What and Where

The Owen Sowerwine Natural Area is 442-acres of state school trust land covered with cottonwood forests, and home to a wide variety of native birds, as well as other native wildlife and native plants.

Owen Sowerwine Natural Area Owen Sowerwine (OSNA) lies in the braided section of the Flathead River. It consists of a large island, portions of other nearby islands, and two mainland areas adjacent to these islands, at the confluence of the Flathead and Stillwater Rivers.

Because OSNA is situated only about ½ mile east of the city limits of Kalispell, it provides an easily accessible, natural tract of land for hiking, bird watching, nature photography, and other outdoor activities.

OSNA-2-Rivers map

Montana Audubon holds the license for OSNA from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to manage this parcel cooperatively with Flathead Audubon as a Natural Area.

OSNA is Montana’s only parcel of school trust land designated as “for use as a natural area.” Natural Area. Management as a Natural Area maintains natural wildlife and aquatic life habitat, protects wildlife and aquatic life from human disturbance as far as is possible in this location, maintains natural riparian and wetland vegetation, enhances water quality of Flathead River, and allows natural flooding in this portion of the braided section of the River.

OSNA has been designated a State Important Bird Area because it provides model nesting and foraging habitat for riparian dependent birds. Management by Montana Audubon and Flathead Audubon ensures the preservation of the natural values of the area that merit this designation.