A Taste of the 19th Century

A fun, outdoor fundraiser to support educational programs at Travelers’ Rest. Friday, September 13, 2024.

Please join us on September 13, at Travelers’ Rest State Park for a unique event to support educational programs like field trips, Trekker Kids, and Saturday Storytelling.

A Taste of the 19th Century includes a dinner of Expedition-inspired cuisine from A Moveable Feast catering.. Our neighbors at Lolo Creek Distillery will mix up some festive cocktails and Lolo Peak Brewing Company will provide beer.

Each ticket includes a commemorative pint cup and one drink ticket.

During the event, you can visit with demonstrators to learn more about the Lewis & Clark Expedition. A live auction will feature one-of-a-kind experience packages. And, make sure you save room for our famous dessert auction of donated cakes, pies, and more!

Click Below to Purchase Your Tickets Today!

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Indigenous Demonstration Days

Indigenous artists and elders share both traditional skills and contemporary artwork.


Travelers’ Rest field trips offer fun, informal learning for students of all ages. To ensure great experiences for both children and adults on these field trips, we recommend a maximum of 20 students per station, though we can accommodate groups of 28 students when an additional chaperone accompanies them. (Classrooms may be split into two groups.) Note that certain field trip topics have a maximum capacity of 20 students to maintain student safety, assure program quality, and manage time. Be sure to carefully read through the listings below as you plan your field trip. We look forward to seeing you at the park!

Thanks to the generosity of the members and donors of Travelers’ Rest Connection, all field trips are offered free of charge.




From clothing to flintlock weapons to navigational equipment, Travelers’ Rest has a large collection of replica items that illustrate what life was like for explorers in the early 19th century. Students participate in an interactive presentation that includes stories from the Corps of Discovery’s journey through what is now western Montana. Kindergarteners through second graders investigate replica items through a fun, hands-on matching game. Indoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, English CC
Grade Level: K-2, 3-6
Capacity: 20 students or 28 students with an additional chaperone provided by school


Walk in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition! Travelers’ Rest is the only archaeologically confirmed campsite along the Lewis and Clark Trail. In this program, students learn about the scientific process and the technology used to pinpoint the location of the Travelers’ Rest site and see the areas that were excavated to uncover the campfire and latrine. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, Math CC, English CC, Health
Grade Level: K-12
Capacity: 20 students


Under the mandate of President Thomas Jefferson, Captains Lewis and Clark, their sergeants, and Private Whitehouse kept detailed journals about their trip across the continent. In this program, students hear what the expedition members had to say when they visited Travelers’ Rest and try to decipher their 19th-century descriptions of plants and animals. Students also make their own careful observations and write a journal entry to record their experience at Travelers’ Rest. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, Math CC, English CC, Arts, Health
Grade Level: 3-4, 5-8
Capacity: 20 students or 28 students with an additional chaperone provided by school


Students will also use primary sources to learn about individual members of the Corps of Discovery and the diverse backgrounds and skills that contributed to the success of the Expedition. Students will complete small group discussion and individual reflection activities.

Content Standards: Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level: 4-8
Capacity: 30 students



Hunting and intuition are incredibly valuable skills for surviving in the harsh climates of Montana. Your students will love this opportunity to play these traditional games while learning more about what life was like for the people who lived here at the place called “No Salmon.” Closed-toed shoes are required. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, English CC, Health, IEFA
Grade Level: K-5
Capacity: 20 students


After practicing some Native Games in Level 1, your students will have the opportunity to play a full game of Double Ball as well as discuss the importance of working as a team for the traditional Salish people. Due to the physical nature of this field trip program, groups of 16 or less are required. Close-toed shoes are required. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, English CC, Health, IEFA
Grade Level: 6-12
Capacity: 20 students


Explore the seasonal round typical of the traditional Salish way of life and learn how the Plateau peoples met their seasonal needs for food, shelter, tools, and clothing with resources available at different times of the year and in different places. Students work in teams to explore the seasonal round and to gain awareness and appreciation of the interconnectedness of people with the natural world. Indoors.
Content Standards: Communication Arts, Science, Social Studies, IEFA, Workplace Competencies
Grade Level: 4-6
Capacity: 20 students or 28 students with an additional chaperone provided by school


During the course of their expedition, the Corps of Discovery traveled through the
homelands of at least 50 Indigenous nations who spoke many different languages and dialects. In this
program, students will explore the challenges that came with trying to communicate across barriers of
language and culture, and the importance of the Corps’ diverse membership in their ultimate success.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Language Arts, IEFA
Grade Level: 3-6
Capacity: 20 students



The cottonwood forest is essential to the health of Lolo Creek, the stream that runs through Travelers’ Rest. Students will explore the forest at Travelers’ Rest, learn about the life cycle of trees, and what distinguishes the cottonwood from other species. This field trip provides a good introduction to plant science for young learners. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, English CC, Health
Grade Level: Pre-K-3
Capacity: 20 students


Predators abound in Montana’s wild lands. A hands-on inspection of animal parts including jaw bones, pelts and skulls, gives students clues about abilities and diets of these mammals. Students will also learn about the valuable role of all animals in our ecosystem and explore how the natural environment would change without them. Outdoors (preferred) or Indoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, English CC, Health
Grade Level: 3-6
Capacity: 20 students or 28 students with an additional chaperone provided by school


Travelers’ Rest State Park is habitat to more than 130 bird species, an abundance of native plants and many other flora and fauna. Throughout the year, the seasonal changes in habitat and inhabitants can be witnessed through the Solo Hike along the Nature Trail. Students will have the opportunity to experience nature on their own or in pairs while reflecting on the different ways that Travelers’ Rest State Park is an important place. This program is facilitated by the classroom teacher, rather than a Travelers’ Rest staff member. Outdoors.
Content Standards: Social Studies, Science, English CC, Health
Grade Level: 3-12
Capacity: 20 students or 28 students with an additional chaperone provided by school


Creeks, rivers, and streams are the arteries that bring life and texture to the state of Montana. Students will explore the riparian habitat along Lolo Creek in Travelers’ Rest State Park and search for the plants and animals that call it home; learn about the importance of healthy riparian systems; delve into the dynamics of rivers; and become familiar with the greatest riparian habitat architect in history. Outdoors.

Grade: 3+

Capacity: 20 Students 

For nearly two decades, Winter Storytelling at Travelers’ Rest has been a seasonal celebration of the Séliš tradition of sharing stories during the cold winter months. Each Saturday from January 6, 2024, through March 2, 2024, we will gather at the Travelers’ Rest State Park Visitor Center – and on Zoom – at 11 am to hear stories from elders, authors, historians, and naturalists.

Admission to Winter Storytelling is $5 per person; free for members of Travelers’ Rest Connection. A Zoom link is provided below; we hope all of our Zoom attendees will join the Connection or make a donation using the Donate button at the top of this page. Thank you!

2024 Schedule – Subject to Change

For information on each week’s speaker or topic, please click on the + beside the date below.

1/6/2024   Ednor Therriault, Big Sky, Big Parks

Therriault’s first book, Montana Curiosities was published in 2010. The laugh-out-loud guide introduced readers to the offbeat people, places, and events of the Treasure State. Today, Therriault continues to explore Montana and bring home interesting stories. In his latest book, Big Sky, Big Parks, Therriault shares his experiences on the road and in the parks with humor and insight in thirty stories that chronicle the triumphs and tragedies that make traveling between Glacier and Yellowstone such a rewarding endeavor. Under the pseudonym Bob Wire, Therriault has written and recorded five albums of original music, and traveled around the state for 25 years playing guitar in honky tonks and festivals, entertaining crowds and picking up local knowledge along the way.


1/13/2024   Loren Flynn, Connection through Storytelling

Storytelling is as old as the spoken word. A good story transcends fable and it a blend of art and science that connects us to places, ideas and each other. Learn some of the aspects of storytelling, some of the science of how it connects us, and how storytelling has shaped the growth of Travelers’ Rest State Park.

Loren Flynn served as the Executive Director of Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association from 2002-2009 and from 2009-2019 as the Park Manager for Bitterroot District of Montana State Parks, which includes Travelers’ Rest. Since 2019 he has served as the Regional Recreation Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks where he oversees recreation management at 10 state parks, 15 wildlife management areas and 75 fishing access sites as well as private lands/public access programs.

1/20/2024   Chris La Tray, Montana's Poet Laureate

Chris La Tray approaches the practice of poetry the same as he does the spiritual life of an Anishinaabe person: which is to say, if one lives an Anishinaabe life, with particular attention to the seven guiding principles of the Seven Grandfather teachings – Humility, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth, Respect, and Love – then every footstep becomes a prayer. If one approaches poetry in a similar fashion, recognizing that everything that happens may be viewed as a poem, and that every moment in life is an experience best paid constant and careful attention to, then every footstep becomes a poem. La Tray is a Métis storyteller and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He is the author of One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large. His next book, Becoming Little Shell will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2024.


1/27/2024   Debra Magpie Earling, The Lost Journals of Sacajawea

Debra Magpie Earling is the author of Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea. An earlier version of the latter, written in verse, was produced as an artist book during the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. She has received both a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She retired from the University of Montana where she was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is Bitterroot Salish.


2/3/2024   Shirley Trahan of Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee

Note: our speaker will join us on Zoom today

Qe es nte qeqs čšt̓im qeqs k̓ʷłqeyxʷm n̓e taqs hoy taqs oo̓st łu sqlix̣ʷlč̓musšn.

The Culture Committee seeks to preserve, protect and perpetuate the living culture and traditional way of life of our people.

Shirley Trahan has been an important part of these efforts in her role as Senior Translator and Language Specialist. She will share traditional stories and talk about her work.


2/10/2024   Milo McLeod, Secrets of Two Historic Homesteads

Retired archaeologist for the Lolo National Forest, C. Milo McLeod, shares “Secrets of Two Historic Homesteads.” The Hogback and Morgan-Case homesteads were acquired by the Lolo National Forest in 1979. Archaeology at the sites revealed surprising secrets about the people who lived and worked there including “Annie” Morgan, an African-American woman who traveled west after the Civil War.

For 28 years, McLeod managed the Lolo National Forest’s Heritage Program. Milo has worked closely with Indigenous groups, specifically the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe, on issues specific to cultural resource management and traditional cultural properties.


2/17/2024   Collector Lee Silliman talks about wildlife artist Carl Rungius

Carl Rungius was the master portrayer of the big game animals of North America in their natural habitat.  Born and trained in Germany as a wildlife painter, he emigrated to the United State in 1894, lured by popular stories and art of the American West.  An 1895 excursion to Wyoming hooked him on the region’s wild animals.  After fifteen years as an illustrator, Rungius discovered the Canadian Rockies, and decided to devote his energies to fine art painting of the great game animals of the Northern Rockies.  His genius was meticulous understanding of faunal anatomy, dramatic lighting and coloration, and superb background landscapes.  Collector Lee Silliman will weave the facets of his life, how he painted the animals, and the amazing products of his genius into a beautiful tapestry.

2/24/2024   Bring Them Home - Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Bring Them Home tells the story of a small group of Blackfoot people and their mission to establish the first wild buffalo herd on their ancestral territory since the species’ near-extinction a century ago, an act that would restore the land, re-enliven traditional culture and bring much needed healing to their community. Directors Daniel Glick, Ivan MacDonald, and Ivy MacDonald will talk about the film, narrated by award-winning Blackfeet/Nez Perce actress Lily Gladstone. The World Premiere of Bring Them Home takes place at the 2024 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Ivy MacDonald is a Montana based director, filmmaker, producer and cinematographer. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe of Browning Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana in 2017 with a BFA in Digital Filmmaking. Over the last six years she has produced, shot and directed work for Showtime, ESPN, and HBO. Most recently she produced the Showtime documentary series: Murder In Big Horn, which focuses on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservation in rural Montana. She was also a 4th World Media Lab Fellow for Tracy Rector’s indigenous filmmakers program and an alumni of the Firelight Media Doc Lab fellowship.

Daniel Glick is a director, writer, producer, cinematographer and editor. For his short film, Iniskim (2019), he was nominated for three Emmy awards (directing, producing and photography) and won one for photography. His first feature documentary film, A Place to Stand, the true story of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, broadcast nationally on PBS in 2018. He has directed and produced six fiction shorts and more than twenty short and branded documentaries, which collectively have won close to a dozen festival awards.

Ivan MacDonald is an Emmy award winning filmmaker who is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe. His most recent project Murder In Big Horn premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on Showtime. He was an inaugural fellow of the Illuminative and Netflix Producers Fellowship and is alumni of the Firelight Media Documentary Lab with his sister Ivy. The MacDonald siblings also created When They Were Here, a documentary that sheds light on the invisible crisis known as the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls crisis.

3/2/2024   Christopher Preston, Tenacious Beasts

Christopher Preston teaches environmental philosophy at the University of Montana, Missoula. His expertise revolves around the idea of the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human influence is everywhere. He studies emerging technologies for their impact on the human-nature experience, as well as restoration and rewilding efforts. His award-winning book, The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World, has been translated into six languages. His latest book, Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals (February 2023), offers hope for recovering species as well as lessons about how to live with them.

Previous Programs

Access recordings of previous Saturday Storytelling sessions by clicking on program titles below. Note: not all sessions were recorded.

1/7/2023   Cameron & Aspen Decker, Sqelixʷ ‘Salish’ Storytelling - Recording Available through March 4, 2023

Sqelixʷ ‘Salish’ Storytelling incorporates Salish Language, Plains Indian Sign Language, and storytelling to discuss Salish culture, identity, and values. This presentation teaches Indigenous understandings about native storytelling, and Indigenous connection with the land. Aspen and Cameron Decker focus on Coyote stories to teach about Salish place names/Montana geography, art, and the Salish seasonal round. Coyote stories are told throughout the winter months. 

Note: This recording will only be available when snow is on the ground, in accordance with Séliš storytelling traditions.

1/14/2023   Backstories from the Backroads of Montana

Since 1991, Backroads of Montana has taken us from our living rooms to some of the most unique places in the Treasure State. The series airs regularly on MontanaPBS. Host John Twiggs will be joined by William Marcus and other members of the Backroads crew to share some of their favorite backstories about the show and our home, Montana.


1/21/2023   Shirley Trahan, Senior Translator and Language Specialist at the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee

From the website of the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee:

Qe es nte qeqs čšt̓im qeqs k̓ʷłqeyxʷm n̓e taqs hoy taqs oo̓st łu sqlix̣ʷlč̓musšn.

The Culture Committee seeks to preserve, protect and perpetuate the living culture and traditional way of life of our people.

Shirley Trahan has been an important part of these efforts in her role as Senior Translator and Language Specialist. She will share traditional stories and talk about her work.

1/28/2023 Historian Hal Stearns on Sacajawea

From historian Hal Stearns,

“Sacajawea: Facts and fancy about one of my favorite figures of the American West.

Let’s explore the legends and the known history of a young woman who had to deal with cultural, social, political barriers and without doubt, be one of the most vital members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”


2/4/2023 Greg Peters, author of Our National Forests

In Our National Forests, Greg Peters gives an inside look at America’s most important public lands and the people committed to protecting them and ensuring access for all. From the Forest Service growing millions of seedlings in the West each year, to their efforts to save the hellbender salamander in Appalachia, the story spans the breadth of the country and its diverse ecology. And people are at the center, whether the dedicated Forest Service members or the everyday citizens who support and tend to the protected lands near their homes.


2/11/2023 Poet Corrie Williamson reads from and discusses her book The River Where You Forgot My Name

The River Where You Forgot My Name travels between early 1800s Virginia and Missouri and present-day western Montana, a place where “bats sail the river of dark.” In their crosscutting, the poems in this collection reflect on American progress; technology, exploration, and environment; and the ever-changing landscape at the intersection of wilderness and civilization.
Three of the book’s five sections follow poet Corrie Williamson’s experiences while living for five years in western Montana. The remaining sections are persona poems written in the voice of Julia Hancock Clark, wife of William Clark, who she married soon after he returned from his western expedition with Meriwether Lewis. Julia lived with Clark in the then-frontier town of St. Louis until her early death in 1820. She offers a foil for the poet’s first-person Montana narrative and enriches the historical perspective of the poetry, providing a female voice to counterbalance the often male-centered discovery and frontier narrative. Winner, Montana Book Award-Honor Book, 2019


2/18/2023 Lucy Vanderburg, elder and member of the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee

In October, the former Higgins Street Bridge was renamed to honor Sxʷúytis Smx̣e, or Grizzly Bear Tracks, a prominent Séliš sub-chief whose descendants maintain an important presence within the tribe. Jesuit missionaries gave the Bear Tracks family the last name “Vanderburg” in the 1800s.

Founding member of the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee and Bear Tracks descendant, Lucy Vanderburg, said she’s proud of her relatives’ efforts to preserve Séliš culture.

“And I know in my heart the renaming of this bridge is pleasing to Bear Tracks and to all the Salish Pend d’Oreille people,” Vanderburg said.

Lucy Vanderburg will share stories of her ancestors.


2/25/2023 Artist Tom Schenarts talks about his sculpture, Dividing the Corps

Long time Montana artist (and Travelers’ Rest State Park volunteer) Tom Schenarts created this sculpture to depict the departure of Lewis and Clark from Travelers’ Rest on July 3, 1806.

Meriwether Lewis marked this occasion in his journal, saying “I took leave of my worthy friend and companion Capt. Clark and the party accompanyed him. I could not avoid feeling much concern on this occasion although I hoped this separation was only momentary.”

The dividing of the Corps was a courageous and dangerous decision by the Captains. The Corps was already a small contingent in a vast wilderness. The nine men selected to explore the Road to the Buffalo in Blackfoot territory took a considerable risk.

Tom will talk about his creative process and the many details which make this sculpture an intimate portrait of an important moment in American history.


3/4/2023 Dr. James Wall, Oral Historian for the National Museum of Forest Service History

In 2021, the National Museum of Forest Service History received a very generous financial gift for the development and support of an oral history program to capture and preserve individual oral histories from America’s conservation history.

Dr. James Wall is the Oral Historian at the National Museum of Forest Service History. He received his PhD in American History from the University of Georgia in 2018 and taught at Augusta University and Angelo State University before moving to Missoula. He has also worked on the staff of Civil Rights in Black and Brown, an NEH-funded oral history project and digital humanities website documenting the history of grassroots civil rights activism across the state of Texas.

He will present a short talk describing the practice of oral history, as well as the exciting projects in the works at the museum.

1/8/2022   Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee, Coyote Stories

Elders and staff from the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee share traditional stories and reflect on what these stories tell us about tribal culture, history, and the people's relationship with the land.

From the Culture Committee's Facebook page:
"Storytelling begins after the first snowfall. This is a time of year when the Selis and Qlispel people relax from the summer and early fall harvesting seasons. Stories are told by parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to the younger generations. The children are encouraged to sit quietly and listen with thoughts of their own about being part of the stories. Salish elder Eneas “Tom Puss” Pierre remembered that during the long winter nights when he was a little boy, he and other children would listen “with our mouths hanging open” in amazement.

Many of the stories tell of Snč̓l̓é - Coyote - who prepared the world for human beings who were yet to come. He showed the right way to live with each other and with the earth and its creatures. The stories teach and tell of values and morals. From these stories we can still today see landmarks that tell us of creation of the world and human beings."

1/15/2022   John N. Maclean, A Sense of Place

An award winning author and journalist, John N. Maclean spent thirty years at the Chicago Tribune, most of that time as a Washington correspondent, before taking up a second career as an author. Since then, he has written five nonfiction books about wildland fires. His newest book, Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River, includes a chapter chronicling Merriwether Lewis’ journey from Travelers’ Rest  along the  Road to the Buffalo.                               

Maclean is the son of Norman Maclean, author of A River Runs through It, the acclaimed novella about life in early twentieth century Montana. “It’s a good thing to have a sense of place, and Montana more than any place is where my family has its roots,” Maclean says. “We’ve been tied there in one way or another for five generations and counting. I’ve fished the Blackfoot River, the river in my book title, throughout my life, as my father did before me, his father before him, and my sons do now.”

Photo by Lindsay Atnip, in front of the giant larch “Gus” at Seeley Lake, the largest in North America.


1/22/2022   Lauren and Justin Karnopp, Fishing for an Audience

Lauren and Justin Karnopp are the hosts and producers of The February Room Podcast and owners of CD Fishing USA. Following a decade in the outdoor television industry, where Lauren and Justin worked as an editor and producer, respectively, they took the plunge and launched their own retail and media business in 2020.
The February Room Podcast is now nearing its 100th episode and features interviews with all sorts of anglers, artists, guides, conservationists, and everyday folks with a good fishing yarn to spin.
CD Fishing USA sells tackle across North America via their consumer direct e-commerce site and local fly shops throughout the Rockies. The parent company, Composite Developments, is a New Zealand-based manufacturer with a 40-year history of innovations in the graphite rod manufacturing industry.
Lauren handles all of the video/audio editing and social media content for The February Room and CD Fishing USA, and still works as a freelance editor in the outdoor television industry. Justin is responsible for the day-to-day marketing, shipping and housekeeping operations for their businesses, works as a fly fishing guide on many waters throughout Western Montana, and freelance writes for various outdoor magazines.


1/29/2022   Hal Stearns, Larger Than Life Leaders in Montana History

From Sitting Bull to Custer, from Copper Kings to Wheeler and Mansfield, from Rankin to Cobell, and more. Under the microscope, a few leaders are great, some are famous, others fair at best. The past gives us many lessons. Whether politician, military commander, educator, chief, or coach, leadership is key. It is a mix of art and innovation, charisma and communication, brave or brash. Hal Stearns tells stories about Montana’s past leaders to start a discussion about Montana today.                                                                                        
An educator for 34 years, today Hal is an instructor for the University of Montana’s Lifelong Learning Institute and Humanities Montana. He has a particularly fond interest in sharing his passion for Montana and the West and education with community members, students, teachers and administrators. He has led tours coast to coast and lectured in over 40 states, Germany, England, Japan, Korea and Brazil. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Notre Dame and his advanced degrees are from the University of Montana. His military schools include OCS, Command and General Staff and the Army War College.


2/5/2022   Traditional Stories with Myrna & Greg Dumontier and Gene Beaverhead
Myrna and Greg Dumontier
Gene Beaverhead


2/12/2022   Michaela Shifley, The Language of Feet: The Moccasins of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Beyond

Moccasins made enormous contributions to early exploration and expansion in America. Michaela Shifley will discuss these contributions and their particular importance during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. She will also talk aobut moccasins in museum collections and the important roles that moccasins fulfill for Native communities in today’s world.

Michaela Shifley is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT. Her dissertation project is based around bringing Niitsitapi moccasins out of dusty museum storage spaces and listening to the stories that they have to tell, in partnership with Niitsitapi community members. Born and raised in eastern Montana, Michaela is passionate about helping to preserve and care for the cultural heritage of our great state. Michaela is a former Smithsonian Institution Graduate Student Fellow (2018), Montana Historical Society Dave Walters Fellow (2019), and Buffalo Bill Center of the West Resident Fellow (2019), as well as an alum of the Smithsonian Institution’s Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (2017).


2/19/2022   Rose Bear Don't Walk, Recovering our Roots: Ethnobotany for Community Wellbeing

Rose Bear Don’t Walk seeks to bridge science, culture, and health through her work with traditional indigenous foods and native plants of northwest Montana. A longtime resident of the Flathead Indian Reservation, Rose is a descendant of the Bitterroot Salish and Crow tribes of the state. She has a BA in political science from Yale University. Recently, Rose received a masters of science in environmental studies from the University of Montana having centered her research on the longstanding relationships Salish people have formed with local edible flora and its implications for community health and cultural longevity. Rose currently is one of four women in the 500 Women Scientist inaugural cohort for the “Fellowship for the Future.” This fellowship seeks to help women of color conduct projects to promote equality and social justice in science fields. Rose hopes to increase awareness and usage of traditional food plants while also promoting healthy culturally-relevant habits in her Salish community.   


2/26/2022   Vernon Carroll, Helen Piotopowaka (The Bird That Comes Home) Clarke: Educator and Indian Advocate

Learn more about the extraordinary life of Helen Piotopowaka Clarke (1846 – March 4, 1923), a Piegan Blackfeet and Scottish American actress, educator, and bureaucrat who pioneered as a mixed-race woman in her fields, becoming one of the first women elected to public office in Montana.

Vernon Carroll, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, was born in Cut Bank, Montana, and worked as a cattle rancher there alongside his father, maintaining a lifelong interest in the history and culture of the native peoples who lived in Montana. His ranch itself boasted three buffalo jumps and numerous tipi rings, among other native sites and artifacts. His love of history led him to work for a year as the interim manager of the Glacier County Museum in Cut Bank. In 2002, he retired from ranching when he was hired as the pioneer Interpretative Specialist at the Traveler’s Rest State Park in Lolo, Montana. Vernon retired from the park in 2019 and we are thrilled to have him back as a speaker! 


3/5/2022   Mary Jane Bradbury, Let Me Tell You A Story...The Power of Storytelling

The story of storytelling reflects how people learn and communicate.  Humans have been telling stories for 100,000 years and stories are essential to helping us make sense of the world in which we live.  They preserve and pass on cultural knowledge from generation to generation, and they are what we have in common with others despite our differences.  Through stories, we learn to empathize by understanding other points of view.  Join Mary Jane Bradbury for a journey through the history (and herstory) of storytelling and its increasingly important role in connecting us through our shared humanity.

Mary Jane Bradbury is a storyteller, educator and author who brings history to life for audiences of all ages.  She is a Chautauqua speaker for Humanities Montana and the Colorado Humanities, and has been an Artist in Residence for the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, and the Montana Historical Society in Helena.  Before moving to Montana in 2014, Mary Jane was an interpreter/enactor for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado.  A frequent speaker for our Saturday Storytellling series, we are pleased to welcome her back.


3/12/2022   Torrey Ritter and Sharon Ritter: Wildlife and Habitats of the Lolo Creek Corridor - Precolonization to Now

Torrey is a nongame wildlife biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department (FWP) and is based in Missoula. Torrey grew up in the Bitterroot Valley, where his passion for animals and the great outdoors was nurtured. He has spent most of his life exploring all manner of muck and mire around Montana. He has also worked for various state and federal agencies on different forms of wildlife research and management. His “Tuesdays with Torrey” social media posts for Montana FWP are informative and entertaining glimpses of wildlife and habitat.

Sharon spent 30+ years working as a biologist in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, with an emphasis on wildlife ecology. During that time she wrote several dozen magazine articles and authored one book. As a Certified Biomimicry Specialist, Sharon believes in the power of listening to and learning from nature. Since retiring from Biomimicry 3.8 in 2013, she enjoys having time to also focus on birding, fly fishing, hiking, biking, writing, doing field trips with school classes, and traveling.


4/2/2022   Austin Haney - Rediviva: Reconstructing the Bitterroot Valley of the Mid-19th Century

Rediviva: Reconstructing the Bitterroot Valley of the Mid-19th Century

In the wake of Lewis and Clark, a colorful and diverse cast of characters would find their way west into the modern Bitterroot Valley. From the fur traders of the Hudson Bay Company, Jesuits, merchants, and ambitious soldier-surveyors, to some of the early “fathers of Montana”, the land of the Salish underwent many transformations in these pivotal years. While this era has long since passed into memory, living history allows us to look into a lost world in Montana’s past by experiencing some of what they did firsthand.

Austin Haney is a longtime researcher and reenactor specializing in the 19th Century American and Canadian West. A graduate of the University of Montana, he has spent the last several years helping bring history to life with the National Park Service and the Lewis and Clark Foundation.


5/7/2022   Bill Taylor - Clearwater Shortline: Laying Tracks along the Lolo Trail

Clearwater Shortline: Laying Tracks along the Lolo Trail

Bill Taylor and his wife, Jan, research the early railroad surveys done in Montana during the 19th century that led to the railroad infrastructure in place today. A recent focus of their research is Northern Pacific’s effort to shorten its main line west of Missoula in 1910. Known as the Clearwater Shortline, this construction along Lolo Creek would have followed almost exactly the route of Lewis and Clark over Lolo Pass. You can see some of Northern Pacific’s work along Highway 12 even today. Bill will show you where to look in a multi slide Power Point presentation. He also will talk about Northern Pacific land grants, the reason USFS maps have that checkerboard look, and the lasting impacts of those land grants on Montana.

Bill Taylor is a retired English/history teacher with 35 years of service – the last 29 in Missoula. He and his wife, Jan, have written five railroad history books and are working on another about the Montana Union Railway out of Butte. He and Jan recently hosted the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Society’s 2022 national convention in Missoula.

1/9/2021   Tony Incashola, Coyote Stories

Coyote Stories with Tony Incashola. Tony was born in St. Ignatius, Montana, home of the mission that gives the name Mission Valley to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Reservation lands south of Flathead Lake. Tony was raised by his maternal grandparents, who taught him Salish as his first language. Tony served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. In 1975, Johnny Arlee, another CSKT Tribal Elder, asked Tony to help with a project to preserve Salish culture and language. They and other elders started the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee (SPCC). Tony has been the director of the committee for 25 years.

1/16/2021   Jean Belangie-Nye, Portraits from Eddie’s Club

Jean Belangie Nye is the author of the recently-published “A Corner of Space and Time: Lee Nye’s Eddie’s Club Portraits.” Her late husband, Lee Nye, was a cowboy, a veteran, a poet, a teacher, and a bartender. Most of all, Lee Nye was an artist who captured the souls of a bygone America on film. Using the Eddie Club’s back alley as his studio, he photographed his subjects with black and white film on a Rolleiflex camera using only natural light. Jean will talk about her late husband, his work, and the process of researching and writing the biographies of his subjects, whose faces are familiar to many in Missoula, but whose stories are not.

1/23/2021   Sneed B. Collard III, Birds of the Expedition

Sneed B. Collard III is the author of more than 80 award-winning books. Sneed has evolved through several life-history stages on his way to becoming one of today’s leading children’s authors. In 2006, Sneed was the recipient of the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Children’s Nonfiction Writer of the Year Award for his body of work. A favorite presenter from Winter Storytelling 2020, Sneed will share stories of the many birds encountered by the Corps of Discovery, notably Lewis’s Woodpecker and Clark’s Nutcracker, and the birds of the Old World that informed the understanding of 19th century naturalists.

1/30/2021   Tailyr Irvine, Reservation Mathematics

Tailyr Irvine is a Salish and Kootenai photojournalist born and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018. Her work focuses on providing in-depth representations of the lives and complex issues within the diverse communities that make up Native America. Her online exhibition, Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America, is available to view on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian website.

2/6/2021   Carolyn Gilman, The Maps of Lewis and Clark

Carolyn Gilman is a historian and museum exhibit developer specializing in frontier and Native history. She created Reimagining America: The Maps of Lewis and Clark, an exhibit on display at Travelers’ Rest from January 9 to March 6, 2021. Carolyn is author of “Lewis and Clark: Across the Divide” (2003) and five other books on aspects of Native American and western history. She has worked as an exhibition developer at the Minnesota Historical Society, the Missouri History Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. She was curator of the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Exhibition. She is also an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy.

2/13/2021   Jamie Jonkel, Recent Grizzly Activity in the Bitterroot

James Jonkel is a Wildlife Management Specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, managing black and grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves. Jamie serves on several committees and nonprofit organizations working to reduce bear and human conflict in Western Montana. He will share information and stories about recent grizzly bear activity in the Bitterroot Valley.

2/20/2021   Milo McLeod, Secrets of the Jocko Lakes Fire

Retired archaeologist for the Lolo National Forest, C. Milo McLeod, shares “Secrets of the Jocko Lake Fires.” Milo worked in cultural resources management for over 40 years. For 28 years, he managed the Lolo National Forest’s Heritage Program, including ensuring compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act; developing public outreach programs such as Passport in Time, and conducting determinations of eligibility and listings for the National Register of Historic Places. Milo has worked closely with American Indian groups, specifically the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe, on issues specific to cultural resource management and traditional cultural properties.

2/27/2021   DG House & Frank Finley, Native American Art

DG House, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Tribe of NE Alabama, and Frank Finley, an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, are both noted artists and educators. DG is artist in residence in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and was a Reimagine Montana artist in residence at Travelers’ Rest State Park in 2017. When she’s not on the road, DG lives in Bozeman. Frank is an instructor at Salish Kootenai College and owns 32 Pair of Scissors Studio where he makes and sells silver jewelry, original paintings, prints, and T-shirts. Frank has demonstrated traditional craft, like rope-making and fish traps, at Travelers’ Rest.

DG and Frank describe their unique relationship, “in indigenous culture, many types of familial classifications can and do happen. In our case, we met and have such similar pattern of habits that we ‘recognized’ each other as close family. Within a day of meeting each other over 20 years ago, we have been fast friends, colleagues and family, in no particular order.” They will talk about their art and their experience collaborating on a sculpture to be installed adjacent to Travelers’ Rest State Park in 2021.

3/6/2021   Caroline Patterson, Montana Women Writers

Caroline Patterson has published fiction and nonfiction in publications including Seventeen, Southwest Review and Sunset. She is the author of “Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart,” and two children’s books on natural history. She also edited “Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One’s Own,” “Border to Border: Historic Quilts and Quiltmakers of Montana,” and “Fra Dana: American Impressionist in the Rockies.” She teaches creative writing through the University of Montana and the Missoula Writing Collaborative.

4/3/2021   Kevin O’Bryant, The Too Ne Map and Native American Cartography
Kevin O’Bryant

Kevin O’Briant is an archaeologist and instructor of MOLLI classes at the University of Montana. He spends summer months as a tour guide along the Lewis & Clark trail with Elder Hostel and Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures. His article, “Too Né’s World: The Arikara Map and Native American Cartography” was published in We Proceeded On in 2018. He is currently working on a new article based on further research. Kevin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and pursued his PhD at the University of New Mexico.

5/1/2021   Salish poet Victor Charlo and his daughter, civil advocate Claire Charlo
Victor Charlo

Victor is the great-great grandson of Chief Victor Charlo of the Bitterroot Salish. He was born and raised in Evaro, MT. Victor studied in a Jesuit seminary but ultimately left and to became involved in Native causes through a variety of social justice venues, notably the Poor Peoples’ Campaign. At the University of Montana, he met and befriended famed regional poet, Dick Hugo. Victor received his Master’s Degree in Curriculum from Gonzaga University and returned to the reservation to co-found and principal the first all-Indian high school there, Two Eagle River School. Through the years, Victor’s work has been published in many literary journals and anthologies. Two collections of his poems, Put Sey and Dirty Corner Poems and Other Stories, were published by Many Voices Press.

Claire Charlo

Claire Charlo was home schooled on the Flathead Reservation until the 9th grade. As a child, she built a strong connection with the land, mountains, rivers, and lakes. She spent summers at Agnes Vanderburg’s Cultural Camp, where she learned the Salish language, tribal plant identification, how to tan deer and elk hides, how to bead and make regalia. Claire learned the significance of taking care of the land and the importance of maintaining our relationship with our land, our mother. Claire graduated from Cornell College with a Bachelor’s in Ethnic and Women Studies and went on to graduate with a Juris Doctorate from University of Arizona School of Law. Claire works as a Civil Advocate for the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes. She is a grassroots activist involved with Indigenous movements.

6/5/2021   Christopher Preston, The Resurgent Wild
Christopher Preston

Christopher Preston teaches environmental philosophy at the University of Montana, Missoula. He is author of several books, including The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World. Much of his research connects to the idea of the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human influence is everywhere. He studies emerging technologies for their impact on the human-nature experience, as well as restoration and rewilding efforts. In this presentation, Christopher will look at how the restoration of animals like grizzly bears, bison, and wolves fit with the traditional account of nature preservation and what they might mean for how we think about the surrounding landscape going forward.

10/2/2021   Bruce Baty, Glacial Lake Missoula

The landscape traversed by Lewis and Clark was formed by remarkable geologic forces. About 12,000 years ago, the valleys of western Montana lay beneath a lake nearly 2,000 feet deep. Glacial Lake Missoula formed as the Cordilleran Ice Sheet dammed the Clark Fork River just as it entered Idaho. The rising water behind the glacial dam weakened it until water burst through in a catastrophic flood that raced across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington toward the Pacific Ocean. Thundering waves and chunks of ice tore away soils and mountainsides, deposited giant ripple marks, created the scablands of eastern Washington and carved the Columbia River Gorge. Over the course of centuries, Glacial Lake Missoula filled and emptied in repeated cycles, leaving its story embedded in the land. Bruce taught science at Hellgate High School for 30 years.  He has a Master of Science in Geology from the Univeristy of Montana and continues to educate as a volunteer and presenter at Montana Natural History Center in Missoula. 


11/6/2021   Carl Davis, Six Hundred Generations: An Archaeological History of Montana

American Indian peoples have lived and thrived in Montana since the close of the last great Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago. Their ancient presence here is widely appreciated but the archaeological details of their long Indigenous histories are less well known, partly due to the pace of recent statewide research. This program takes participants on a journey through time, climate, landscapes, technologies and cultures, beginning with the First Americans who followed mammoths to North America. Carl Davis is a former Regional Archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Region in Missoula, Montana. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Montana and University of Pittsburgh. Carl has published extensively on the archaeology of Montana, including the book “Six Hundred Generations: An Archaeological History of Montana.” 


12/4/2021   Lailani Upham, Connecting to Land Through a Tribal Lens

Indigenous stories offer a unique way to understand the power of the natural world and our human connections to it. Through discussion about indigenous peoples’ ways of life, value systems, tribal languages, and stories created long before Montana was established in 1889, participants learn about a personal, soulful relationship to our natural world. Participants also better understand how these elements sustain our identity through history and in modern times. How can our tribal stories and ways of knowing elevate others in their understanding of identity? Participants walk away with a fresh look at who they are and appreciation for the landscape from time immemorial. Lailani Upham is an Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet Nation) tribal member, and a descendent from the Aaniih, Nakoda, and Dakota tribes. She is a journalist, educator, and business developer in indigenous stories and culture.


Winter Storytelling is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.

Travelers’ Rest State Park is home to a remarkable diversity of plants and animals: 

Video Highlights of 2023 at Travelers’ Rest State Park

“It was good!  Their home life was good, they were growing up in a good way, the children of the long ago people.  The land was clean, the air was clean, everything was good.”

Mitch Smallsalmon, Pend d’Oreille elder, 1978
From The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
U. of Nebraska Press (2005)

The site of Travelers’ Rest State Park lies at the hub of an intricate network of trade, travel, and culture developed over thousands of years. The Bitterroot Salish traveled this network of trails to find salmon to the west; buffalo, bull trout, bitterroot and camas to the east; other Salishan speaking people—the Pend d’Oreille and Spokane—to the north; and later, horse country to the south.

“It was a favorite hunting area, especially for deer, and the people would move there for that purpose in the spring.”

From The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Because of the vast resources found here, Native peoples returned to this area throughout the year. Families camped along the banks of Lolo Creek, gathering resources needed to survive the long Rocky Mountain winters. 

Although they were removed from the Bitterroot Valley in 1891, the area still remains an important ancestral homeland for the Salish people. Travelers’ Rest State Park helps to preserve a small part of this landscape and interpret its history for visitors from around the region and throughout the world.

“we continued our rout down the W. side of the river about 5 miles further and encamped on a large creek which falls in on the West as our guide informes that we should leave the river at this place and the weather appearing settled and fair I determined to halt the next day rest our horses and take some scelestial Observations.    we called this Creek Travellers rest.    it is about 20 yards wide a fine bould clear runing stream…”

Journal of Meriwether Lewis, September 9, 1805

Travelers’ Rest State Park is home to the ONLY archaeologically verified campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, Travelers’ Rest is a notable location along the Lewis and Clark Trail for many reasons. This was their last stop before beginning their journey across the treacherous Bitterroot Mountains in September 1805. The Corps of Discovery returned to this place at the end of June, 1806, to finalize their plans to travel separately through what is now Montana before reuniting on August 12 near Sanish, North Dakota.

“a little before Sunset we arrived at our old encampment on the S. Side of the Creek a little above its enterance into Clarks river.    here we Encamped with a view to remain 2 days in order to rest ourselves and horses and make our final arrangements for Seperation.”

Journal of William Clark, June 30, 1806

In 1960, the National Park Service named Travelers’ Rest a National Historic Landmark, but placed the site approximately 1.5 miles east of its current location. Both amateurs and academics, intent on finding the exact location of the Corps of Discovery campsite, contributed to the research that revealed the actual sites of the camp’s fires and latrine.

Visitors to Travelers’ Rest can learn more about the preponderance of evidence that led to the relocation of the National Historic Landmark and the development of Travelers’ Rest State Park.

Dig Deeper

Explore the links below to learn more about the individuals, events, items, and context of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Many of these resources were written by a dedicated group of amateur historians and volunteers known affectionately as the Clarkkies. We will post new links as they become available, so check back often!

Private Frazer was the author of unpublished journal, now lost, and an inaccurate map of the expedition.

Could you walk a mile (or 4,000) in their shoes?

What were the main sources of sustenance for the Expedition as they made their way across the continent?

Where exactly did those buffalo roam?

This unique site shares its name with many other places…find out why.

The Corps of Discovery prepares to split into smaller parties during their second stay at Travelers’ Rest.

Nathaniel Hale Pryor was one of the first men selected for the Corps of Discovery. Captain Clark called him a man of “character and ability.” Was his faith in Pryor well-placed?

“The order of cropping the hair was intended to introduce uniformity as well as neatness and cleanliness.”

Members of the Expedition noted a variety of species of animals and birds during their travels through the Bitterroot Valley.

What may have been lost in translation? A major challenge during the expedition was communicating with the Indians of the more than two dozen Tribes they met along their way to the Pacific Coast.

York, an enslaved man, was brought on the Expedition by his owner, William Clark. His presence was essential to the success of the mission, yet he received neither payment nor freedome on the Expedition’s triumphant return to St. Louis.

Tony Incashola (Director, Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee) and Thompson Smith (Coordinator, Tribal History and Ethnogeography Projects​) joined us on Zoom to share the many changes taking place in Séliš life in the 1700s, and how those affected the tribe into the following century. Click here to watch a video of this presentation.