Browns Lake is a shallow, productive 500-acre lake surrounded by open sagebrush grasslands and aspen groves. It's an extremely reliable place to see both bald eagles and osprey (especially in the spring), and almost always has significant numbers of waterfowl. The marsh in the lake's northeast corner is a good place to see American avocets, yellow-headed blackbirds, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, common loons, American white pelicans, and upland sandpipers are often seen here in the spring. Black terns nest on Browns Lake. Most birds are easily observed from a fair dirt road that goes halfway around the lake. Boat launch is available.
Mountain bicycling and canoeing are ways to see this area; please note that the northeast corner of the lake is closed to boating during the nesting season (April 1 through July 15). The 1,539-acre Blackfoot Waterfowl Production Area (WPA lies adjacent to Browns Lake on the east). Seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands attract a wide variety of nesting shorebirds and waterfowl. Sandhill cranes nest on the WPA. Riparian areas along the Blackfoot River attract numerous songbirds. A summer climb up Marcum Mountain, just north of Montana Highway 200, gives an interpretive overlook and may reward a determined hiker with a glimpse of a blue grouse brood. During the winter, large numbers of elk and deer can often be seen from the highway. Blackfoot WPA is open to foot travel only. Dogs are prohibited in WPA April 1 through August 30. No boat launch available.
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