July 7 - 8, 2018
Overnight Jefferson River Canoe Trip
with Thomas J. Elpel and friends
The Jefferson River Canoe Trail retraces by water an essential segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail along the entire length of the Jefferson River in southwest Montana.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition towed dugout canoes up the Jefferson River in 1805 in search of a navigable water route to the Pacific. Most present-day travelers prefer to follow the trail in reverse, floating down the Jefferson River in search of fun and fishing. The entire length of the river is Class I water, suitable for beginning paddlers, except during runoff season in spring.
The Canoe Trail includes a network of multipurpose backcountry campsites on public lands on the Jefferson River. The public may float into these sites for primitive camping along the river. At each camp there are opportunities for such activities as bird watching, mushrooming, hiking, and fishing.
For 2018 we will do a two-day float from Hells Canyon to Point of Rocks, staying overnight at Lost Tomahawk, celebrating this newest campsite on the Jefferson River Canoe Trail. Please come equipped for camping, cooking, and canoeing. We do have a limited number of canoes available to loan. Let us know in advance if you need one.
This canoe trip is not a formal class, but rather a fun adventure that is open to friends and family, members of the Jefferson River Canoe Trail, Green University students, members of the Bozeman Kayaking and Canoeing Meetup Group and anyone else with basic camping skills who would like to come along.
In lieu of a fee for the float trip, we would be grateful for generous donations to the Jefferson River Canoe Trail to support our work to secure additional public campsites along this segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
A Tradition of Open Space and Open Access
Here in Montana we value our tradition of open spaces and open access. People who have lived here all their lives are accustomed to hunting, hiking, and fishing for miles and miles along the rivers and through the woods, across public and private lands alike.
But the culture in Montana is changing as many new people move to the area, bringing different ideas of private ownership. "No Trespassing" signs sprout up on lands that have been shared for generations. New fences are being erected, not to keep livestock in, but to keep people out. Some landowners have fenced right up to the river bridges, blocking legal public access along the road easements.
In many ways it is simply a cultural misunderstanding, as many new arrivals are simply unfamiliar with Montana's tradition of open space and open access. The Jefferson River Canoe Trail Association is seeking long-term solutions to sustain Montana's outdoor traditions, especially through the purchase of conservation and recreation easements along the Jefferson River.
We welcome you to join us in our efforts to make a real difference in this part of the world. If you have ideas or enthusiasm to make this vision a reality, please join our group today. We hold our meetings almost exclusively via e-mail. You can participate in our e-mail discussions at your own convenience from your own home or office. There is no membership fee and no obligations. Just click here to subscribe to the list. You will also be invited to participate in our annual meeting and float trips, as we get together once each year for a more personal dialogue and loads of fun.
Read A Vision for the Future by Thomas J. Elpel
Installing an interpetive sign at Shoshone Landing, April 23rd, 2016.