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

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East Fork Lolo Creek

Wildlife at the Edge

The Richness at the Edge of Two Habitats

Here, you can walk on a road with beaver-created wetlands on one side and forest on the other.

East Fork Lolo Creek Site Map

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Field Notes

East Fork Lolo Creek pools into lush wetlands, thanks to a series of beaver dams. Yellow warblers, goldfinches, cedar waxwings, and willow flycatchers flit among the open willows. Nearby western larch and lodgepole pines shelter western tanagers, Townsend's warblers, and pileated woodpeckers. Columbia spotted frogs and long-toed salamanders find home in older beaver ponds, oxbows, or nearby wetlands.

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Habitat Link

Note the evergreen forest on one side and the open wetlands on the other. You're standing at the edge of two habitats. Often, bird diversity is highest where species can benefit from two kinds of habitats. Enjoy this kind of "edge-effect" birding.

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Cultural Link

When Lewis and Clark followed Lolo Creek, they stayed clear of the brushy creek bottom, looking down on the creek from the wooded hillsides. Lewis noted the stream was "choked" with beaver. How does it look today?

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Viewing Tip

Walk along the forest road about a half-mile for good birding overlooking the wetlands on one side with the woods on the other. Your best chance to see beaver at work is in the early morning or at dusk.

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Helpful Hint

Logging trucks sometimes use this road. Stay to one side and park only in the parking area on your left immediately after the bridge.

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Getting There

From Lolo Pass: 1/2 mile past Lee Creek, turn right on Forest Road 461. Cross bridge and turn into the snowmobile parking area (on left).
From Lolo:Approx. 1 mile past Lolo Hot Springs, turn left.

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Contact

Lolo National Forest, Missoula Ranger District,
Fort Missoula Bldg. 24, Missoula MT 59804; (406) 329-3750

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Site Information

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