Western Cultural contracted with the Helena National Forest to prepare and submit a formal National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Alice Creek Historic District, Lincoln Ranger District, Lewis and Clark County, Montana. The nomination included previously recorded resources and newly located resources associated with The Road to the Buffalo, a centuries old Native American travel corridor utilized by Meriwether Lewis and members of the Corps of Discovery. Lichenometric analysis was utilized to place a variety of stone features into a temporal framework, including rock cairns, stone forts, fire hearths, and a Celtic cross. Native American resources in the Alice Creek district include prehistoric occupation sites, lithic reduction and procurement locations, stone lookouts and stone trail markers. Historic resources in the district include resources associated with the Jesuit experience, US Forest Service history and the early exploration and settlement of Western Montana.
A large number of Native American groups utilized the Cokahlarishkit Trail for centuries in order to access the resources of the Great Plains, especially bison. Meriwether Lewis, following President Thomas Jefferson’s orders to find the most direct and practical route between the headwaters of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, followed the Cokahlarishkit Trail on his return to the Great Falls of the Missouri in 1806. Father Nicholas Point, traveling with members of the Salish, conducted Mass ceremonies and constructed a stone cross on the Continental Divide in 1842. The US Forest Service constructed the Alice Creek Guard Station in 1920. The nomination determined the Alice Creek Historic District to be eligible under Criterion A and Criterion D at the local, state, and national level.