Between 1925-1935 historian L.V. McWhorter walked the battlefield with Nez Perce survivors Chief White Hawk, Black Eagle, White Hawk, Peo Peo and Many Wounds marking the location of many important events. The markers soon disappeared. Blaine County Surveyor, C.R. Noyes replaced the stakes and prepared a detail topographic map in 1936, now on view at the park office. Mr. Noyes, his sons, and local Lions Club replaced these with permanent survey markers in 1962-1964.    

1959 - The Bureau of Land Management began leasing the area to the Montana Highway Commission  as the Chief Joseph’s Battleground of the Bear’s Paw State Monument.

1965 - The 150 acres were transferred to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks with another 40 acres being donated to the state by a private landowner (S Bar B) in 1968.

1965, May 15th - Nez Perce National Historic Trail was established as a unit of the national park system by Public Law 89-19.

1973 - Not until 1973, under the management of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were site       improvements made. At that time the current access road, picnic area, trails and location of monuments were established.

1989  - The area designated as a National Historical Landmark and in 1992,  the battlefield was added as a site to NPS.

1989, Nov. 29th - Meeting planned to discuss community views on the direction of the Bear Paw Battlefield.

1989, Dec. 18th - Meeting at the Chinook Motor Inn. Dinner with some 40 persons to help forge a direction  for the historic site, Organizations represented: Montana Dep. Of Fish, Wildlife and  Parks represented by Don Hyppa and director David Todd; National Park Service represented by Eddie Lopez, Superintendent of the Big Hole Battlefield; Blaine County  Museum Board represented by Stuart MacKenzie and Leroy Anderson; Chinook Area  Chamber of Commerce; and interested area Citizens.
Don Hyppa of the DFWP told the group that the state presently has no funds to develop the site  and would support transfer the site to the National Park Service. Leroy Anderson read a letter from the Lapwai Tribe endorsing development. Letter delivered by Harvey King, Fort Belknap Community Council.

1990 -The State of Montana moved the DAR and Congressional monuments to their current location near the trailhead.

1990, Jan 29th  - Montana Governor Stan Stephens wrote a letter to members of the Montana’s congressional delegation stating that the State of Montana will favor transfer of the Bear Paw Historic property to the National Park Service, but that the Park Service should prepare a development and management plan with full participation of interested citizens and federal legislation must be passed to permit transfer of the battlefield since a Federal Land and Water Conservation Grant was used, which prohibits transfer to the National Park Service.

1990, Dec. 18th  - Meeting held in Chinook with state, and NPS officials and local citizens indicating strong support public for “and no apparent opposition to the proposal.”
Governor Stephen stated:
  “This site significance warrants its inclusion as a unit of Nez Perce HNP. A preferred status would be as an NPS-owned and operated site acquired by donations from the state of Montana and managed as a unit of the park under the same terms proposed for the Big Hole National Battlefield.”
“The state controlled 200 acres of which 40 acres were donated by the S Bar B Ranch and 160 were transferred from the BLM via patent,” said the governor.

1990, Jan. 5th - Senator Max Baucus pledged his support for turning over ownership from the State of Montana to federal ownership. Baucus said” I fully support what you are doing and will push it” however, he needs a lot of input as to cost and how to accomplish the task.

1990, Dec. 18th  - Meeting held in Chinook with state, and NPS officials and local citizens indicating strong support public for “and no apparent opposition to the proposal.”
Governor Stephen stated:
  “This site significance warrants its inclusion as a unit of Nez Perce HNP. A preferred status would be as an NPS-owned and operated site acquired by donations from the state of Montana and managed as a unit of the park under the same terms proposed for the Big Hole National Battlefield.”
“The state controlled 200 acres of which 40 acres were donated by the S Bar B Ranch and 160 were transferred from the BLM via patent,” said the governor.

1990, Jan. 5th - Senator Max Baucus pledged his support for turning over ownership from the State of Montana to federal ownership. Baucus said” I fully support what you are doing and will push it” however, he needs a lot of input as to cost and how to accomplish the task.

1990, Jan. 18th  - Citizen group to promote development of the Bear Paw Battlefield will hold its first  meeting.  Tentatively called “Friends of the Bear Paw Battlefield.”

1999  - The Park Service, at the request of the United States Congress undertook a project to  determine the economic, philosophical, physical, and social feasibility of constructing a   visitor  facilities at the battlefield. In June 1999 a group, of 16 individuals gathered together in Chinook, Montana, for a three day workshop to begin this process. This group became  known  as “The Portico Group.” The individuals  represented the National Park Service,  Chief Joseph Band of the Nez Perce, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian  Reservation, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres Tribes of Fort Belknap Reservations, Office of  U.S. Congressman Rick Hill, University of Idaho, Blaine County Museum, and other   concerned individuals. During this workshop, nine different site alternatives to provide  visitor facilities were generated.

1999  - The Park Service, at the request of the United States Congress undertook a project to  determine the economic, philosophical, physical, and social feasibility of constructing a   visitor  facilities at the battlefield. In June 1999 a group, of 16 individuals gathered together in Chinook, Montana, for a three day workshop to begin this process. This group became  known  as “The Portico Group.” The individuals  represented the National Park Service,  Chief Joseph Band of the Nez Perce, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian  Reservation, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres Tribes of Fort Belknap Reservations, Office of  U.S. Congressman Rick Hill, University of Idaho, Blaine County Museum, and other   concerned individuals. During this workshop, nine different site alternatives to provide  visitor facilities were generated.

1999, July 28th - Feasibility Study For Visitor Facilities At Bear Paw Battlefield, Nez Perce  National Historical Park., Bear Paw Battlefield, Montana. Prepared by : The Portico Group.

2000, June 6th - Feasibility Study For Visitor Facilities At Bear Paw Battlefield Montana, Nez Perce National Historical Park. Prepared by : The Portico Group.


2001- Environmental Assessment

2001, June - Environmental Assessment, Visitor Facilities and Site Development At Bear Paw  Battlefield, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Developed by the Park Service.

In this assessment 9 alternatives are listed and described:
Alternative 1. No Action.
Alternative 2. Interpretive Trail With No Structures.
Alternative 3. Visitor Contact Facilities in Chinook, and Improved Facilities at Bear Paw Battlefield.
Alternative 4. Visitor Facilities at Existing Picnic Area.
Alternative 5. Visitor Facilities at the South Knoll.
Alternative 6. Visitor Facilities at South Site.
Alternative 7. Visitor Facilities East of the Battlefield.
Alternative 8. Visitor Facilities Northwest Overlook.
Alternative 9. Visitor Facilities Near Existing Cattle Corrals

The 2001 Environmental Assessment study went with Alternative 6A, the Preferred Alternative.
This alternative would locate the access road, parking, visitor facilities, maintenance area, and new trails approximately 1 mile southeast of the present access road. An additional access road and parking would be constructed between the visitor facility and the picnic area to provide shorter walking distance for site access. This would create an additional 1.60 acres of new disturbance, which would be visible from most areas of the battlefield. Approximately 0.75 acres would be restored to a natural condition by the removal of the present access road and parking  area.

At a meeting in Chinook, MT, a scaled model of the facility was presented along with several large scale posters and photographs .

NO ACTION ever taken on the part of the park service.  Years later stated that the 2001 EA was a flaw study.

At that time Douglas E. Eury was Superintendent of the Nez Perce National Historic Park, Spalding ID.


2009- Environmental Assessment

2009, March- Environmental Assessment, Improve Visitor Services at Bear Paw Battlefield  Gary Sumers, Superintendent, Nez Perce National Historical Park

Alternative 1: No Action (Continue Current Management).
Alternative 2: Reconfigure Visitor Use Area.
Alternative 3: Enhanced Visitor Services in Chinook and at the Battlefield.
Alternative 4: Construct Visitor and Administrative Facilities at Bear Paw Battlefield. (Onsite Facilities for Staff and Visitors)
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"It is imperative that we as a nation work to identify, preserve and promote sites such as the Bear Paw Battlefield to improve everyone's understanding of such historical clashes between the cultures of Native Americans and our European ancestors. I found this website to be of great value and intend to bring my family out to visit the batlefield next year on our way to the Glacier National Park in Montana."
                         -- Terry Isert, Minneapolis, MN