With half the businesses in Montana claiming that Lewis and Clark slept, ate or bowled there, it’s hard to tell what’s fact and what’s fiction. However, just down Highway 93 from Missoula, Lolo’s Travelers’ Rest state park is one of the few verified hangouts of Meriwether and William—there’s even an old corps latrine on the grounds. In preparation for the expected hordes of Clarkies, the park is snapping up land to enhance and preserve the site.
Last week, the park purchased a 4 1/2-acre parcel from Floridian Ralph Kulberg. Years ago, Kulberg was vacationing in Montana, and after visiting Travelers’ Rest, he bought the acreage and held on to it until the park could find the money to purchase it. Also, last week Lolo resident Bill Scullion sold an 11 1/2-acre parcel to the state. Scullion’s land was purchased for $438,720, but the local has donated about $50,000 of the purchase price back to the park. “I think at one point we all need to give back a little bit, so we gave back a partial donation of 10 percent of the purchase price,” he says. “I could have sold that property for about $200,000 more than I did, but I couldn’t do that with this land. It’s amazing. There’s a tree on the land that is in the Lewis and Clark journals that they call the lone sentinel.”
With the new land, Travelers’ Rest now boasts about 40 acres for the anticipated throng to explore. Travelers’ Rest board member Bill Carey has been involved in the land deals from the beginning, and believes the additions complete the site.
“This land is just 20 feet away from where the archaeologist discovered the remnants of the latrine, so it was really important for us to preserve this land,” says Carey. “Otherwise there could have been a couple houses sitting there.”