Montana State Parks hosting events at Buffalo Jump and Giant Springs

A number of events are coming up in the Great Falls area with Montana State Parks.

This weekend, Montana State Parks is hosting the annual Atlatl Mammoth Hunt at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park.

The event is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Aug. 18 and Aug. 19. 

Come try your hand at an ancient form of hunting – the atlatl, a 10,000-year-old weapon that predates the bow and arrow. Montana State Parks staff will provide visitors to First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park with the opportunity to learn about and practice with this unique weapon. Visitors also will have the chance to shoot primitive bows and arrows and to throw tomahawks. All ages invited.

Visitors may also enjoy primitive skills demonstrations by Billy Maxwell and Bill McConnell. Maxwell is a former farm kid turned Cultural Anthropologist and master of working bison, pronghorn, cattle, elk and deer into buckskin or parfleche’ using old methods and materials, as well as a few modern. 

Bill McConnell will demonstrate flintknapping techniques for making stone tools. McConnell is from Bozeman, and the founder of the PAST Skills Wilderness School and one of America’s most accomplished primitive wilderness skills instructors.

On Aug. 23, Montana State Parks will host the Junior Ranger Program Edible Aquifer with AmeriCorps Member Becky Boyers from 10 a.m. to noon at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park.

This program will involve ice cream, cookies, soda, gummies, and sprinkles. Learn what an aquifer is, why it’s important to not litter, and build your own aquifer then take a short 0.6-mile hike to a natural spring located in the park. Please wear closed-toe shoes for the hike.

Junior Ranger programs are offered every Thursday through mid-August. Attend two programs and become a certified Junior Ranger. Open to all ages but formatted for children 6 – 12 years.

On Aug. 25, River Dog Fest will be at Giant Springs State Park from 9-11 a.m.

River Dog Fest will feature a 2.1-mile Fun Run/Walk around the Giant Springs loop. This portion of the River’s Edge Trail was completed in 2015 and features picturesque views. The event includes a dog costume contest and talent show.

Participants will meet at the Giant Springs Ranger Station. The program is free and open everyone and their dogs.  All dogs must be on a leash, and you must clean up after your dog.

Montana State Parks will host the Little Shell Annual Powwow at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park on Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All are welcome as the Little Shell Chippewa honor the elders and veterans with a day of celebration. Grand entry will take place at 1 p.m.

This event is free for Montana residents, $6 entrance fee for non-residents. For more information all the visitor center at (406) 866-2217.

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is located 10 miles south of Great Falls on I-15, take Ulm exit, then 3.5 miles North-west on paved county road.