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Montana's Wild and Scenic
Upper Missouri River
Guide Book


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Montana's Upper Missouri River Guides and Canoe Outfitters

Glenn Monahan, Founder and Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides

Upper Missouri River Guides was founded in 1994 by Glenn and Nancy Monahan, and over the years we’ve escorted hundreds of guests on canoe trips down the Upper Missouri. There is a wealth of historic sites along the Upper Missouri, and the river’s remote, rugged beauty combine to provide a unique recreational opportunity for visitors.

The inspiration for starting Upper Missouri River Guides occurred in 1992 when I paddled the Upper Missouri in a solo canoe with a copy of Lewis and Clark’s journals on my lap. As an avid outdoor enthusiast and canoeist, the beauty and wildness of the river captivated me; the river’s rich history (Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, Fur Trade, Steamboating, Homesteaders) fed my long-term interest in western U.S. history; and as a geologist, I was awed by the diversity of the rock formations that form the cliffs and hills bordering the river, and the geologic story that they tell. To this day, every trip that I take on the Upper Missouri continues to reinforce those initial impressions.

Over the years, Upper Missouri River Guides has intentionally kept its operation small. At any given time, we have only one crew of 2-3 guides on the river, helping us to focus on a quality experience for that trip. Our guides are all co-owners, who work hard to ensure an adventuresome and memorable experience for our guests.

I consider the Upper Missouri to be a national treasure, and have been heavily involved in conservation efforts to improve the management of the river for recreational users, and to resist pressure from extractive industries (specifically oil/gas, and livestock) to gain a stronger foothold in our National Monument. Shortly after the Upper Missouri received national monument designation in 2001, I was a founding board member of the Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument.

We distinguish ourselves from our competitors by offering the best canoes and equipment available, most notably our high-tech, kevlar Wenonah canoes, and our ZRE ultra-light carbon-fiber paddles. They are the best in use on the Upper Missouri.

My immersion in the Upper Missouri resulted in my publishing - in 1998, a 250-page guidebook for the river, which is presently in its third printing. It highlights the history and geology of the river, and specifically describes over one hundred historic sites along the 149 mile stretch of the river, including 13 Lewis and Clark campsites, steamboat landings, fur-trade forts, homestead sites, and native American habitation sites. A free copy is provided for our guided trip clients.

All of our trips are multi-day excursions that involve paddling through a wilderness. We place a high priority on safety and preparedeness. I have previous work experience as a Park Ranger (Yellowstone and Mt. Rainier) for six years, a twelve-year member of the National Ski Patrol, and a volunteer with my local search and rescue unit. Among our guides, we have all participated in EMT courses, or Wilderness Emergency Medicine training.

I worked for sixteen years as a high school science teacher, and for 8 years taught a college class, “Montana’s Historic Missouri River”. I’m a member of several conservation organizations including Montana Wildlife Association, Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council. I hold a Geology degree from Montana State University.

The Upper Missouri offers many things including a rich history, spectacular geology, excellent off-river hiking, and the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing canoe trip through a part of Montana that has changed but little since Lewis and Clark passed through in 1805. I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to guide in such a splendid outdoor setting and I would appreciate the opportunity to help you put together a trip on Montana’s Upper Missouri River.

Haley Miller, Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides

Haley Miller is a native Montanan, born and raised outside of Livingston in Paradise Valley. Her water adventure knowledge and experience spans the gamut from fresh to salty and flowing to still. The first haley18 years were spent on the majestic Yellowstone River, residing just a stone’s throw from the bank. She left Montana to embark on a ‘big city’ adventure, and after earning an Economics degree from the University of Chicago, she left the city life behind forever and landed on a 32-sq mile island in the Caribbean: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. There she was a full time sea kayak guide, leading kayak, hiking, and snorkel ecotours in a mangrove marine sanctuary. She also became a PADI certified Assistant SCUBA Instructor and lead boat dives for a local dive shop. Haley will tell everyone that Montana and the Virgin Islands are almost identical places - both offer unlimited adventure opportunities and awe-inspiring landscapes and the culture of the people reflect that with their profound, unwavering respect for the earth ….the only differences being the weather, season change (or lack-thereof) and the water in the Caribbean is salty with much larger predators!

Haley returned to Montana in 2011 after 8 years and has never felt more at home. She spends her time following Brett up mountain peaks, down mountain biking trails, navigating wild rivers and traveling the world. Together, they are avid gardeners and love to share and create incredible culinary feasts for friends and family. Haley also enjoys teaching yoga at a Helena-based studio.

She is thrilled to provide the unparalleled experience canoeing the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri and imagine the awe and reverence those first explores must have felt throughout their journey West. Most importantly, she reveals in the opportunity to meet travelers and share the history and scenery of her homeland!

Favorite camp meal: anything Brett makes!

“The rivers flow not past but through us.” John Muir

Brett Burglund, Owner
Upper Missouri River Guides

brett in canoeBrett Burglund is a native Montanan, born and raised in Kalispell, in northwest Montana's Flathead Valley, just 32 miles from Glacier National Park. He is an avid boatman, who spends lots of time in kayaks, canoes, and rafts. He has won numerous kayaking competitions and has paddled waters throughout the western U.S., including the forks of the Salmon river in Idaho and many Montana rivers. He's been a partner in Upper Missouri River Guides since 1999.

Brett is an excellent chef and has perfected his numerous custom recipes from an early age. He has vast talent in camp meal preparation and many tricks up his sleeve that will surely wow you!

Brett is well versed on the river's history, and he enjoys leading hikes to some of the historic sites located off the river, such as tipi rings and old homestead buildings. Brett has explored much of the land adjacent to the river on foot, and has put together an itinerary of hikes to spectacular viewpoints high above the river, which provide breathtaking views and great photographic opportunities.

Brett is a civil engineer for a Helena-based engineering firm, Great West Engineering. In his free time - in addition to boating - you can find him scaling peaks, snowboarding down various mountains throughout Montana, backpacking in the northwest Montana backcountry, and mountain biking.