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Montana Birding and Nature Trail
Discover the Nature of Montana...

Add a Route

Download the Handbook

Site Nomination Form 


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.

Download the How-to-Guide

Site Nomination Form

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 *)

1. Site

    *Name of location:
    *Site Owner/Agency
    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 

*Your email: 

*Your address:

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

Other: (describe):_____________________________________________ 

Habitats found at the site. (Check all that apply.)           

Habitat   Habitat  
Deciduous woods   Slough  
Coniferous woods   Sagebrush  
Mixed woods   Marsh/Wetland  
Old-growth forest   Alpine  
Burned forest   River Riparian  
Shrub/scrub   Residential  
Grassland   Cliff/Talus  
Crop field   Lake/Pond  
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  

OHV/ATV    Other  

Is the site safe for visitors? _____________________________________________

Is the site or wildlife sensitive to disturbance? _____________________________

2. Facilities

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 

Other ______________________________________________ 

Does the site have any of the following services nearby?

(Check if services available and note proximity to site if possible)

Other (list)  

Does the site have specific regulations?  If so, please include. 

2. Programming

Does the site have other attributes? Check all that apply & describe briefly.

Historical     Geological

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.


Reviewer name: 

Site name: 

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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