With so many places to explore in western Montana it might be easy to forget about (or maybe you don't know about) the Lubrecht Experimental Forest.

What is an Experimental Forest?

Basically, it's a forest used for learning or study. When the experimental forest is designated as such by the United States Forest Service, they describe experimental forests this way:

This research network provides an incredible wealth of records and knowledge of ecological change in natural and managed forest and grassland ecosystems across the United States. Hosted on a combination of public and private lands, the network provides a home for long-term science and management studies in most major vegetation types of the United States. Individual sites range in size from 47 to 22,500 ha.

Technically, the Lubrecht Experimental Forest is not listed with the US Forest Service experimental forests, but the Coram Experimental Forest in the Flathead National Forest is.

Quick Facts about Lubrecht Experimental Forest

The Lubrecht Experimental Forest is almost as large as the largest US Experimental Forests, measuring at 21,432 acres. The Forest is not far from Missoula--about a 30-minute drive from downtown Missoula. It's managed by The Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry. If you're interested in the history of the forest, you can read more about it here.

Activities for the Public at Lubrecht

The Forest is really multi-use. The public is welcome to visit for cross-country skiing and hiking. Trails are groomed and you can rent cabins and lodges to make a real adventure out of it. Facilities can also accommodate meetings or weddings. Various events happen too, like the Nordic Dance Invitational, and bikjoring in the Western Montana Dirt Derby. There's also a summer camp for teens in the Lubrecht hosted by MSU Extension Forestry.

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