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Living Wetlands Interpretive Trail

Nature Trail

Enjoy a newly finished nature trail with your family. The first two phases of the Viking Creek Nature Trail have been completed. The trail meanders through the Whitefish Lake Institute's Averill's Viking Creek Wetland Preserve. The WLI manages the Preserve for water quality, wildlife value, public education, awareness and citizen enjoyment.


Seasonal closure March 15 - May 1 to protect new vegetation.

More About this Attraction or Experience: A series of interpretive trail signs are being designed to increase visitors' knowledge of the wetlands, and enable exploration of other facets of the environment. The main kiosk will be erected at the trail entrance/trail parking area so that children, adults, and disabled visitors of all ages will have opportunities to access the information. The interpretive signs will perform multiple functions: they will provide information and direction for people to find their way around the wetland; create and encourage watershed and wetland learning experiences involving science, natural and cultural history; and communicate area usage and safety rules. It will educate visitors about the specific functions of this wetland in the Whitefish Lake Watershed. Signs along the interpretive trail will be placed low—and in front of—natural features and interesting or unusual flora providing information on various facets of the wetlands and encouraging sustainable visitor interaction within the wetland surroundings. An important educational component of the project addresses how—through an open dialogue between diverse constituencies—a solution was created to allow economic expansion while providing natural resource protection. This project has protected 30 acres of important water-cleansing wetlands and wildlife habitat from development, and will protect and enhance the area. There are 14.7 acres of wetlands and an approximately 9 acre upland area located in the north central and north east corner of the area. The primary function of this wetland area is flood attenuation and water quality buffering. Since the streams and groundwater of the area drain directly into Whitefish Lake, water quality buffering is vitally important.
Fees: Free
Appropriate Ages for Participants: ALL
Restrictions: Trail Closures There is a seasonal trail closure from March 15th to May 1st of each year to protect native vegetation and the structural integrity of the trail and to avoid potential spring wildlife/human conflicts. WLI reserves the right to temporarily close the trail at other times of the year for safety reasons or to protect wildlife. This is bear and mountain lion country – be aware – carry bear spray and know how to use it. Pack out trash or deposit it in the bear - resistant garbage container at the main trailhead. Please report bear and mountain lion sightings to the WLI office at 406.862.4327. Mosquitoes breed extensively in the wetland environment – be prepared. The rules of use of the Preserve are essential for reducing impacts to water quality, and to wildlife species and their habitat. Please stay on designated trails – do not use wildlife trails or create trails of your own. • No Pets • No Bicycles • No Smoking • No Hunting • No Fishing Access • No Motorized Vehicles or Equipment