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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Bob Marshall Wilderness

Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, affectionately know as the "Bob," is a 1.5 million-acre wilderness. Here is one of the most completely preserved mountain ecosystems in the world! It is the kind of Wilderness most people can only imagine: rugged peaks, alpine (mountain) lakes, waterfalls, grassy meadows, shimmering streams, a towering coniferous forest (forest of cone-bear trees), and big river valleys.

Horseback riding, whitewater rafting, hiking, and backpacking are activities you can enjoy in the Bob. You'll find more than 1,000 miles of a well-developed trail system, with maintained paths giving way to less well managed trails as you travel deeper into Montana's largest Wilderness.

Within the Bob Marshall Complex are three wildernesses: Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear. The Bob was named after forester, Wilderness preservation pioneer, and Wilderness Society cofounder Bob Marshall, who single-handedly protected at least 5.4 million acres of wildland. The United States Congress designated the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area as part of the original Wilderness Act of 1964.

The Wilderness runs for sixty miles along the Continental Divide, with elevations ranging from 4,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet. The Scapegoat's Chinese Wall, a part of the Divide which extends for 22 miles, has an vertical cliff faces of more than 1,000 feet. The Chinese Wall contains fossils of extinct animals a billion years old in its limestone.

Bear in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is home to grizzly bears and provides critical habitat to the endangered gray wolves as well. Elk, whitetail and mule deer, Canadian lynxes, bobcats, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, wary wolverines and mountain lions also make their home in the Bob, along with smaller mammals such as beaver, river otters, snowshoe hares and marten.

There are dozens of birds also living in the Bob, especially in the summer. Bald eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, grouse, and woodpeckers. In camp areas, you'll find Steller's jays, Clark's nutcrackers, camp robbers, chickadees, nuthatches and more.

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