The Blackfoot River runs through some of the most productive fish and wildlife habitat in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

The Blackfoot River runs through some of the most productive fish and wildlife habitat in the Northern Rocky Mountains.  Shaped by glacial ice and a large glacial lake in the latter part of the Pleistocene Era, the valley shelters glaciated wetlands, lush riparian areas and blue ribbon trout streams. Geologic, hydrologic, and geographical features combine to produce a wide array of plant and animal communities within the Blackfoot Watershed.  The main source of this diversity is the wetland features associated with glacial lakes and ponds, bogs and fens, basin fed creeks and spring creeks, scrub/shrub riparian areas, and cottonwood forests. The rolling landscape also provides the template for a rich assemblage of upland communities that include grasslands, sagebrush steppe, aspen groves, and pine forests.

Unlike most other major valleys in western Montana, the Blackfoot Valley is relatively undeveloped. Sprinkled within the 1.5 million acre watershed are some 2,500 households and seven communities; the valley has seen limited residential subdivision, and ranching remains the principle agricultural use.  The ranchers who manage the valley floor are stewards of prairie wetland complexes that attract sandhill cranes, black terns and a host of other birds.  Tributary streams to the Blackfoot River that flow through ranches provide crucial spawning and rearing habitat for our rare native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.  The valley forms the southern edge of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem that supports the largest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states.  The Blackfoot Challenge is proud to represent the landowners dedicated to preserving its exceptional wildlife, mosaic of habitats and a rural life.