This park takes in the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, which form the headwaters of the Missouri River. The site has a rich cultural heritage: Native Americans have used it for thousands of years, and the Lewis and Clark expedition camped here in 1805. The riparian habitat supports a rich diversity of breeding passerines. In addition, a threatened species of orchid, Ute Ladies' Tresses, occurs here.

Ornithological Summary

More than 100 species have been recorded at the site. A MAPS station operated in 1999 and 2000 documented that at least eight species of State conservation concern breed here, including Red-naped Sapsucker, Least Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, Veery, and Clay-colored Sparrow.

Conservation Issues

Invasion of native habitat by weeds is a problem, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is actively attempting to control them. Being adjacent to large tracts of grazing land, Brown-headed Cowbirds are common and could pose problems for some nesting passerines.


The IBA consists of the Missouri Headwaters State Park, which is managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Land Use

This undeveloped park provides outdoor interpretive signs, interpretive programs in summer, picnic spots, short hiking trails, and a small campground. A MAPS station was operated here by a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist from 1999-2001.

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