agency City Owner/Agency Zip Code:|
|*Contact person or manager of site:|
|Phone # of above person: Fax #:|
|Email of contact: Web address(if available)|
|Size of Site County Latitude/Longitude|
|Nearest Town to site
Map attached Please provide a map if you can and detailed directions to the site from nearest town or major road. Include distances between turns and direction of travel.
| *Your Name(Nominator) *Your phone
Any additional Contacts/People Knowledgeable about the Site?
Is there safe and legal access to the site? If no, please explain.
2. Site Information
*Please describe what makes this site a special place for viewing birds and other wildlife.
List the most easily viewed birds and wildlife at the site. Is it known for a particular species? If the site has a checklist(s), please attach.
Is there a special story or theme for this site?
List any special viewing tips for this site. Attach a site map if available.
What are the best times for visiting this site? Check all that apply.
Morning Evening Night All Day
Spring Summer Fall Winter
Habitats found at the site. (Check all that apply.)
|Burned forest||River Riparian|
|Aspen Grove||Other (describe)|
Describe any additional unique or unusual features of the site:
Are there other forms of outdoor recreation on the site? (Check if present.)
Hunting Horseback Riding
Fishing Organized Sports
Is the site safe for visitors? _____________________________________________
Is the site or wildlife sensitive to disturbance? _____________________________
Does the site have any of the following facilities?
(Check if present)
Parking Picnic Areas
Restrooms Visitor Centers
Trails Interpretive materials
Boardwalks Boat Ramps
Campgrounds Viewing Blinds
Picnic Areas Concessions/rental
Does the site have any of the following services nearby?
Does the site have specific regulations? If so, please include.
2. ProgrammingDoes the site have other attributes? Check all that apply & describe briefly.
Scenic beauty Botanical
Cultural Museums, visitor centers
Does the site offer.
Guided tours or interpretive programs
Self-guided tours or interpretive programs
Customized birding or wildlife viewing
No formal programming
Environmental education programming
Potential for services or programming
Please list any special nature-based events/festivals at or near site. Include name, theme, date/time of year.
We value your time and expertise. THANK YOU for your participation.
Field Review Form
After you have gathered all your site nominations and whittled down the list with your committee, it’s time to evaluate all sites in the field. This simple review form proved a useful tool for the pilot trail and for taking an interpretive approach to writing the brochure site descriptions.FIELD REVIEW FOR NOMINATED BIRDING AND NATURE TRAIL
Recreational opportunity: (pullout, hike, float, bike, etc.)
Date, time, weather:
Photos taken: (note and attach later –or send digital via email)
1.What conservation story can be told at this site? Please be specific.
(Example of topic possibilities—keystone species, fire ecology, bird species dependent on multi-story riparian canopy, flooding, edge effect, declining grasslands, native plants vs. weeds).
2. What are the main bird and wildlife species visible here? What about wildflower blooms? Butterflies? Dragonflies? Note seasons and viewing opportunities.
3. What are the main habitats here? Be specific (example: lodgepole pine forest, and willow, alder riparian)
4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the site? Please be specific—scenic vs. impacted; quiet vs. highway noise; safety, access, seasonal viewing opportunities; cultural connections; unique or unusual habitats vs. typical; conservation story potential; restoration potential; bird species from hot list; native species vs. weeds; ecological health, etc. (Use other side of paper to go into detail)
5. What is your overall opinion of this site as a candidate for the Birding and Nature Trail?
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