The headwaters of the Blackfoot River originate in small streams west of the Continental Divide near Lincoln, Montana and flow to its confluence with the Clark Fork River just east of Missoula. Traditionally, the Salish and Pend d’Oreille people lived along its banks and harvested fish, including bull trout, in great numbers. 

Beginning in the mid-1800s, industrial logging and mining moved into the Blackfoot basin. During the 1860s, the U.S. federal government granted millions of acres to railroad companies. Timber extraction increased dramatically along the Blackfoot River and by the middle of the 20th century, extended into smaller tributaries. Motorized equipment and a widespread road network allowed for rapid clearcuts of vast swaths of old growth forests. Gold, copper, and zinc mines scattered around the river’s headwaters also impacted the Blackfoot watershed, leaving a legacy of contamination.

Today, the river and its tributaries provide premier habitat for wildlife and fish, as well as world-class recreation. However, the aftereffects of logging, road building, and mining limit the full potential of the Blackfoot River and its tributaries.

Our focus in the Blackfoot

Boost watershed health, resilience, and protection in the Blackfoot.

Innovative and proactive land and water management strategies, on-the-ground restoration, policy advocacy, and community education have resulted in a healthier watershed, healing the headwaters of the Blackfoot River and preventing new threats. We support and supplement the work of many strong partners in this subbasin as the work to restore and protect continues.

You Can Help

Become a fellow champion of the Clark Fork Watershed.

Through our collective efforts, the river can flow with clean, cold, abundant water so that nature can flourish and our communities can thrive. We invite you to become a fellow champion of the Clark Fork Watershed.