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Go Outdoors for (Healthy) Fun at a Montana State Park

By Dayle Hayes, MS, RD

Looking for nearby outdoor fun this weekend? Join several groups for a celebration of the East Rosebud Creek. Saturday, June 30, 3:00 p.m., East Rosebud Lake Association Lodge, 15 miles from Roscoe. Festivities include a BBQ dinner, wildflower tour, and full-moon hike with the U.S. Forest Service. RSVP, call Caleb at 406-248-1154. More information at www.northernplains.org/day-long-celebration-planned-for-east-rosebud-creek-june-21-2012/

While every day is great day to be outdoors in Montana, Great Outdoors Month (June 2012) is exactly the right time to get into the swing of summer. Now that winter has passed and spring rains have turned the “Last Best Place” many shades of green, it is the perfect time to have some outdoor family fun (and get everyone some healthy physical activity at the same time!).

There are dozens of Montana State Parks - all sizes, shapes, and descriptions - that make wonderful, close-by destinations for free or inexpensive summer fun. There are literally dozens of “staycations” within driving distance of Billings.

PLAN

  • Learn where the parks are located: Planning your Montana State Park visits is super simple on the Fish, Wildlife, & Parks website.
  • Explore the opportunities to play: On the website, you can search for parks that offer your family’s favorite activities, like hiking, water skiing, or bicycling.
  • Plan the best times to visit your choices: Fill in a few dates on your family summer fun calendar, giving each person a chance to choose a different park (or two).

PLAY

So many parks, so few days of summer! Montana State Parks really do offer something for everyone, including many locations with accessibility for those with disabilities. Here are 10 possibilities - from A to Y.

  1. Ackley Lake: Camping (no fee) and fishing in the very heart of Big Sky country
  2. Clark’s Lookout: One of many historical sites from Lewis and Clark’s Expedition
  3. Giant Springs: Accessible hiking, biking, and picnicking near Great Falls
  4. Hell Creek: Full-service campground on Fort Peck near the Missouri Breaks
  5. Logan: Camping and boating on Middle Thompson Lake along the Idaho border
  6. Medicine Rocks: Hidden treasure near Ekalaka for hiking and primitive camps
  7. Placid Lake: More camping and boating in a full-service campground
  8. Sluice Boxes: Mining history comes to life in this spectacular setting
  9. Tower Rock: Montana’s newest state park has a rich history, right off I-15
  10. Yellow Bay: How often can you camp in the midst of cherry orchards?

ENJOY

Spending time in Montana State Parks is a perfect way to combine family fun with the physical activity every body needs for good health. Just GO and have FUN!!



Dayle HayesDayle Hayes, MS, RD
Author, Speaker, and Nutrition Therapist

Dayle Hayes is a registered dietitian committed to innovative, delicious nutrition solutions for busy families. As a consultant to Billings Clinic, she specializes in positive nutrition tips, eating disorders, and sports nutrition. Dayle graduated from U. Mass-Boston and received a Masters of Science in Community Health Education from U. Mass-Amherst.
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