DescriptionKootenai National Forest is in the northwest corner of Montana, with a small section extending into Idaho. High, craggy peaks characterize the 2.2 million-acre region; portions of the Cabinet, Whitefish and Purcell mountains are the main ranges, attaining elevations as high as 8,700 feet. The area's climate is modified Pacific Maritime, and as a result Kootenai has an abundance of plant species more common to the Pacific Coast than to other parts of Montana.
There are diverse wildlife species, including bear, elk, deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and wolves. The forest also is home to many non-game species. Throughout the year bald eagles can be seen along the Kootenai River north of Libby; 205 species of birds have been recorded in the forest. Cabinet Mountains Wilderness has 85 small lakes; many are scenic, stocked with fish and reached by trail. Ski facilities are available northwest of Libby. The area has more than 50 campgrounds and 1,500 miles of hiking trails.
Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, off SR 56 southwest of Libby, and Ten Lakes Scenic Area, on the Canadian border northeast of Eureka, are reached by local and forest roads. Lake Koocanusa also is a popular recreational spot.
For further information, contact the Forest Supervisor, Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US 2, Libby, MT 59923; phone (406) 293-6211.