Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

RiverFest 2004: The 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
Celebrating Water, Wildflowers, and Wilderness
September 18, 2004
Caras Park
Missoula, MT

Daily events are scheduled September 13-17
See details below

RiverFest 2004 honors the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a celebration of water, wildflowers and wilderness. A Walk for Wilderness along the Clark Fork River will kick off a day filled with a variety of activities, speakers and performers, food vendors and display booths. Educational activities include natural history programs, a gardening for wildlife workshop, cross-cut saw demonstrations, a weed pull, fly-fishing lessons and more. Speakers will share stories demonstrating the values of our wilderness heritage. This event is free and for all ages. RiverFest 2004 is a community event provided through the cooperation of non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies led by the Montana Natural History Center, the Missoula County Weed District and the University of Montana Wilderness Institute. You’re invited to participate in RiverFest 2004!


Events throughout the week culminate in a free community celebration Saturday, September 18th.

Week Day Events
September 13: Take the Bark Out of Houndstongue, 6 pm

We are kicking off Weed Week with a weedpull at one of our most popular recreation areas, the Rattlesnake Trailhead. We are pulling one of our poisonous noxious weeds, houndstongue, that spreads by its Velcro-like seeds. Come help take the bark out of houndstongue with your dog at 6pm and win dog prizes for the most houndstongue plants pulled.

September 14: Prairie Keepers Native Plant Rescue, 6 pm
Come help rescue native plants from a Frenchtown subdivision at 6pm. Meet at the Days Inn Parking Lot at the “Wye” intersection of I-90 and HWY 93. You can either donate the native bunchgrasses to the Fort Missoula Conservation Nursery or keep them for your own property. Some of these bunchgrasses are 20 years old so they make a great addition to landscaping and native plant gardens. Bring a pickup truck, gloves, and a shovel if you have them. Meet at Day’s Inn parking lot at the Wye (intersection of Hwy 93 and I-90)

September 15: Fort Missoula Native Prairie Open House, 4-6 pm
Meet for this open house near the water tower at Fort Missoula in the white shed. We will have tours of the Fort Missoula Native Prairie restoration project, the native plant demonstration gardens, a research plot on the diversity of prairie plant communities and how this affects invasion by weeds, and the Fort Missoula Conservation Nursery and greenhouse. There will be refreshments and a native plant sale.

September 16: Arctic Dance: The Mardy Murie Story at the Roxy Theatre (718 S. Higgins), 7:30 pm
Arctic Dance is the life story of Mardy Murie, a story filled with deep and enduring love for wild nature; a story of true adventure in some of this country's most spectacular and remote wild places; and a story of great passion to preserve these wild places. Above all, it is the story of an ordinary person who achieved the extraordinary. Former Congressman Pat Williams will kick off the evening. Judith Fraser, wilderness manager and longtime friend of Mardy Murie, will introduce the film. Free.

September 17: Natural History Educator Awards & Confluence Performance, 7 pm
Governor’s Room, Florence Hotel
Tickets: $15 each, $10 for MNHC members

Join MNHC as we honor three outstanding natural history educators, Kate Davis of Raptors of the Rockies and Jamie Nisbet and Patty Walker from Hawthorne Elementary. Awards ceremony will be followed by a performance by Confluence, two accomplished Montana artists, a musician and a writer, who credit wild places, and experiences in nature, for much of their creative and artistic inspiration. Stuart Weber's classical guitar and Alan Kesselheim's words flow as much from landscapes and the power of wide, quiet spaces, as they come from the inner wellsprings of creativity. In a unique blending of artistic expression, these performers weave together a medley of readings and musical compositions to evoke in the listener the fundamental natural themes which infuse the artists' work. An evening of inspiration!

September 18: 10am-4pm
Caras Park, Missoula

Free and for all ages! RiverFest 2004 is a community event provided through the cooperation of non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies led by the Montana Natural History Center, the Missoula County Weed District and the University of Montana Wilderness Institute.

8:30 am Natural History Walk led by Five Valley Audubon’s Larry Weeks begins. Meet at the M trail for this naturalist walk over Mt. Sentinel.

10:00 am Walk for Wilderness
Join us for a fun and easy one-mile walk along the RiverFront trail to show your support of wilderness. Begins at Caras Park. Debbie Austin, Lolo National Forest Supervisor, will give a post-walk kick-off for RiverFest. Prizes and fun wilderness freebies for all walkers.

11:00 am – 3:00 pm Activities, games, films, speakers, performers, food, & fun for all ages! Activities include gardening for wildlife, primitive skills, cross-cut saw demos from the Smokejumpers, fly-fishing, llamas, a backcountry horsemen camp, Leave No Weeds and Leave no Trace camping & hiking.
Food by El Cazador, Knucklehead’s and MacKenzie River Pizza.

11:00 am – 1:00 pm Celebrate National Public Lands Day by giving back to Missoula. Pull knapweed, scatter wildflower seeds and cover eroding trails on Mt Sentinel. Meet at the M trail.

11:15 am Wilderness 101: a wilderness primer with Bill Worf

12:00 – 1 p.m. Raptors of the Rockies: Kate Davis will be on hand with her raptor “teaching team”. Raptors of the Rockies is one of the 2004 MNHC Natural History Educator Award recipients.

1:00 – 1:30 pm Wilderness legends Bud Moore and Stewart Brandborg will share their views of our wilderness heritage

1:30 – 3:00 pm Natural History Walk along the Clark Fork to the Waterwise Garden
Join local naturalist Will Kerling and Missoula County Extension Service agent Helen Atthowe to discover nature in the heart of Missoula. Walk will return to Caras Park. Walk will return to Caras Park.

1:30 – 3:00 pm River Clean up with Three Clean Rivers

3:00 – 4:00 pm Keynote Event to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act
Bill Cunningham will speak on the power of wilderness. Cunningham is a wilderness outfitter and longtime wilderness supporter. He is the author of Wild Montana, and has traveled extensively in Montana’s wild places.

And from the wild…we have a special visit from “Critterman”. Critterman is just one of the alter-egos of Denny Olson, who for more than 27 years has been a student and teacher of the natural world. Well-known nationwide for his theatrical performances and speeches, Denny strongly believes in encouraging children and adults to think about how nature and people are connected. His performances are an artful form of "educational entertainment" for both children and adults. As one unsuspecting victim of Denny's performances put it, "I didn't realize I learned so much until it was too late!"

6:30 – 9:30 pm Finish your evening with a beer and a band!
Thanks to Cash 4 Junkers for bringin’ the tunes at 7 pm and thanks to you for supporting MNHC and Raptors of the Rockies.
Cost: $5 buys you a beer and the good feeling you’re bringing natural history education to Montana’s youth.

8:30 pm Astronomy Humor at the Montana Natural History Center at Fort Missoula
Astronomy Humor (The Universe and Stuff in it) Learn the myths of bad astronomy, the Moon, naming of stars and other untrue "facts" of astronomy. Please note there will be a meeting for WMAA club members or anyone who may want to join WMAA, starting a ½ hour before the public program. Viewing to follow, weather permitting.

Thanks to Office City, the Sierra Club, Advanced Litho, The Shirt Shop, Missoula Downtown Association, Hi-Noon Petroleum, Land & Water Consulting, the Good Food Store, the Independent, Rockin’ Rudy’s, Broadway Wine Company and A2 Catering for supporting RiverFest!

Related Sites

Celebrating 40 Years of Wilderness Heritage

Gone Wild: Celebrating 40 Years of the Wilderness Act
An Article by Dale Bumpers and Dan Evans

National Events and Information Campaign for America's Wilderness

Wilderness Institute
College of Forestry & Conservation
The University of Montana,
Missoula, Montana 59812
Tel: (406)243-5361; E-mail: wi@forestry.umt.edu