Set in an old growth ponderosa pine forest along the Clark Fork River, Council Grove State Park is the site of the 1855 Hellgate Treaty between the Salish, Kalispel and Kootenai Indians and the U. S. government. Under the treaty, the tribal leaders ceded ownership of most their aboriginal territories – more than 20 million acres -- to the United States, setting aside the Flathead Reservation, but reserved the perpetual right to use ceded lands for traditional cultural and subsistence purposes. The Hellgate Treaty remains relevant today as it also established the legal foundation for relations between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the U.S. government.
Today the park provides an opportunity to study that history as well as give access to quiet forest stands and the Clark Fork River. The old growth ponderosa pine stands and cottonwood riparian forests of Council Grove State Park also offer excellent bird habitat and opportunities for birdwatching. The park is situated in the greater Clark Fork River-Grass Valley Important Bird Area (IBA), an Audubon Society designation of key habitats identified for bird conservation.
Visitors to Council Grove State Park will find walk-in access to the Clark Fork River for variety of outdoor recreation pursuits. A deeply eroded, bowl shape, bank on a Clark Fork channel has become a popular beach area in the summer. The park is very popular with dog walkers. With nearly a mile and half of river frontage, the park offers good fishing access. The park allows hunting for waterfowl and archery for deer on the park’s island.
Council Grove State Park is a day-use park located seven miles west of Missoula on Mullan Road.