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Custer National Forest

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General Information

Description - The Custer National Forest is made up of 1.2 million acres of high alpine mountain country, and small pockets of timbered buttes and grasslands scattered across Montana and South Dakota.

The Custer is well known for lake and stream fishing. It provides habitat for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, mountain grouse, black bear, cougar and bobcats. Occasionally grizzly bear are seen in the areas of wilderness located on the Custer.

Attractions - The Beartooth Ranger District makes up the southwest section of the Custer. It serves as one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park. This area is part of the greater Yellowsone ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate ecosystems in the world. The district encompasses much of the Beartooth Mountains. The Granite Range and Granite Peak are located in this area as well as the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Views from the Beartooth Scenic Byway are spectacular as the road winds upward of 11,000 feet.

The Sioux Ranger District, located in the southeast corner of Montana and the northwest corner of South Dakota is often described as "islands of green in a sea of rolling prairie". In this region, hills or mesas of ponderosa pine rise above rolling grasslands. One of the largest populations of Merlins (a small falcon) in North America occurs on this district.

South-central Montana's Ashland Ranger District offers a variety of topography, varying from rolling grasslands to steep rock outcrops. Vegetation varies from prairie to dense stands of ponderosa pine.

Recreation - Recreation on the Custer depends on the area visited. The mountainous area in Montana offers activities such as camping, fishing, backpacking, hiking, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, sightseeing and more.

Climate - Temperatures and precipitation on the Forest vary with elevation and location. In the Montana sections of the Custer, summers tend to bring moderate to warm temperatures with clear days. Summer highs are normally in the 70's and 80's with relatively cool to cold nights. Winter brings cold temperatures with ample snow at the higher elevations for winter recreation activities. Winter temperatures frequently drop well below zero but clear, crisp days are common. Snowpack normally remains in the high elevations well into June or even July making some areas inaccessible until then.

Location - The lands of the Custer National Forest lie scattered across southern Montana and northwestern South Dakota. The Forest is headquartered in Billings, Montana, with District offices located in Red Lodge and Ashland, Montana as well as Camp Crook, South Dakota

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More Information

Contact Information:
Custer National Forest, 2602 First Avenue North, P.O. Box 2556 , Billings, MT, 59105, Phone: 406-657-6361

Additional Information:
Montana National Forests -

Custer National Forest - Official agency website.


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