Citizen Scientists Needed!

elk page hedBecome a Citizen Scientist: Report elk sightings on Mount Jumbo

We need your help this winter

While much of Mount Jumbo is closed during winter months, 75-100 elk that use the mountain as winter range can often be spotted from the valley floor.

Parks and Recreation seeks citizen scientists to join the "Elk Spotters" program, from December 1 - May 1. We will send you a datasheet, maps, and instructions so that you can make looking for elk part of your daily routine.

Questions? Contact Grahm Johnson, Research and Monitoring Program Coordinator, via email or phone 552-6691.

When reporting an elk sighting, please be sure to include:

Want to get involved?

You can report observations in 3 ways 

  1. Report your observation online
  2. Download zone maps (PDF), data sheet (PDF), and instructions and do your spotting at home or at work.
  3. Email us observations & completed data sheets, or bring them by 100 Hickory Street, Missoula.

Learn More

About Elk Spotters

While most of Mount Jumbo is closed to the public during the winter months, the 75-100 elk that spend the winter on the mountain can often be spotted from the valley floor. Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteer "Elk Spotters" to help visually track the herd's movements during the winter closure. Data gathered by these citizen scientists will help the City make more informed decisions about resource management on Mount Jumbo. "This data, and other habitat data that we have collected tells us which areas are most frequented by elk throughout the winter and allow us to record trends in elk use over time. We'll use that information to help guide our decisions about timber and vegetation management on Mount Jumbo," says Ecosystems Services Superintendent Morgan Valliant. "The Elk Spotters program also allows us to track herd behaviors over a long time period, which helps us understand if habituation to human presence is developing".

Valliant says managing resources for wildlife is a long-term project. "From an ecological perspective, the forests on the flanks of Mt. Jumbo have limited plant and animal diversity and are extremely susceptible to both wildfire and forest pathogens. However, these forests provide great winter cover for Jumbo's elk herd. To effectively manage these forested areas, we'll need to have a better understanding of how our management decisions will affect the elk. Over time, data collected from this program will help us preserve and improve this great community resource," Valliant said.

Everyone is invited to become a volunteer Elk Spotter and report elk sightings on Mount Jumbo. Those interested in committing to elk spotting on a daily basis and providing more detailed data may contact Grahm Johnson, Research and Monitoring Program Coordinator, at 552-6691, or email Grahm Johnson. Schools and other organizations are encouraged to participate.

Who:  Anyone interested in reporting elk sightings on Mount Jumbo.

What: When you spot elk on Mount Jumbo from the valley floor, report the date, time and location of the sighting. Report the location of your sighting online.

When: December 1 through May 1 of each year.

Why: To help land managers track the herd's movements on the mountain and effectively manage resources for the benefit of wildlife and citizens.

Where: Mount Jumbo North and South Zones.