To my knowledge, no one has reported any ghostly happenings in Stevensville's Fort Owen State Park. If there are any spirits hanging around there, they did not expect all the human activity this year. But, they'll get a break, starting November 1st. That's when the park will close for the winter. They'll re-open it in March, 2022.

The Fort Owen State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places. Catholic Father DeSmet came to the valley in 1841 and Major John Owen arrived in 1850 to build a trading post. What remains today was built by Owen back then and only one barrack is left. The whole 2-acre park underwent some needed upgrades this year, including an enlarged parking lot (with room enough for a motorhome or two). The barrack got a new roof and the whole park had some TLC applied by the State Parks folks of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Some furnishings and artifacts are on display along with the usual interpretive panels and tabletop displays.

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There were some interesting activities at the park this year, including an adobe-brick making day. Major Owen used some of the valley's mud and clay at construct the walls of material usually found in southwestern areas of the U.S. Fans of the fort found some suitable material and they got together this summer to try reproducing Owen's results.

And, because of the new parking lot, a few more people discovered the park. Still, many folks in the Bitterroot Valley have never visited. Vivaca Crowser reported that the park and parking lot will be closed after October 31, and if you need more information, contact the park staff at 406 273-4253. Updates are also available at the Fort Owen webpage.

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Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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