Monday, May 17, 2010

Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area, Seeley Lake, Montana

Backroad Destination:  Seeley Lake, Montana.

This is the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area just outside of Seeley Lake, Montana.  I spent 14 days boondocking in a tent during late August of 2007.  A beautiful spot just south of Seeley Lake, Montana and about 40 miles east of Missoula.   The wildlife management area is 43,761 acres of wildlife land that opens for camping and public use on May 15th of each year.

There is a fee for boondocking on this site.  Toilets are provided, but no drinking water.  If you have a Montana fishing license there is a reduction in the camping fee.  There also might be a 7 day camping limit, but it did not apply in my case.

Boondocking in a tent!!  Well, it was not to difficult, but these old bones are starting to look for all the soft places to fall.  Fortunately, these fine folks cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday for the entire 14 days.  But as you can see from the size of the rigs you can easily get a large RV into these sites.

The Blackfoot-Clearwater site was the base camp for the Jocko Lakes Fire in 2007.  The fire almost burned into the town of Seeley Lake.  We were the third fire team to take over managment of the fire.  For our team  it was four or five days of intense firefighting and then mop-up.

Here is a photo of the campground with its row of temporary office buildings.  I always preferred my offices to be yurts!

 When fires start heading into the five and six digits of acres burned a small city shows up to support the firefighters and handle the mangement of the fire.

But I am going back to this fire camp.  It is minutes from Seeley Lake and the Swan River Valley.  The Swan River Valley is one of the prettiest places in Montana and not well known outside the state.

In the other direction, 40 minutes away is the town of Missoula complete with all the city services you might need, but without the problems!  No sales taxes in Montana.  Missoula has been a favorite city of mine since I first went there in 1972.  It is larger, but that famous Montana attitude is still there.  I always thought that someday I would end up living in Montana, but it did not turn out that way.  However, Montana is special as our its residents.  See this Montana story Kindness of Locals...

Here are some pictures of the camping areas.

For a slightly different perspective on camping in this area follow this link....Hitch Itch.  Click about halfway down to get this area discussion.  It appears that they were actually camped in this wildlife mangement area which is close by to the area we are discussing...Aunt Molly Wildlilfe Management Area    So pick one or the other.  You can't go wrong.

We are running out of time and space for this blog posting.  There is so much to do and explore is this area that I will let you find more information on your own.

Almost forgot.  Here are the GPS and Google Earth co-ordinates:  47 01 14.10 N 113 23 07.31 W

Montana.  It is the last best place.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful area! And I LOVE the yurt offices!

I used to boondock in north Georgia national forests in a tent. I just didn't know it was called boondocking. Then I moved up to a jungle hammock, and finally to my comfy little popup trailer.

We are going to try to find boondocking sites in the NC mountains in July. Hope we can discover some special places.

I love exploring the West vicariously through your blog! :)

Vladimir Steblina said...

Thanks! Boondocking back east is a little different. Be sure to stop by the Ranger District and ask about dispersed camping. I do know that there are sites out east, but in some cases they are the only places you can disperse camp. Usually, marked by a numbered post.

Out west in most cases the Forest Service just asks that you camp in an area that somebody else had used before.

Jim and Sandie said...

We'll be driving through this area this summer and even though I am from MT I loved reading others perspectives on my home state. Always gives me some new places to look for to camp.

Vladimir Steblina said...

This will be our Montana summer.

We are looking forward to seeing eastern Montana. Malta and Harve are on the list. We are going to be looking for prairie ponds with rainbow trout and pheasant hunting areas for this fall.

We still need to see the Beartooth Plateau and of course, a return visit to Yellowstone and environs.

If you see a Dodge Ram towing a Cameo stop and say hi!

Anonymous said...

This are is deff the most productive and beautiful area in north west Montana. I live in the northern part of the Satan river valley and it is the best place on earth.