Molt, Montana

Elevation: 3966 FT

Population: 597

County: Stillwater

Molt is located twenty-two miles west of Billings near Big Lake. The town was named for Rudolph Molt, who donated land for the townsite and from whom the Northern Pacific station purchased its right-of-way.Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Big Lake Complex, a large drainage area beginning with Hailstone to the north and ending at Big Lake to the south. This complex is one of the most productive areas in central Montana for waterfowl.A large alkaline lake, the Hailstone Refuge is in wide-open short grass prairie country dominated by rocky outcroppings and small grassy hills. This 1,913-acre refuge is noted primarily for its waterfowl and shorebirds. Pronghorn and sharp-tailed grouse are frequently seen in the upland areas. There is a black-tailed prairie dog town on the east side of the lake.Another part of the Big Lake Complex, Halfbreed National Wildlife Refuge, is a large drainage area with the freshest water and most of the migratory bird use. Public use of the refuge is limited to bird watching and hiking, as it is intended as a sanctuary for all wildlife. Walk-in access is through the north boundary.Near Molt is the Canyon Creek Battlefield Monument, located at the site of the battle between the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph and the US Calvary led by Col. Samuel Sturgis. This battle took place on September 13, 1877. 125 warriors held off the cavalry enabling the rest of the band of 800 Nez Perce to continue their flight from Oregon to asylum in Canada. A pipe ceremony led by the Nez Perce is held at the battle site each September.

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