Road to the Buffalo Brochure
The historic Saleesh Road to the Buffalo basically follows Montana Highway 200 through Sanders County with the exceptions of where it turns along Blue Slide Road and a loop northeast of Plains. From Plains it follows Montana Highway 28 turning southeast on Camas Creek Road south of Rainbow Lake. Through Camas Prairie it trends southward returning to the Flathead River upstream from Perma where it crosses to the south side of the river.
East of Sanders County the original route ran south following Montana Highway 93 down Evaro Hill and into the Missoula Valley where it connected with the travel route used by Meriwether Lewis on his return trip in 1806. On July 3rd, he and his party set out for the Missouri River following a route across the mountains his Nez Perce guides had told him about—Cokahlarishkit or river of the road to buffaloe. This was the Blackfoot River.
Similar to the Lewis and Clark signage visible to highway travelers, the Road to the Buffalo is designated by signs that display a symbol of a buffalo. Points of interest, many of which appear much like those David Thompson would have seen, are highlighted in this travel brochure.
Road to the Buffalo Interpretive Signs
Without the volunteers from Noxon Senior Citizens, Inc. and Women for a Better Sanders County, along with strong support from the Sanders County Commissioners and with cooperation and advice from the Kootenai Tribe's Cultural Committee this project could not have been successfully completed.
These two non-profit groups worked together on the Road to the Buffalo Festival fundraiser in 2017. The donations they raised along with a generous contribution from the Hecla Charitable Foundation provided them with the necessary funds to apply and receive a two-to-one matching grant from the Montana Offices of Tourism. Nearly $14,000 were raised; enough to design, fabricate and install four interpretive signs.
The Interpretive Sign Committee made up of community members designed the following signs. Each interpretive sign tells a different story about things that occurred along Sanders County historic byway — the Saleesh Road to the Buffalo. Interpretive signs are now in place at the Weeksville and Noxon turnouts. The interpretive sign for the Thompson Falls site is still pending. The selected location is in a popular roadside turnout that is location within the railroad right-of-way.
Weeksville Interpretive Sign
Thompson Falls Interpretive Sign
Noxon (Left Side) Interpretive Sign
Noxon (Right Side) Interpretive Sign