Homestead is on the Big Muddy, south of Medicine Lake in Sheridan County. It was a station on the Great Northern and when the boxcar depot was set down along the tracks the name of Barford was put on it because it was near the place where N Bar N cattle were forded across the River. The area was once called Pederson and then Fort Peck but the name of Homestead was finally decided upon as suitable because this area owed its beginning to the homesteading settlers. (from Cheneys Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
Homestead is near both Homestead Lake and Medicine Lake Wilderness Area, which covers 11,366 acres and is an administrated unit of Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located on the heavily glaciated rolling plains of northeastern Montana, between the Missouri River and the Canadian Border. The Refuge consists of two tracts, the 28,396-acre north tract, which includes the 8,213-acre Medicine Lake proper, five smaller lakes, and numerous potholes and the smaller 3,264-acre south tract, which contains the 1,280-acre Homestead Lake.
Thousands of migrating waterfowl make their summer home at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Great blue herons, white pelicans, sandhill cranes, grebes and 12 different species of ducks share the prairie lake ecosystem.
Self-guided hiking and a 14-mile driving tour around the wildlife refuge are some popular options. One tour stop is the site of teepee rings of stone, perhaps 4,000 years old, which mark areas where Indian lodges were built. Another highlight of the refuge is a 100-foot observation tower which offers a panoramic view of the area, and an observation platform with telescopes that provide a view if the largest white pelican colony in Montana, over 10,000 birds.
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