Little Shell Tribe Gets Lease to Take Over Montana Park | Montana News

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Montana officials have ceded the lease of Hell Creek State Park to the Little Shell tribe of the Chippewa Indians, as the tribe seeks to take over management of the remote 337-acre site on Fort Peck Lake .

The Little Shells have sought to manage the park since 2019 – in the same year the tribe gained federal recognition following a decades-long bureaucratic struggle. He will only assume management when the tribal plan of operations is accepted by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The park, located about 30 miles north of Jordan, has been state-run since the 1960s and attracts people looking to boating and fishing on Fort Peck Lake. It has 71 campsites, a boat launch, trails, staff quarters and a maintenance building, The Billings Gazette reported.

About 30,000 people visit Hell Creek each year.

Little Shell Tribe President Gerald Gray admitted state officials helped bring the deal to fruition.

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The board’s approval allows Little Shell to establish its own camping reservation system, which is expected to be up and running soon, state parks administrator Hope Stockwell said.

Gray said the tribe hoped to take advantage of the park while making changes, such as a potential interpretive center to educate visitors about the area’s prehistory and indigenous culture.

The tribe’s original proposal also mentioned the possibility of building meeting rooms, “a restaurant, additional camping sites and other facilities, services or amenities.”

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