Montana’s American Prairie Welcomes Visitors and Opens 2023 Reservation System
“Whether you come for one day or one week, we invite you to get off the beaten path and make memories in a truly unique corner of Montana,” said Mike Kautz, Director of Public Access and Recreation at American Prairie. “These prairie grasslands are a great location to explore for anyone who enjoys wildlife watching, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, or hunting.”
American Prairie will open online reservations for the 2023 visitation season March 13 at 8:00 am. Members of the public are invited to learn about and explore Montana’s shortgrass prairie and wildlife by planning a trip or visiting the National Discovery Center in downtown Lewistown. Considering the steady increase in visitor numbers, guests interested in reserving an American Prairie hut, cabin, or campground space are encouraged to make reservations early.
Online reservations for the 2023 season will open next week at AmericanPrairie.org. American Prairie offers a variety of overnight accommodations for families and groups to stage adventures onto the prairie grasslands. Price points range from $10-$18 per night for a tent campsite, $18-$36 per night for an RV spot, and $165 per night for a yurt that sleeps up to nine. Visitors are encouraged to make reservations early if they are interested in staying at one of three Myers Family Huts on the PN, Antelope Creek Campground, or Buffalo Camp.
Reservation booking links will be available at americanprairie.org/visit. The website offers information and trip planning resources, including maps, lodging descriptions, and amenity lists. Visitors also are encouraged to review safety considerations prior to staying on the prairie.
The number of visitors to American Prairie lodging facilities surged over two hundred percent since 2020. That increase was largely driven by Montana residents seeking outdoor adventures in less crowded parts of the state during the height of the COVID pandemic. Kautz says growth last year was more gradual, which has helped the organization keep pace with visitor needs.
“The visitation surge we experienced during the initial COVID years has begun to level off,” said Kautz. “Many Montanans rediscovered their publicly accessible lands and the uncrowded open spaces of the state during the height of the pandemic. We welcomed many new visitors to the prairie and look forward to seeing them return each year.”
American Prairie hosted 1,448 overnight reservations last year, which is a slight increase over the previous year. Montana residents accounted for 78% of all reservations at American Prairie’s hut system and 53% of campground reservations. A reservation is defined as a group reserving one unit of lodging (campsite, hut or cabin), and not a count of individual visitors.
In addition to overnight reservations, American Prairie tracked more than 3,697 hunter days on deeded properties enrolled in the 2022 Block Management program. That total includes over 500 hunter days on the 73 unit, which opened for visitation and hunting for the first time last year.
National Discovery Center Welcomes Public for the Second Year
American Prairie’s National Discovery Center, located at 302 W. Main in Lewistown, is open for its second year of operation. The visitor facility serves as a jumping off point for adventures and as an interactive educational center to teach visitors about the significance of Montana’s prairie ecosystem.
The National Discovery Center is free to the public and features interactive exhibits, community meeting spaces, and the Ken Burns American Heritage Theater. Last year, the facility welcomed over 2,500 visitors into the exhibit space. Eighty percent of visitors were Montanans and nearly half of visitors were from the local community of Lewistown.
According to David Cunningham, the executive director of the National Discovery Center, the goal this year is to welcome even more visitors and offer more services and events for the community.
“Programming at the National Discovery Center is already up and running for the 2023 season, and we are very excited about this year’s schedule of speakers and presentations,” said Cunningham.
“We started with our inaugural ‘Prairie Lectures’ event featuring a wildlife biologist from Pheasants Forever and then had a visit from our partners at ZooMontana, who brought live animals to Lewistown as part of our ‘ECO-Critters’ series,” added Cunningham.
- March 30 / 7:30pm – Baroque Music Montana Presents Carrie Krause and Julie Gosswiller. Carrie Krause is an established violinist and concertmaster of the Bozeman Symphony. Pianist Julie Gosswiller collaborates with renowned musicians across the country and teaches at Montana State University.
- April 13 / 6pm – Jason Baldes: “Land Rematriation with Buffalo Restoration is Reconciliation” Jason Baldes, the Tribal Buffalo Program Manager for the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, will offer an hour-long presentation at the NDC and will then take part in a panel discussion with members of Montana Tribes who are also creating and managing their own bison programs.
- May 6 / 10:00am–4:00pm – American Prairie presents ECO-Critters with ZooMontana. ECO-Critters continues its second season with another exciting visit from ZooMontana staff who bring with them an assortment of live animals from around the world!
- July 1 from 1–6pm – Historic Indian Trade and Camp Blankets: A History and Public Appraisal with Barry Friedman. Barry Friedman is a six-time Emmy-nominated comedy writer, foremost authority on historic Indian Trade and Camp Blankets, and the consultant for Pendleton.
The National Discovery Center is open Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Visit americanprairie.org/national-discovery-center to learn more, and follow American Prairie on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and programming.
About American Prairie
American Prairie’s vision is to create a vast and collaboratively-managed prairie destination that serves as a fully functioning ecosystem for wildlife, and offers visitors permanent access to the landscape that shaped our nation’s character. Already open to the public for recreation including camping and hunting, American Prairie offers visitors an opportunity to connect with nature on a truly grand scale. Learn more at americanprairie.org.
Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.