Enhancing Heritage Resources in Montana State Parks
In 2016, Montana State Parks developed a system-wide heritage resource plan with extensive staff and stakeholder input.
Montana State Parks contains over 220 archaeological and historical properties located throughout the system's 55 state parks, including 7 National Historic Landmarks (NHLs). The Division manages more NHLs than any other state park system west of the Mississippi River, apart from California. The 2017-2024 Heritage Resources Strategic Plan addresses the unique challenges and opportunities of heritage sites, including the 25 National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) sites and NRHP-eligible sites in the system. The final strategic plan was approved by the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board on February 17, 2017.
The 2017-2024 Heritage Resources Strategic Plan:
- Evaluates strengths, challenges, options, responses of internal/external stakeholders, and effectiveness of the heritage resource program and its existing capacity.
- Identify best practices in heritage resources management to achieve maximum effectiveness, including state park heritage resource and artifact collection management, heritage resource training and staff needs, and data collection and information management.
- Develops direction for heritage resource program priorities for balanced management across the park system as well as recommendations for improving statewide coordination and management.
This plan builds upon the direction outlined in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to make Montana’s state park system one of the strongest systems in the country. The plan is also consistent with the Classification Policy to allocate resources within the park system based on the newly established classification structure.
The plan provides a seven-year direction for the Heritage Resource Program for 2017-2024, and describes the means by which program staff and the Division will work with partners towards achieving them. Recognizing the importance of protecting, managing, and providing access to heritage resources, the goals and recommendations included in this plan are ambitious. Unless additional funding is secured, full implementation of the plan will require a redirection of current resources, a postponement of some recommendations, or a need to seek partnerships for these efforts.