Owen Sowerwine FAQs

Here are a list of common questions that come up regarding Owen Sowerwine. If you have any more questions not addressed here regarding Owen Sowerwine, feel free to reach out to us at os@flatheadaudubon.org.

Who OWNS the Owen Sowerwine property, HOLDS the Conservation Easement, and MANAGES the property?

This property is State School Trust land administered through Montana DNRC. Flathead Land Trust holds the Conservation Easement. Flathead Audubon is a 3rd party cooperator who manages the group use and takes care of maintenance and monitoring.

Are there lots of BIRDS in the Owen Sowerwine area?

YES – especially in the spring and summer during breeding and nesting season. To date nearly 170 species of birds have been seen in, or near this property. This area has been designated by Montana Audubon as an Important Bird Area. When viewing birds (and all wildlife), please do so without disrupting their behavior – you are a guest in their habitat!

Can I CAMP, build a FIRE, SHOOT for recreation/target practice, use FIREWORKS, or KILL squirrels in Owen Sowerwine?

NO – all of these activities are prohibited in the Conservation Easement in effect for the Owen Sowerwine Property.  In addition, there are state laws prohibiting some of those activities.

Can I GATHER mushrooms or berries, DIG native plants, CUT pieces of bark, HARVEST vegetation, or cut FIREWOOD in Owen Sowerwine?

NO – All of these activities cause a loss of the natural qualities of the area, destroy food sources, and damage the habitat, which are in violation of the Conservation Values stated in the Easement protection for this area. In addition, School Trust State Lands are protected by laws regarding damaging or destroying resources, and/or cutting firewood.

Why can’t I bring my DOG into the Owen Sowerwine property?

All domestic pets are prohibited in this area for various reasons. First, they can be disruptive of the wildlife and birds, and this area was established to provide safe habitat for the wild animals, plants and birds. Second, domestic animals can introduce disease to wild animals or birds, or possibly contract disease from wild animals. Third, NO ONE wants to step in a pile of dog poop while wandering through Owen Sowerwine enjoying the natural quality of the area. Fourth, there are lots of other places set aside for walking a dog, so you have other choices. If you are hunting waterfowl during the legal hunting season, you may escort your retriever dog through the property to your hunting site – they must be controlled on leash or voice command.

Do I need a PERMIT to enter Owen Sowerwine?

If you are not entering as an approved and scheduled group, then by Montana Law, you are required to have a Montana Conservation License (available where ever hunting and fishing licenses are sold).

Can I HUNT and/or FISH here?

Yes – as long as you follow all laws and regulations applicable to this location. That information is available on the FWP website. Pay particular attention to the rules about the use of tree stands.

Can I BUILD a hunting blind or fort?

NO – no structures may be created.

Can I HOLD EVENTS or family celebrations, such as a wedding or family reunion, in Owen Sowerwine?

No – group use is only approved for conservation education purposes, and for research.

Can I take PROFESSIONAL photos, such as senior class portraits, or GET PAID to lead bird watching trips, etc.?

NO – Commercial/for-profit use of this area of state lands is prohibited by the Conservation Easement. Commercial/for-profit use of any state lands requires permission from DNRC, and possibly the payment of a fee.

How can I FIND OUT MORE about the Conservation Easement and/or Management Plan used to protect and manage this property?

Both of these extensive documents are available through the Flathead Audubon website, and we would be glad to answer questions about activities allowed and prohibited in the area.

Can I VOLUNTEER to help?

SURE – contact info@flatheadaudubon.org to offer your help. Volunteers are needed to help with pulling weeds/cutting invasives, clearing trails, monitoring, and leading approved groups on field trips.