Mountain Water Company holds the majority of senior water rights and storage rights to eight lakes high in the watershed. These lakes sit four miles north of the Rattlesnake Creek Bridge in a spectacular glacial moraine. Together they hold 840,000 gallons of water, all of it reserved for Missoula’s drinking water supply. Fortunately, much of it lies within the Rattlesnake National Recreational Area and Wilderness (RNRAW), which can never be developed. The RNRAW was created by an act of Congress in 1980, in part to protect “clean, free-flowing waters stored and used for municipal purposes.”
How you can help us protect this priceless resource:
- Be aware that whatever goes into the watershed winds up in these waters and also in Missoula’s underground aquifer.
- Keep pets and livestock from the creek’s banks.
- When hiking in the South Zone of the RNRAW, use only the toilets provided. Farther north, bury human waste in a shallow trench well away from water.
- Remember the slogan: “Pack it in, Pack it out.”