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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

State of Montana
Flag of Montana State seal of Montana
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Treasure State
Motto(s): Oro y plata (Spanish: Gold and Silver)
before statehood, known as
the Montana Territory
Map of the United States with Montana highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Montanan
Capital Helena
Largest city Billings
Largest metro area Billings Metropolitan Area
Area  Ranked 4th in the US
 - Total 147,165 sq mi
(381,156 km2)
 - Width 255 miles (410 km)
 - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)
 - % water 1
 - Latitude 44° 21′ N to 49° N
 - Longitude 104° 2′ W to 116° 3′ W
Population  Ranked 44th in the US
 - Total 967,440 (2008 est.)[1]
902,195 (2000)
 - Density 6.5/sq mi  (2.51/km2)
Ranked 48th in the US
Elevation  
 - Highest point Granite Peak[2]
12,807 ft  (3,904 m)
 - Mean 3,396 ft  (1,035 m)
 - Lowest point Kootenai River[2]
1,800 ft  (549 m)
Admission to Union  November 8, 1889 (41st)
Governor Brian Schweitzer (D)
Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (R)
U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D)
Jon Tester (D)
U.S. House delegation Denny Rehberg (R) (list)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/DST-6
Abbreviations MT US-MT
Website http://www.mt.gov

Montana Listeni /mɒnˈtænə/ is a state in the Western United States. The western third of the state contains numerous mountain ranges; other 'island' ranges are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain).

Montana's nickname is the "Treasure State." Other nicknames include "Land of Shining Mountains," "Big Sky Country," and the slogan "The Last Best Place." The state ranks fourth in area, but 44th in population, and therefore has the third lowest population density in the United States. The economy is primarily based on ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal in the east; lumber, tourism, and hard rock mining in the west. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Battle of Little Bighorn site, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park. Montana is bordered by the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan on the north, Idaho on the west, Wyoming on the south and North Dakota and South Dakota on the east.

Contents

Geography

Map of Montana

With a land area of 145,552 square miles (376,980 km2) the state of Montana is the fourth largest in the United States (after Alaska, Texas, and California). To the north, Montana and Canada share a 545 miles (877 km) border. The state borders the three Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, more than any other state. To the east, the state borders North Dakota and South Dakota. To the south lies Wyoming and to the west and southwest is Idaho.

The topography of the state is diverse, and roughly defined by the Continental Divide, which runs on an approximate diagonal line through the state from northwest to south-central, splitting it into two distinct eastern and western regions. Montana is well known for its mountainous western region, most of which are geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains. The Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the south are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains. About 60% of the state is prairie, part of the northern Great Plains. Nonetheless, even east of the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountain Front, there are a number of isolated "island ranges" that dot the prairie landscape. This island range region covers most of the central third of the state.

The Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the entire Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico—divide the state from Idaho to the west, with the southern third of the range blending into the Continental Divide. Mountain ranges between the Bitterroots and the top of the Continental Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Missions, the Garnet, Sapphire, Flint Creek, and Pintlar ranges.

Montana terrain

The northern section of the Divide, where the mountains give way rapidly to prairie, is known collectively as the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located primarily in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide (which begins in Alaska's Seward Peninsula) crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. It causes the Waterton River, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.

East of the divide, several parallel ranges march across the southern half of the state, including the Gravelly Range; the Tobacco Roots; the Madison Range; Gallatin Range; Big Belt Mountains; Bridger Mountains; Absaroka Mountains; and the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) high in the continental United States. It contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peak, 12,799 feet (3,901 m) high.

St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park

Between the mountain ranges are many scenic valleys, rich in agricultural resources and rivers, and possessing multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. Among the best-known areas are the Flathead Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Big Hole Valley, and Gallatin Valley.

East and north of this transition zone are expansive, sparsely populated Northern Plains, with rolling tableland prairies, "island" mountain ranges, and scenic badlands extending into the Dakotas and Wyoming, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, Snowy Mountains, Sweet Grass Hills, Bull Mountains, the Pryor Mountains south of Billings, and—in the southeastern corner of the state near Ekalaka—the Long Pines and Short Pines.

The area east of the divide in the north-central portion of the state is known for the Missouri Breaks and other significant rock formations. Three stately buttes south of Great Falls are familiar landmarks. The three: Square, Shaw, and Crown buttes, are made of igneous rock, which is dense and has withstood weathering for many years. The underlying surface consists of shale. Many areas around these buttes are covered with clay surface soils. These soils have been derived from the weathering of the Colorado Formation. Farther east, areas such as Makoshika State Park near Glendive and Medicine Rocks State Park near Ekalaka also highlight some of the most scenic badlands regions in the state.

The Hell Creek Formation is a major source of dinosaur fossils. Paleontologist Jack Horner, of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, brought this formation to the world's attention with several major finds. For example, in 2001 he discovered Jane, the world's most complete juvenile tyrannosaurus rex, in Hell Creek.

Rivers

Montana also contains numerous rivers, many of which are known for "blue-ribbon" trout fishing, while also providing most of the water needed by residents of the state, and hydropower. Montana is one of few geographic areas in the world whose rivers form parts of three major watersheds (i.e. where two continental divides intersect). Its rivers feed the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay, and the watershed areas are divided atop Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

Missouri Breaks region in central Montana

West of the divide, the Clark Fork of the Columbia (not to be confused with the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River) rises in the Rocky Mountains near Butte and flows northwest to Missoula, where it is joined by the Blackfoot River and Bitterroot River, and further downstream by the Flathead River, before entering Idaho near Lake Pend Oreille. It meets the Columbia River there, which flows to the Pacific Ocean. The Clark Fork discharges the greatest volume of water of any river exiting the state. The Flathead and Kootenai rivers also drain major portions of the western half of the state.

East of the divide, the Missouri River—formed by the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers—crosses the central part of the state, flows through the Missouri breaks and enters North Dakota. The Yellowstone River rises in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, flows north to Livingston, Montana, where it then turns east and flows through Billings, continuing across the state until it joins the Missouri River a few miles east of the North Dakota boundary. The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed, free-flowing river in North America. Other major Montana tributaries of the Missouri include the Milk, Marias, Tongue, and Musselshell rivers. Montana claims the disputed title of possessing the "world's shortest river," the Roe River, just outside Great Falls, Montana. Through the Missouri, these rivers ultimately join the Mississippi River and flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Northern Divide turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. It causes the Waterton River, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.

In addition to its rivers, the state is home to Flathead Lake, the largest natural fresh-water lake in the western United States. Man-made reservoirs dot Montana's rivers, the largest of which is Fort Peck Reservoir, on the Missouri river, contained by the largest earthen dam in the world.

Flora

Vegetation of the state includes lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine; douglas fir, larch, spruce; aspen, birch, red cedar, hemlock, ash, alder; rocky mountain maple and cottonwood trees. Forests cover approximately 25% of the state. Flowers native to Montana include asters, bitterroots, daisies, lupins, poppies, primroses, columbine, lilies, orchids and dryads. Several species of sagebrush and cactus and many species of grasses are common. Many species of mushrooms and lichens are also found in the state.

Parks

Montana contains Glacier National Park, "The Crown of the Continent"; and portions of Yellowstone National Park, including three of the Park's five entrances. Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument; Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area; Big Hole National Battlefield; Lewis and Clark Caverns; and the National Bison Range. Montana has ten National Forests and more than 20 National Wildlife Refuges. The Federal government administers 36,000,000 acres (150,000 km2). 275,000 acres (1,110 km2) are administered as state parks and forests.

Quake Lake was created by a landslide during the 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake

Areas managed by the National Park Service include:[3]

Several American Indian reservations are located in Montana: Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Climate

Temperature and precipitation for Montana's capital city, Helena

Montana is a large state with considerable variation in geography, hence the climate is equally varied. The state spans from 'below' the 45th parallel (i.e. the halfway line between the equator and the north pole) to the 49th parallel, and elevations range from under 2,000 feet (610 m) to nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m) above sea level. The western half is mountainous, interrupted by numerous large valleys. Eastern Montana comprises plains and badlands, broken by hills and isolated mountain ranges, and has a semi-arid continental climate. The Continental Divide runs north-south through the western mountainous half, and has a great effect on the climate. It restricts the flow of warmer air from the Pacific from moving east, and cooler, drier continental moving west. West of the divide, the climate is described as modified northern Pacific coast climate, with milder winters, cooler summers, less wind, and a longer growing season.[4] In the winter, valley fog and low clouds often form in the valleys west of the divide, but this is rarely seen in the east.[5]

Average daytime temperatures vary from 28 °F (−2 °C) in January to 84.5 °F (29.2 °C) in July.[6] The variation in geography leads to great variation in temperature. Hot weather occurs in the eastern plains on occasion, the highest observed being 117 °F (47 °C) at Glendive on July 20, 1893, and Medicine Lake on July 5, 1937. Throughout the state, summer nights are generally cool and pleasant. Temperatures decrease with altitude, and hot weather is unknown above 4,000 ft (1,200 m) Snowfall is not unknown any month of the year in the central part of Montana, but is rare in July and August.[4]

The Big Drift covering the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park as photographed on March 23, 2006.

The coldest temperature on record for Montana is also the coldest temperature for the entire continental U.S. On January 20, 1954, −70 °F (−56.7 °C) was recorded at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass. Temperatures vary greatly on such cold nights, and Helena, 40 miles (64 km) to the southeast had a low of only −36 °F (−37.8 °C).[4] Winter cold spells last a week or so, and are usually the result of cold continental air coming south from Canada. The front is often well defined, causing a large temperature drop in a 24-hour period. Conversely, air flow from the southwest results in "Chinooks". These steady 25-50 mph (or more) winds can suddenly warm parts of Montana, especially areas just to the east of the mountains, where temperatures sometimes rise up to 50°F (28°C) - 60°F (33°C).[4]

Loma, Montana is the location of the most extreme recorded temperature change in a 24-hour period in the United States. On January 15, 1972, the temperature rose from −54 °F (−47.8 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C).[7]

The Grinnell Glacier gets 105 inches (2,700 mm) of precipitation per year.

Average annual precipitation is 15 inches (380 mm), but great variations are seen. The mountain ranges block the moist Pacific air, holding moisture in the western valleys, and creating rain shadows to the east. Heron, in the west, receives the most precipitation, 34.70 inches (881 mm). On the eastern (leeward) side of a mountain range, the valleys are much drier; Lonepine averages 11.45 inches (291 mm), and Deer Lodge 11.00 inches (279 mm) of precipitation. The mountains themselves can receive over 100 inches (2,500 mm), for example the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park gets 105 inches (2,700 mm).[5] Perhaps the driest is an area southwest of Belfry that averaged only 6.59 inches (167 mm) over a sixteen-year period. Most of the larger cities get 30 to 50 inches (760 to 1,300 mm) of snow each year. Mountain ranges themselves can accumulate 300 inches (7,600 mm) of snow during a winter. Heavy snowstorms may occur as early as September or as late as May, though most snow falls from November to March.[4]

The climate has become warmer in Montana and continues to do so.[8] The glaciers in Glacier National Park have receded and are predicted to melt away completely in a few decades.[9] Many Montana cities set heat records during July 2007, the hottest month ever recorded in Montana.[8][10] Winters are warmer, too, and have fewer cold spells. Previously these cold spells had killed off bark beetles which are now attacking the forests of western Montana.[11][12] The combination of warmer weather, attack by beetles, and mismanagement during past years has led to a substantial increase in the severity of forest fires in Montana.[8][12] According to a study done for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, portions of Montana will experience a 200% increase in area burned by wildland fires, and an 80% increase in air pollution from those fires.[13][14]

History

Assiniboine family, Montana, 1890-91

Various cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the territory of the present-day state of Montana for thousands of years. Historic tribes encountered by Europeans and settlers from the United States included the Crow in the south-central area; the Cheyenne in the southeast; the Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in the central and north-central area; and the Kootenai and Salish in the west. The smaller Pend d'Oreille and Kalispel tribes lived near Flathead Lake and the western mountains, respectively.

Montana east of the continental divide was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Subsequent to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and after the finding of gold and copper (see the Copper Kings) in the area in the late 1850s, Montana became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864, and the 41st state on November 8, 1889.

The first permanent European (white) settlement in Montana was founded by French Jesuit missionaries. From interactions with Iroquois between 1812 and 1820, the Salish Indians learned about the missionaries (nicknamed "blackrobes" for their habits) who worked with native peoples teaching about their methods of agriculture and medicine, and Roman Catholic Christianity. The Salish interest in these “blackrobes” grew and, in three expeditions to St. Louis between 1831 and 1837, Salish emissaries requested a “blackrobe” to come to their homeland. Initially the Salish were directed to William Clark (of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame), who was the territorial administrator at the time. Through Clark, they were introduced to St. Louis Bishop Joseph Rosati, who assured them that missionaries would be sent to the Bitter Root Valley when funds and priests were available in the future. After several more entreaties by the Salish, Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet arrived in western Montana near present-day Stevensville in the fall of 1841. He developed a settlement known as St. Mary’s Mission. Together with the Salish, he built a chapel, followed by other permanent structures including log cabins and Montana’s first pharmacy.

In 1850 Major John Owen arrived in the valley and set up camp north of St. Mary’s. In time, Major Owen established a trading post and military site called Fort Owen, which served the settlers, Salish, and missionaries in the Bitterroot Valley.

The headwaters of the Sun River, just below Gibson Reservoir

Fort Shaw (Montana Territory) was established in Spring 1867. One of three posts authorized by Congress in 1865 to be built, it is located west of Great Falls in the Sun River Valley. The other two posts in the Montana Territory were Camp Cooke on the Judith River and Fort C.F. Smith on the Bozeman Trail. Fort Shaw was named after Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first all African-American regiments during the American Civil War. It was built of adobe and lumber by the 13th Infantry. The fort had a 400 square feet (37 m2) parade ground and facilities including officers' barracks, enlisted men's barracks, a hospital, and a trading post. It could house up to 450 soldiers. Completed in 1868, it was used by military personnel until 1891.

After the close of the military post, the government established Fort Shaw as a school to provide industrial training to young Native Americans. The Fort Shaw Indian Industrial School was opened on April 30, 1892. At one time the school had 17 faculty members, 11 Indian assistants and 300 students. The school made use of more than 20 of the buildings built by the Army.

The revised Homestead Act of the early 1900s greatly affected the settlement of Montana. This act expanded the land provided by the Homestead Act of 1862 from 160 acres (0.6 km2) to 320 acres (1.3 km2) per individual. When the latter act was signed by President William Howard Taft, it also reduced the time necessary to "prove up" (i.e. to improve a land claim) from five years to three years, and permitted five months' absence from the claim each year.

In 1908, the Sun River Irrigation Project, west of Great Falls was opened up for homesteading. Under this Reclamation Act, a person could obtain 40 acres (16 ha). Most of the people who came to file on these homesteads were young couples who were eager to live near mountains where hunting and fishing were good. Many of the homesteaders came from the Midwest.

Montana was the scene of warfare as the Native Americans' struggled to maintain control of their land. The last stand of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was fought near the present day town of Hardin. Montana was also the location of the final battles of the Nez Perce Wars.

Cattle ranching has been central to Montana's history and economy since the late-19th century. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge Valley is maintained as a link to the ranching style of the late 19th century. Operated by the National Park Service, it is a 1,900 acres (7.7 km2) working ranch.

Demographics

Montana Population Density Map
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 20,595
1880 39,159 90.1%
1890 142,924 265.0%
1900 243,329 70.3%
1910 376,053 54.5%
1920 548,889 46.0%
1930 537,606 −2.1%
1940 559,456 4.1%
1950 591,024 5.6%
1960 674,767 14.2%
1970 694,409 2.9%
1980 786,690 13.3%
1990 799,065 1.6%
2000 902,195 12.9%
Est. 2009 974,989 [15] 8.1%

Montana ranks 44th in population; only six states (Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont and Delaware) have fewer people. As of 2009, Montana has an estimated population of 974,989, slightly less than either Rhode Island or Hawaii, which is an increase of 72,799, or 8.1%, since the year 2000 and a 22% increase since 1990. Growth is mainly concentrated in Montana's seven largest counties, with the heaviest growth in Bozeman's Gallatin County, which saw a 78% increase in its population since 1990.

According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the population of the most populous metropolitan/micropolitan areas are:

Billings 152,005, Missoula 107,320, Bozeman 89,824, Kalispell 88,473, Great Falls 82,026, Helena 72,180, Butte 32,803.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 94.8% of the population aged 5 and older speak English at home.[16]

The center of population of Montana is located in Meagher County, in the city of White Sulphur Springs.[17]

While German ancestry is the largest reported European-American ancestry in most of Montana, residents of Scandinavian ancestry are prevalent in some of the farming-dominated northern and eastern prairie regions. There are also several predominantly Native American counties, mostly around each of the seven Indian reservations. The historically mining-oriented communities of western Montana such as Butte have a wider range of ethnic groups, particularly people of Eastern European and Irish ancestry, as well as people who originally emigrated from British mining regions such as Cornwall and Devon. Montana is second only to South Dakota in U.S. Hutterite population with several colonies spread across the state. Many of Montana's historic logging communities originally attracted people of Scandinavian, Slavic, and Scots-Irish descent. Montana's Hispanic population is particularly concentrated around the Billings area in south-central Montana, and the highest density of African-Americans is located in Great Falls.

Demographics of Montana (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 92.79% 0.50% 7.36% 0.79% 0.12%
2000 (Hispanic only) 1.74% 0.05% 0.28% 0.04% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 92.52% 0.62% 7.47% 0.82% 0.11%
2005 (Hispanic only) 2.22% 0.07% 0.23% 0.03% 0.01%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 3.42% 28.09% 5.19% 7.11% -4.46%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 2.87% 25.58% 5.91% 8.07% -0.82%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 31.85% 52.36% -13.46% -13.52% -39.22%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Montana

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 169,250; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 50,287; and as of Dec. 31, 2008 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 45,517.[18]

Economy

Montana ranks 3rd nationally in craft breweries per capita.
Welcome sign.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Montana's total state product in 2003 was $26 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $25,406, 47th in the nation. However, this number is rapidly increasing. According to the Missoulian, the economy has grown rapidly since 2003; in 2005, Montana ranked 39th in the nation with an average per capita personal income of $29,387.[citation needed]

The economy is primarily based on agriculture, and major crops include wheat, barley, sugar beets, oats, rye, seed potatoes, honey, cherries, and cattle and sheep ranching.[citation needed] Montana is also a relative hub of beer microbrewing, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita.[19] There are significant industries for lumber and mineral extraction; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite.[citation needed] Ecotaxes on resource extraction are numerous. A 1974 state severance tax on coal (which varied from 20 to 30 percent) was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609 (1981).

Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Missouri River headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

Montana's personal income tax contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1% to 6.9%. Montana has no sales tax. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on livestock, farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks, and business equipment. The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions – city and county government, school districts and others.

Transportation

Train running parallel to Interstate 94 in Montana[20]

Railroads have been an important method of transportation in Montana since the 1880s. Historically, the state was traversed by the main lines of three east-west transcontinental routes: the Milwaukee Road, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific. Today, the BNSF Railway is the state's largest railroad, its main transcontinental route incorporating the former Great Northern main line across the state. Montana RailLink, a privately-held Class II railroad, operates former Northern Pacific trackage in western Montana.

In addition, Amtrak's Empire Builder train runs through the north of the state, stopping in the following towns: Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park, Browning, Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and Wolf Point.

Montana's three largest commercial airports serve Bozeman, Billings, and Missoula; smaller airports at Great Falls International Airport, Kalispell, Helena, and Butte also serve multiple commercial carriers. Eight smaller communities have airports designated for commercial service under the Essential Air Service program.

Historically, the primary east-west highway route across Montana was U.S. Route 10, which connected the major cities in the southern half of the state. Still the state's most important east-west travel corridor, the route is today served by Interstate 90 and Interstate 94. U.S. Routes 2 and 12 and Montana Highway 200 also traverse the entire state from east to west.

Montana's only north-south Interstate Highway is Interstate 15. Other major north-south highways include U.S. Routes 87, 89, 93 and 191. Interstate 25 terminates into I - 90 just south of the Montana border in Wyoming.

Law and government

The current Governor is Brian Schweitzer (Democrat) who was sworn in on January 3, 2005. Its two U.S. senators are Max Baucus (Democrat) and Jon Tester (Democrat). Montana's congressional representative is Denny Rehberg (Republican).

The state was the first to elect a female member of Congress (Jeannette Rankin) (Republican) and was one of the first states to give women voting rights (see suffrage). Despite its sizable American Indian population, Montana is one of the most homogenous states — nearly 90% of its residents are of European descent, with a large number of immigrants of German, Irish, Welsh, Slavic, English, Italian, Slovak and Scandinavian heritage arriving in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A significant portion of Chinese (Cantonese) immigrants also came and left an indelible mark on the state, especially in the mining cities of Helena, Butte, and Anaconda.

Politics

State capitol in Helena

Historically, Montana is a swing state of cross-ticket voters with a tradition of sending "liberals to Helena (the state capital) and conservatives to Washington." However, there have also been long-term shifts of party control. During the 1970s, the state was dominated by the Democratic Party, with Democratic governors for a 20-year period, and a Democratic majority of both the national congressional delegation and during many sessions of the state legislature. This pattern shifted, beginning with the 1988 election, when Montana elected a Republican governor and sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate for the first time since the 1940s. This shift continued with the reapportionment of the state's legislative districts that took effect in 1994, when the Republican Party took control of both houses of the state legislature, consolidating a party dominance that lasted until 2004. The state last supported a Democrat for president in 1992, when Bill Clinton won a plurality victory. Overall, since 1889 the state has voted for Democratic governors 60% of the time and Democratic presidents 40% of the time, with these numbers being 40/60 for Republican candidates.

In recent years, Montana has been classified as a Republican-leaning state, as the state supported President George W. Bush by a wide margin in 2000 and 2004. However, the state currently has two Democratic U.S. Senators and a Democratic governor (Brian Schweitzer), elected in 2004. In the 2006 midterm elections, Democratic candidate Jon Tester narrowly defeated (by only 3000 votes) incumbent Republican Senator Conrad Burns [3], one of several crucial races that allowed the Democratic Party to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. Montana's lone US Representative, Republican Denny Rehberg, easily won reelection in 2006 as well as in 2008. Long time Senator Max Baucus won reelection in 2008 with a massive majority of votes. The state Senate is, as of 2009, controlled by the Republicans. The State House of Representatives is tied with the speaker of the house coming from the Democratic Party. In the 2008 presidential election, Montana was considered a swing state and was ultimately won by Republican John McCain, albeit by a narrow margin of two percent.[21]

On April 17, 2007, Montana became the first state to pass legislation against the federal government's Real ID Act. Gov. Schweitzer signed a bill banning the Montana Motor Vehicle Division from enforcing the new regulations.[22]

Montana is an Alcoholic beverage control state.

Important cities and towns

Montana's largest city, Billings
Billings skyline & Sacrifice Cliff, 2005

Some of the cities in Montana are:

Some of the major towns in Montana are:

Counties

The State of Montana has 56 counties.

Montana Counties Ranked By 2008 Population[23]
Rank County Population   Rank County Population
1 Yellowstone County 142,348 29 Valley County 6,892
2 Missoula County 107,320 30 Blaine County 6,491
3 Gallatin County 89,824 31 Teton County 6,445
4 Flathead County 88,473 32 Pondera County 5,852
5 Cascade County 82,026 33 Chouteau County 5,225
6 Lewis and Clark County 60,925 34 Toole County 5,141
7 Ravalli County 40,664 35 Broadwater County 4,704
8 Silver Bow County 32,803 36 Musselshell County 4,498
9 Lake County 28,690 37 Phillips County 3,904
10 Lincoln County 18,971 38 Mineral County 3,862
11 Hill County 16,454 39 Sweet Grass County 3,790
12 Park County 16,189 40 Sheridan County 3,283
13 Glacier County 13,297 41 Granite County 2,821
14 Big Horn County 12,841 42 Fallon County 2,716
15 Jefferson County 11,255 43 Judith Basin County 2,014
16 Fergus County 11,195 44 Wheatland County 2,010
17 Custer County 11,149 45 Meagher County 1,868
18 Sanders County 11,034 46 Liberty County 1,725
19 Roosevelt County 10,089 47 Powder River County 1,694
20 Carbon County 9,657 48 McCone County 1,676
21 Richland County 9,270 49 Daniels County 1,643
22 Rosebud County 9,190 50 Carter County 1,234
23 Beaverhead County 8,903 51 Garfield County 1,184
24 Deer Lodge County 8,843 52 Golden Valley County 1,081
25 Stillwater County 8,687 53 Prairie County 1,064
26 Dawson County 8,490 54 Wibaux County 866
27 Madison County 7,509 55 Treasure County 637
28 Powell County 7,041 56 Petroleum County 436

Education

Colleges and universities

The state-funded Montana University System consists of:

Major Tribal Colleges in Montana include:

Major Private Colleges and Universities include:

Sports

Professional sports

There are no major league sports franchises in Montana, due to the state's relatively small and dispersed population, but a number of minor league teams play in the state. Baseball is the minor-league sport with the longest heritage in the state, and Montana is currently home to four Minor League baseball teams, all members of the Pioneer Baseball League:

The Billings Outlaws are a professional indoor football team affiliated with the United Indoor Football league.

Collegiate and amateur sports

All of Montana's four-year colleges and universities field a variety of intercollegiate sports teams. The two largest schools, the University of Montana and Montana State University, are members of the Big Sky Conference and have enjoyed a strong athletic rivalry since the early twentieth century. Most of the smaller four-year schools in the state belong to the Frontier Conference.

Football and basketball are the two most popular sports at the high school level. Montana is one of the few states where the smallest high schools participate in six-man football leagues.

Numerous other sports are played at the club and amateur level, including softball, rugby, and soccer.

Since 1988, the Montana High School All Class Wrestling Tournament has been held in Billings at MetraPark. This event remains one of the most popular high school events each year in Montana.

There are five junior hockey teams in Montana, all affiliated with the Northern Pacific Hockey League:

Ft. Shaw

In 1904 a group of young Native American women, after playing undefeated during their last season, went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis and defeated all challenging teams and were declared to be world champions. For this they received a large silver trophy with the inscription "World's Fair - St. Louis, 1904 - Basket Ball - Won by Fort Shaw Team".[24]

Montana in popular culture

Miscellaneous topics

  • The planned battleship USS Montana was named in honor of the state. However, the battleship was never completed, making Montana the only one of the 48 states during World War II not to have a battleship named after it. Additionally, Alaska and Hawaii have both had nuclear submarines named after them. As such Montana is the only state in the union without a modern naval ship named in its honor. However, in August 2007 Senator Jon Tester made a request to the Navy that a submarine be christened USS Montana.[25]
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.
  • Montana's triple divide allows water to flow into three oceans: the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Mexico), and the Arctic Ocean (Hudson Bay). This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.
  • In 1888, Helena (the current state capital) had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.

State symbols

Montana's state quarter, released in 2007.

Ski areas

Montana has several ski areas including:

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2008-01.csv. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S. Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved November 6, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Montana". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/state/mt. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Western Regional Climate Center "Climate of Montana"
  5. ^ a b Animal Range and Sciences, Extension Service, Montana State University - "Climate of Montana"
  6. ^ Visit MT.com "Montana Facts"
  7. ^ Andrew H. Horvitz, et al. A National Temperature Record at Loma, Montana, National Weather Service, 2002. Accessed 2008-11-02.
  8. ^ a b c Billings Gazette, UM climate expert says triple-digit Julys will be norm - August 27, 2007
  9. ^ "Glacier Monitoring Research". Monitoring and Assessing Glacier Changes and Their Associated Hydrologic and Ecologic Effects in Glacier National Park. U.S. Geological Survey. http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/glaciers.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  10. ^ NOAA - National Climatic Data Center "Climate of 2007 - July in Historical Perspective" August 15, 2007
  11. ^ The Missoulian "Beetles shaping Montana's forest lands"
  12. ^ a b Missoulan "Forest Service finds varied beetle activity"
  13. ^ Billings Gazette July 29, 2009 Forecast: More air pollution Study predicts global warming will increase fires in Northern Rockies [1]
  14. ^ JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH Impacts of climate change from 2000 to 2050 on wildfire activity and carbonaceous aerosol concentrations in the western United States[2]
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  16. ^ Language Map Data Center
  17. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". U. S. Census Bureau. 2000. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  18. ^ Deseret News 2009 Church Almanac of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  19. ^ Craft Brewing Industry Statistics
  20. ^ Pitt, John (2008). USA by Rail. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 100. ISBN 1841622559. http://books.google.es/books?id=zaqJV1s4PMsC. 
  21. ^ 2008 Election Results, CNN
  22. ^ http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=199732
  23. ^ "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for Counties of Montana: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-10-03. http://ceic.mt.gov/Demog/estimate/pop/County/CO-EST2008-07-01.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  24. ^ "Full Court Quest - Authors: Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith - Published 2008 by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University
  25. ^ Press Release Detail

Further reading

  • Axline, Jon, et al. Still Speaking Ill of the Dead: More Jerks in Montana History. Falcon Press, 2005. ISBN 1-58592-032-0
  • Bennion, Jon. Big Sky Politics. Five Valleys Publishing, April 2004. ISBN 1-888550-13-9
  • Doig, Ivan, Dancing at the Rascal Fair. Scribner: 1987. ISBN 0-689-11764-7.
  • Doig, Ivan, English Creek. Peter Smith Publisher Inc: 1992. ISBN 0-8446-6608-4.
  • Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Bison Books: 2003. ISBN 0-8032-7339-8.
  • Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Montana Margins: A State Anthology. Yale University Press,: 1946. ISBN 0-8369-2652-8.
  • Kittredge, William. The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology. (From the back cover: "...over 230 stories, poems, reminiscences, and reports written by 140 men and women. The book is divided into eight sections with introductory essays by William Bevis, Mary Clearman Blew, William Kittredge, William Lang, Richard Roeder, Annick Smith, and James Welch.") University of Washington Press: 1990. 1158 pages. ISBN 0-295-96974-1.
  • Lopach, James. We the People of Montana: The Workings of a Popular Government. Falcon Press, 1983 ISBN 0-87842-159-9
  • MacLean, Norman, A River Runs Through It. University of Chicago Press: 1976. ISBN 0-226-50060-8.
  • MacLean, Norman, Young Men and Fire. University of Chicago Press: 1992. ISBN 0-226-50061-6.
  • Malone, Michael P., Richard B. Roeder and William L. Lang. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. University of Washington: 1991. ISBN 0-295-97129-0.
  • Toole, K. Ross. Montana: An Uncommon Land. University of Oklahoma Press: 1984. ISBN 0-8061-1890-3.
  • Walter, Dave, et al. Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History. Falcon Press, 2000. ISBN 1-58592-032-0
  • Walker, Mildred. Winter Wheat. Harcourt: 1967. ISBN 0-15-197223-0.

External links


Preceded by
South Dakota
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on November 8, 1889 (41st)
Succeeded by
Washington

Coordinates: 47°N 110°W / 47°N 110°W / 47; -110


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Montana (disambiguation).
Red Eagle Glacier at Glacier National Park
Red Eagle Glacier at Glacier National Park

Montana [1] is a state in the northern/northwestern United States, in the Rocky Mountains region. Often called Big Sky Country for its famed big, blue skies, Montana is a state of contrasts, from the flat regions to the East and the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the West. Helena is the state Capital of Montana, Billings is the largest city, and Missoula is the second largest city. Major airports serve the seven largest communities, which in addition to the three cities listed in include Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman and Kalispell. Regional carriers serve some smaller communities. .

Regions

Montana is generally divided into two main regions: Eastern Montana and Western Montana. The Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains separate the smaller western portion from the larger eastern portion. Western Montana is characterized by higher rainfall in some areas, and terrain dominated by mountains, making for picturesque scenery such as that found in Glacier National Park. Eastern Montana is flatter, with isolated "island ranges" of lower mountains intermixed with prairie and a more arid climate, balanced by the presence of several significant rivers including the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River. Some areas feature erosion-built features such as buttes and badlands.

The Montana board of tourism splits the state into 6 regions:

Glacier Country
The far northwest portions of Montana, including Glacier National Park and the cities of Missoula, Whitefish, Kalispell, and Cut Bank.
Gold West Country
Southwest Montana, including the cities of Butte and Helena.
Russell Country
Named for famed western artist Charles M. Russell, north central Montana including the cities of Great Falls and Lewistown.
Yellowstone Country
South central Montana, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, including the cities of Bozeman and Red Lodge.
Missouri River Country
The far northeast Montana, including Glasgow.
Custer Country
The far southeast Montana, including the cities of Billings, Miles City, Glendive and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
  • Helena — the state capital.
  • Billings — on the plains within sight of the mountains, most populated city in Montana.
  • Bozeman — gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Butte — former mining town, once the largest city between Chicago and Seattle, famous for the Berkley Pit, the largest Superfund site in the nation.
  • Great Falls — The Electric City.
  • Havre — Railroad town, home to many interesting historical sites including the Wahkpa Chu'gn buffalo jump, the H.Earl Clack Museum, Ft. Assiniboine, Havre Beneath the Streets, and the nearby Bear Paw Battlefield.
  • Kalispell — gateway to Glacier National Park.
  • Livingston; The original gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Home to three interesting local museums, and still the Northern gateway to Yellowstone.
  • Missoula — Montana's second largest city, home to the University of Montana.

Smaller towns:

  • Big Sky
  • Cut Bank — On the plains, but in the same county as and eastern gateway to Glacier National Park (45 minutes west); 90 miles from Lethbridge, Alberta.
  • Culbertson
  • Glendive —Gate City to Eastern Montana. Home of Makoshika State Park--8,123 acres of spectacular badlands, fossils, wildlife and Paddlefishing.
  • Hungry Horse
  • Huntley -East suburb of Billings, next to Yellowstone River.
  • Loma
  • Polson small lakeside town building a skatepark-- thanks in part to the Tony Hawk Foundation.
  • Red Lodge
  • Three Forks
  • Virginia City — old style Wild West town, scene for a number of movies.
  • Whitefish — A resort town just north of Kalispell.
  • Wolf Point
  • Dillon — Small rural town in Southwest Montana
  • Sun River — Russell Country
Montana public lands map
Montana public lands map
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Glacier National Park
  • Pompey's Pillar National Monument Large Rock where Captain Clark of Lewis and Clark signed his name (as the Expedition had split to cover more ground).
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Custer's Last Stand battlefield and Reenactment location
  • Happy Pappy's Holdup [2]-Site for Montana wagon train adventure between Pompey's Pillar and Custer's Battlefield.
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail - Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery.
  • Yellowstone National Park — Majority located within Wyoming, however three entrances to the park are located in Montana.
  • Livingston — The Park County seat; at the turnoff to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Gardiner — The original and only all year entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Cooke City — Near the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Silver Gate — Near the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
  • West Yellowstone — West entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Understand

Montana is the 4th largest state by land mass in the United States at 145,552 square miles, however the state ranks 44th in population with just under a million residents, most of which are clustered around cities and towns. The state features wide open spaces, lonesome highways and dramatic scenery, both to the east and west of the continental divide.

Residents of Montana often classify themselves as either easterners or westerners, depending upon their geographic home. The west is often considered more picturesque, but is also more populated and heavily touristed. The eastern half of the state is more sparsely populated, with low lying plains, bluffs and cliffs. Attitude-wise, the west is generally considered more liberal, while the east, with its large ranching and agricultural operations, is considered more conservative.

The state economy is primarily based on agriculture, ranching, logging and mining as well as tourism.

Get in

Most visitors to Montana will drive, however the state is easily accessible by air. Some major points of entry are Billings (BIL), Missoula (MSO), Helena (HLN), Great Falls (GTF), Bozeman (BZN) and Kalispell (FCA).

A pretty popular and creative way is Amtrak's legendary Empire Builder. The train has 12 stops in Montana (from east to west: Wolf Point, Glasgow, Malta, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank, Browning/Oct-1 thru May 1, East Glacier/May 1 thru Oct. 1, Essex, West Glacier, Whitefish, Libby), and takes passengers to Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Chicago from Montana's Hi-Line and Glacier National Park. Tickets should be purchased in advance, and it is generally cheaper to do so. Staffed Amtrak stations in Montana are Wolf Point, Havre, Shelby, East Glacier (when open), and Whitefish.

Get around

Montana is a large state - a trip via interstate from the far eastern town of Wibaux to the western border town of Mullan, ID is over 700 miles, an estimated 12 hour trip. Because residents must often drive long distances to get from one place to another, they generally love their cars - especially their SUVs and other 4-wheel drive vehicles that do well in the often hazardous winter weather. Visitors can, however get around in other ways.

By train

Amtrak's Empire Builder serves Northern Montana stopping at Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier (seasonally), Browning (seasonally), Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and Wolf Point. This is through route between Seattle/Portland, St. Paul, and Chicago.

By plane

Air service within the state of Montana to the cities of Havre, Lewistown, Miles City, Glendive, Sidney, Wolf Point, and Glasgow has been temporarily suspended when Big Sky Airlines withdrew service. Service is expected to be reinstated in June or July, 2008. Service to these communities was provided to the hub at Billings.

Service to and from major hubs (such as Seattle, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Denver) continues from airports at Billings, Belgrade(Bozeman), Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, and Kalispell.

  • Greyhound Bus Lines [3], 800-231-2222, offers services from rural and large cities around Montana, as well as outside the state.
  • Powder River Trailways, 800-442-3682, offers limited tour routes throughout the state.
  • Rimrock Trailways, 800-255-7655 offers limited tour routes throughout the state.

By car

The easiest and most convenient way to get around Montana will probably always be by car. Destinations are spread wide even within a single city, and within cities, parking is usually ample and cheap, if not free. Rental cars are widely available, and the option to pick up in one city and drop off in another is available, though expensive.

Montana is traversed by three major interstates.

  • I-15 runs north-south from Alberta, Canada through Western Montana to Idaho.
  • I-90 runs north from Sheridan, Wyoming to near Billings then runs west through Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula to Idaho.
  • I-94 runs from the North Dakota border west to join with I-90 just east of Billings.

A few US Highways provide mainline travel through interesting areas of the state.

  • Highway 2 - The Hi-Line, a fabled highway running through northern Montana from the North Dakota border near Bainville to the Idaho border near Troy for 666 miles. The highway runs through the plains and prairies east of the continental divide, through the Fort Peck Indian Reservation town of Wolf Point, through Glasgow, Malta, Havre, Shelby and Cut Bank until crossing the continental divide, running the south side of Glacier National Park to Kalispell, Libby and the border.
  • Highway 12 runs a meandering east to west route from Lolo Pass to the North Dakota border near Baker, through heavily forested, winding roads in the West to the dramatic flats and plains to the East. The highway runs a meandering route from Lolo Pass to Missoula, overlaps with I-90 until Garrison, continues on to Helena, then proceeds for almost 250 miles until merging with I-94 through Miles City, then continues on to the North Dakota border near the southern edge of the state.
  • Wildlife - Deer, elk, moose, buffalo, big horn sheep, mountain goats, bears (black and grizzly), coyotes, wolves (mostly in Yellowstone), mountain lions, bald eagles and other birds of prey, the list goes on.

Do

Montana has a recreational opportunity for every adventure seeker, every season, and every mode of transit -- by land, by boat, by bike or all terain vehicle, there's something to keep you occupied in Montana.

  • Whitewater Rafting - many Montana rivers, espescially in the West, offer world class rapids. Many companies offer float trips of varying degrees of difficulty and length. Rafting on your own is greatly discouraged due to the extreme danger often found in mountain rivers.
  • Boating - bring your powerboat, canoe, kayak or schooner and find a lake, river or stream to wile away the day. Kayak and canoe rentals are widely available.
  • Floating - a unique Montana experience. Rent inner tubes, take a cooler of beer and float a river with a few, or a bunch, of your closest friends on a hot day. Pick a river that's wide and slow, or fast with rapids, and enjoy the view from a cool Montana waterway.
  • Fly fishing - iconically Montana due to the movie A River Runs Throught It which was filmed along parts of the Blackfoot river in Western Montana, anglers flock to rivers in the late spring and summer months to catch the "big one". Outfitters available for guided trips, or to rent you the gear you'll need. Ask a local for a good spot.
    • Prewett Creek Inn
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Mountain biking
  • Climbing
  • Off road vehicles
  • Horseback Riding
  • Billings Horseback Rides [4]
  • Wagon Train Adventures
  • Happy Pappy's Holdup [5]
  • Whoopah Ride [6]
  • Skiing/snowboarding - Montana has two large resort ski areas, Big Sky and Big Mountain, as well as smaller local hills. Check individual websites for current conditions and pricing. The mountains usually open around mid-late December and remain open into April, sometimes May. There are also options for backcountry and heli-skiing.
  • Bear Paw
  • Big Mountain [7]
  • Big Sky [8] - This is a large resort area located 45 minutes south of Bozeman. This has two mountains, lots of lifts, including "The Tram," a gondola to the top of Lone Peak. Pick a clear day for an unparalleled view of the Spanish Peaks and incredible expert skiing. Winter and summer resort activities available.
  • Blacktail Mountain
  • Bridger Bowl [9] - 20 minutes north of Bozeman, this is a locals' mountain with 7 lifts. Most of the mountain is intermediate level and above, including "The Ridge," a hikeable area to the top of the mountain and accessing a wide variety of expert terrain.
  • Discovery Basin
  • Great Divide [10]
  • Lookout Pass
  • Lost Trail Powder Mountain
  • Maverick Mountain
  • Montana Snowbowl - Located 20 minutes from Missoula.
  • Moonlight Basin [11]
  • Red Lodge Mountain Resort
  • Showdown, Teton Pass
  • Turner Mountain
  • Yellowstone Club - A private ski and golf community located next to Big Sky.
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross Country Skiing

Skateboarding

Montana is now home to some of the best skateparks in the country with some pretty unique features. For directions, descriptions and more information visit Skate Montana [12]

  • Dave Olseth Memorial Skatepark, Whitefish [13]
  • Woodland Skatepark, Kalispell - Built by Dreamland
  • 7th and 7th Skatepark, Polson - Featuring the Helmet, Built by Dreamland
  • MOBASH Skatepark, Missoula [14] - Lit at night and featuring a cradle, Built by Grindline
  • Anaconda Skatepark - Built by Dreamland
  • Dillon Skatepark - The Race Track, Built by Grindline
  • Butte Skatepark - Built by Dreamland
  • Riverside Railyard Skatepark, Great Falls - Built by Grindline
  • Helena Skatepark - Built by Alltec
  • Bozeman Skatepark - Built by Team Pain
  • Billings Skatepark

Eat

For a state generally associated with cattle chomping green grass underneath big blue skies, Montana has quite a bit to offer outside of meat and potatoes. Within cities and settled areas you should find a good variety of the ubiquitous fast food drive thrus, homey cafes and diners, delis, steakhouses, mexican cantinas, noodle and asian grills and the odd Indian or Sushi restaurant.

In rural areas, however, your selection may be much more limited. Every small town will have at least one eatery, even if it's a cafe stuffed in the corner of a post office, or a burger joint in the back of the town bar. Quality will vary, of course, but the experience might stick with you. If you are looking for meat and potatoes, look no further than the local cafe, diner or steakhouse. The beef will be fresh, most often locally raised and slaughtered, and cooked however you want it -- but if you say well done, your server might cry.

For local flavor and distinctly Montana eateries, try the Staggering Ox [15], with locations in Helena and Missoula, or MacKenzie River Pizza Co [16], with locations in Billings, Bozeman, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell, Belgrade, Whitefish and Butte. The Pickle Barrel [17] is excellent and famous for sub sandwiches with the original location in Bozeman, other locations in Missoula, Great Falls, Livingston, and Billings.

Buffalo chili, cowboy beans, Indian fry-bread and steak is a type of cowboy food that many love to experience while in the Big Sky Country whether in Billings, Hardin, Laurel, Red lodge or Helena. Try some chuckwagon food in and around the state like Pappy's MT Catering [18] and other quality businesses who cater for large groups and gatherings in Montana.

During the summer months, primarily late June, July and early August, look for huckleberries and famous Flathead cherries at farmers markets and roadside stands throughout Western Montana. If you're looking for adventure, ask a local a good place to go pick your own huckleberries -- but beware, they may keep it a closely guarded secret and take some bear spray, they love the treat, too.

Drink

Montanans, as a general rule, love their beer. Increasingly, Montanans love their microbrews, especially those brewed locally. Some famous microbrews are brewed in Montana, including Moose Drool, a brown ale brewed by Big Sky Brewing Co. [19] and the best selling microbrew outside and inside of the state. Microwbreweries in Missoula, Kalispell, Helena, Billings and other cities and towns allow for cheap tasting and filling of a growler -- usually the best bang (or buzz) for your buck.

Outside of microbrews, domestic favorites vary from Coors to Budweiser, with light varieties in between. Bars good for bar hopping can be found in the downtown districts of most cities, especially Missoula, Billings and Bozeman, and they're generally a good guage of local color and culture. Outside of large cities, most small towns have at least one bar, and they often serve food of varying quality. A general rule of thumb -- if the town has a post office (the Montanan's definition of a town in rural areas) then there should be a bar or a honky tonk in which you can quench your thirst.

Stay safe

Montana is safer than most when it comes to violent and personal crime, but the state still suffers from one of the highest highway and road death rates in the country. Long distance travel over great amounts of time resulting in fatigue, hazardous winter road conditions, distances from emergency services, and alcohol consumption frequently contribute to the high number of deaths on Montana's highways yearly. This is not to say it's unsafe to drive in Montana -- just beware. If you are unused to driving winding mountain roads or driving in extremely hazardous snow/wind/ice/rain/sleet conditions, do not do so. Wait for the weather to clear -- it may result in a good story, those 12 hours you spent at a truck stop with some friends waiting for a pass to clear.

If you do find yourself stranded in winter conditions, it's important to remember two things -- first, be prepared. Always carry water, snack foods, a small first aid kit including a space blanket and a cell phone, if possible, for emergencies. Although there is cellphone coverage along most of the highways, it can be unreliable in places, especially the numerous mountain passes. Many rural roads have no cellphone coverage, so don't rely on always having quick emergency communication. Second, if you become stranded, stay in you car, turn on your hazard lights, and wait for help.

There is a lot of wildlife around the state, including deer, elk, moose, bears, buffalo, and coyotes. Always remember that these are wild, and do not tolerate people with cameras getting close, much less trying to put their kid on the buffalo. Most animals will avoid humans by our scent or noise, although beware of deer along the roads. When camping, always keep food in your car, or hung from a tall tree. Tents are like tissue paper to a hungry bear.

Outside of environmental and road hazards, use common sense, and you should be fine.

Respect

Montanans treasure their state, loving it for the recreational opportunities, wide open spaces, and the friendly nature of their neighbors. They, in general, welcome tourists and travellers, and will be glad to let you in on cool places to go, the best hike to take, or their favorite fishing hole. In addition, some Montanans are very proud of being 'rednecks,' and may be seen sporting 'redneck proud' T-Shirts, caps, or bumper stickers. This is not meant to be derogatory in any way, but is an expression of pride in Montana's rough and wild cultural heritage.

Be advised, however, that any disrespect of land and nature will not be tolerated. When enjoying everything Montana has to offer, please respect the lands, waterways and wildlife by following common sense. Don't litter, pollute or otherwise upset the landscape any more than you must, and though it is a cliche, do not feed the wildlife.

  • North Dakota - Montana's northeastern neighbor is America's least visited state, but its isolation provides opportunities for uncrowded visits to the state's hills and lakes, badlands, plains, and old frontier forts.
  • South Dakota - Home to such natural and cultural wonders as Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park and Mount Rushmore, Montana's southeastern neighbor offers a surprising amount for travelers to see and do.
  • Wyoming - Most of Yellowstone National Park is in Montana's southern neighbor, so you'll obviously not just want to visit the small section that's in Montana.
  • Idaho - Montana's western neighbor is a rugged state, with snow-capped mountains, whitewater rivers, forests, high desert, and plenty of wilderness.
  • British Columbia - Crossing the state's northwestern border into Canada leads into the mountainous terrain of southeastern British Columbia.
  • Alberta - This Canadian province is located to the north of Montana and offers everything from the beauty of the Rockies to the serene flatness of prairie to the wilderness of the northern forests.
  • Saskatchewan - Located to the northeast of Montana, the southern portion of Saskatchewan is predominantly prairie (with a reputation for being very flat) known for its seemingly endless fields of wheat.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has articles on:

Wikipedia

See also montana, and montaña

Contents

English

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Map of US highlighting Montana

Etymology

From Spanish montaña (mountain)

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Montana

Plural
-

Montana

  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Helena.
  2. A town and province in northwestern Bulgaria.

Derived terms

Translations

See also


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Montana
Flag of Montana State seal of Montana
Flag of Montana SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Treasure State, Big Sky Country
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Oro y plata (Gold and silver)
Map of the United States with Montana highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Helena
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Billings
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 4thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 147,165 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(381,156 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 255 miles (410 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)
 - % water 1
 - Latitude 44° 21′ N to 49° N
 - Longitude 104° 2′ W to 116° 3′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 44thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 997,195
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 6.19/sq mi 
2.39/km² (48th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Granite Peak[1]
12,799 ft  (3,901 m)
 - Mean 3,396 ft  (1,035 m)
 - Lowest point Kootenai River[1]
1,800 ft  (549 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  November 8, 1889 (41st)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Brian Schweitzer (D)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Max Baucus (D)
Jon Tester (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Mountain: UTC-7/DST-6
Abbreviations MTImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-MTImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.mt.gov


Montana (IPA: /mɒnˈtænə/) is a state in the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains regions of the United States of America. The central and western thirds of the state have numerous mountain ranges (approximately 77 named) of the northern Rocky Mountains; thus the state's name, derived from the Spanish word montaña ("mountain"). The state nickname is the "Treasure State." Other nicknames include "Land of Shining Mountains," "Big Sky Country," and the slogan "the last best place." The state ranks fourth in area, but 44th in population, and therefore has the third lowest population density in the United States. The economy is primarily based on agriculture and significant lumber and mineral extraction. Tourism is also important to the economy, with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, the Battle of Little Bighorn site, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

Contents

Geography

Missouri Breaks region in central Montana

With a land area of 145,552 mi² (376,978 km²) the state of Montana is the fourth largest in the United States (after Alaska, Texas, and California). To the north, Montana and Canada share a 545 mile (877 km) border. The state borders the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, more provinces than any other state. To the east, the state borders North Dakota and South Dakota. To the south is Wyoming and to the west and southwest is Idaho.

The topography of the state is diverse, but roughly defined by the Continental Divide, which runs on an approximate diagonal through the state from northwest to south-central, splitting it into two distinct eastern and western regions. Montana is well known for its mountainous western region, part of the northern Rocky Mountains. However, about 60% of the state is actually prairie, part of the northern Great Plains. Nonetheless, even east of the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountain Front, there are a number of isolated "Island Ranges" that dot the prairie landscape.

St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park

The Bitterroot Mountains divide the state from Idaho to the west with the southern third of the range blending into the Continental Divide. Mountain ranges between the Bitterroots and the top of the Continental Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Missions, the Garnet, Sapphire, Flint Creek, and Pintlar ranges.

The northern section of the Divide, where the mountains give way rapidly to prairie, is known collectively as the Rocky Mountain Front and is most pronounced in the Lewis Range located primarily in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide (which begins in Alaska's Seward Peninsula) crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. Thus, the Waterton, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers flow north into Alberta, Canada, joining the Saskatchewan River and ultimately emptying into Hudson Bay.

East of the Divide, several parallel ranges march across the southern half of the state, including the Gravelly Range, the Tobacco Roots, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Absaroka Mountains, and the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the lower 48 states and contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peak, 12,799 feet (3,901 m) high.

Between the mountain ranges are many scenic valleys, rich in agricultural resources and rivers, and possessing multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. Among the best-known areas are the Flathead Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Big Hole Valley, and Gallatin Valley.

East and north of this transition zone are expansive sparsely populated Northern Plains, with rolling tableland prairies, "island" mountain ranges, and scenic badlands extending into the Dakotas, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Wyoming. The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, Snowy Mountains, Sweet Grass Hills, Bull Mountains. The Pryor Mountains South of Billings and, in the southeastern corner of the state near Ekalaka, the Long Pines and Short Pines.

The area east of the divide in the north-central portion of the state is known for the dramatic Missouri Breaks and other significant rock formations. Three stately buttes south of Great Falls are familiar landmarks. These buttes, Square Butte, Shaw Butte, and Crown Butte, are made of igneous rock, which is dense and has withstood weathering for many years. The underlying surface consists of shale. Many areas around these buttes are covered with clay surface soils. These soils have been derived from the weathering of the Colorado Formation. Farther east, areas such as Makoshika State Park near Glendive, and Medicine Rocks State Park near Ekalaka also highlight some of the most scenic badlands regions in the state.

Montana also contains a number of rivers, many of which are known for "blue-ribbon" trout fishing, but which also provide most of the water needed by residents of the state, as well as being a source of hydropower. Montana is the only state in the union whose rivers form parts of three major North American watersheds: The Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay which are divided atop Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

West of the divide, the Clark Fork of the Columbia (not to be confused with the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River) rises in the Rocky Mountains near Butte and flows northwest to Missoula. There it is joined by the Blackfoot River and Bitterroot River and further downstream by the Flathead River before entering Idaho near Lake Pend Oreille, becoming part of the Columbia River, which flows to the Pacific Ocean. The Clark Fork discharges the greatest volume of water of any river exiting the state. The Flathead River and Kootenai River also drain major portions of the western half of the state.

East of the divide, the Missouri River, formed by the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, crosses the central part of the state, flows through the Missouri breaks and enters North Dakota. The Yellowstone River rises in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, flows north to Livingston, Montana, where it then turns east and flows across the state until it joins the Missouri River a few miles east of the North Dakota boundary. The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed, free-flowing river in North America. Other major Montana tributaries of the Missouri include the Milk, Marias, Tongue, and Musselshell Rivers. Montana also claims the disputed title of possessing the "world's shortest river," the Roe River, just outside Great Falls. These rivers ultimately join the Mississippi River and flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

Water is of critical importance to the state for both agriculture and hydropower. In addition to its rivers, the state is home to Flathead Lake, the largest natural fresh-water lake in the United States west of the Great Lakes. Man-made reservoirs dot Montana's rivers, the largest of which is Fort Peck Reservoir, on the Missouri river, contained by the largest earth-filled dam in the world.

Vegetation of the state includes ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, larch, fir, spruce, aspen, birch, red cedar, ash, alder, rocky mountain maple and cottonwood trees. Forests cover approximately 25% of the state. Flowers native to Montana include asters, bitterroots, daisies, lupins, poppies, primroses, columbine, lilies, orchids and dryads. Several species of sagebrush and cactus and many species of grasses are common. Many species of mushrooms and lichens are also found in the state.

Montana contains Glacier National Park and portions of Yellowstone National Park, including three of the Park's five entrances. Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Big Hole National Battlefield, Lewis and Clark Caverns, and the National Bison Range. Montana has eight National Forests and over 20 National Wildlife Refuges. The Federal government administers 36,000,000 acres (146,000 km²). 275,000 acres (1,100 km²) are administered as state parks and forests.

Areas managed by the National Park Service include:

Several Indian reservations are located in Montana: Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and the Flathead Indian Reservation.

See also: List of Montana counties, List of Montana rivers

History

Main article: History of Montana
Assiniboine family, Montana, 1890-91

Native Americans were the first of many inhabitants of the state of Montana. Groups included the Crow in the south-central area, the Cheyenne in the southeast, the Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in the central and north-central area and the Kootenai and Salish in the west. The smaller Pend d'Oreille and Kalispel tribes were found around Flathead Lake and the western mountains, respectively.

Montana east of the continental divide was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Subsequent to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and after the finding of gold and copper (see the Copper Kings) in the state in the late 1850s, Montana became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864, and the 41st state on November 8, 1889.

Fort Shaw (Montana Territory) was established in the spring of 1867. It is located west of Great Falls in the Sun River Valley and was one of three posts authorized to be built by Congress in 1865. The other two posts in the Montana Territory were Camp Cooke on the Judith River and Fort C.F. Smith on the Bozeman Trail in south central Montana Territory. Fort Shaw, named after Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first all African-American regiments, during the American Civil War, was built of adobe and lumber by the 13th Infantry. The fort had a parade ground that was 400 ft² (120 m²), and consisted of barracks for officers, a hospital, and a trading post, and could house up to 450 soldiers. Completed in 1868, it was used by military personnel until 1891.

After the close of the military post, the government established Fort Shaw as a school to provide industrial training to young Native Americans. The Fort Shaw Indian Industrial School was opened on April 30, 1892. The school had at one time 17 faculty members, 11 Indian assistants and 300 students. The school made use of over 20 of the buildings built by the Army.

The revised Homestead Act of the early 1900s greatly affected the settlement of Montana. This act expanded the land that was provided by the Homestead Act of 1862 from 160 acres (0.6 km2) to 320 acres (1.3 km2). When the latter act was signed by President Taft, it also reduced the time necessary to prove up from five years to three years and permitted five months' absence from the claim each year.

In 1908, the Sun River Irrigation Project, west of Great Falls was opened up for homesteading. Under this Reclamation Act, a person could obtain 40 acres (16 ha). Most of the people who came to file on these homesteads were young couples who were eager to live near mountains where hunting and fishing were good. Many of these homesteaders came from the Midwest and Minnesota.

Montana was the scene of the Native Americans' last effort to keep their land, and the last stand of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was fought near the present day town of Hardin. Montana was also the location of the final battles of the Nez Perce Wars.

Cattle ranching has long been central to Montana's history and economy. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge Valley is maintained as a link to the ranching style of the late 19th century. It is operated by the National Park Service but is also a 1,900 acre (7.7 km²) working ranch.

Demographics

Montana Population Density Map

As of 2006, Montana has an estimated population of 997,670, which is an increase of 8,750, or 0.9%, from the prior year and an increase of 33,475, or 3.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 13,674 people (that is 58,001 births minus 44,327 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 21,074 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 2,141 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 18,933 people. 16,500 of state residents are foreign-born, accounting for 1.8% of the total population.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1.52% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 1.11% speak German [2].

The center of population of Montana is located in Meagher County, in the city of White Sulphur Springs [3]. {{US DemogTable|Montana|03-30.csv|= | 92.79| 0.50| 7.36| 0.79| 0.12|= | 1.74| 0.05| 0.28| 0.04| 0.01|= | 92.52| 0.62| 7.47| 0.82| 0.11|= | 2.22| 0.07| 0.23| 0.03| 0.01|= | 3.42| 28.09| 5.19| 7.11| -4.46|= | 2.87| 25.58| 5.91| 8.07| -0.82|= | 31.85| 52.36| -13.46| -13.52| -39.22}} While German ancestry is the largest reported European-American ancestry in most of Montana, residents of Scandinavian ancestry are prevalent in some of the farming-dominated northern and eastern prairie regions. There are also several predominantly Native American counties, mostly around each of the seven Indian reservations. The historically mining-oriented communities of western Montana such as Butte have a wider range of ethnic groups, particularly people of Eastern European and Irish-American ancestry, as well as people who originally emigrated from British mining regions such as Cornwall. Montana is second only to South Dakota in U.S. Hutterite population with several colonies spread across the state. Many of Montana's historic logging communities originally attracted people of Scandinavian and Scots-Irish descent. Montana's Hispanic population is particularly concentrated around the Billings area in south-central Montana, and the highest density of African-Americans is located in Great Falls.

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Montana

Economy

A Montana quarter, reverse side, 2007

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Montana's total state product in 2003 was $26 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $25,406, 47th in the nation. However, this number is rapidly increasing. According to the Missoulian, the economy has grown rapidly since 2003; in 2005, Montana ranked 39th in the nation with an average per capita personal income of $29,387.

The economy is primarily based on agriculture--wheat, barley, sugar beets, oats, rye, seed potatoes, honey, cherries, cattle and sheep ranching -- and significant lumber and mineral extraction (gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite). Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Missouri River headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

Montana's personal income tax contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1% to 6.9%. Montana has no sales tax. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on livestock, farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks, and business equipment. The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions -- city and county government, school districts and others.

Transportation

Major highways include:

In addition, Amtrak's Empire Builder train runs through the north of the state, stopping in the following towns: Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park, Browning, Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and Wolf Point.

Law and government

See also: List of Montana Governors

The current Governor is Brian Schweitzer (Democrat) who was sworn in on January 3, 2005. Its two U.S. senators are Max Baucus (Democrat) and Jon Tester (Democrat). Montana's congressional representative is Denny Rehberg (Republican).

The state was the first to elect a female member of Congress (Jeannette Rankin) and was one of the first states to give women voting rights (see suffrage). Despite its sizable American Indian population, Montana is one of the most homogenous states — nearly 90% of its residents are of European descent, with a large number of immigrants of German, Irish, Norwegian, Welsh, Cornish, Italian, Slovak and Scandinavian heritage arriving in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A significant portion of Chinese (Cantonese) immigrants also came and left an indelible mark on the state, especially in the mining cities of Helena, Butte, and Anaconda.

Politics

Montana State Capitol in Helena.

Historically, Montana is a Swing state of cross-ticket voters with a tradition of sending "conservatives to Helena (the state capital) and liberals to Washington." However, there have also been long-term shifts of party control. During the 1970s, the state was dominated by the Democratic Party, with Democratic governors for a 20-year period, and a Democratic majority of both the national congressional delegation and during many sessions of the state legislature. This pattern shifted, beginning with the 1988 election, when Montana elected a Republican governor and sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate for the first time since the 1940s. This shift continued with the reapportionment of the state's legislative districts that took effect in 1994, when the Republican Party took control of both houses of the state legislature, consolidating a party dominance that lasted until 2004. The state last supported a Democrat for president in 1992, Bill Clinton's first election.

In recent years, Montana has been classified as a Republican-leaning state, and the state supported President George W. Bush by a wide margin in 2000 and 2004. However, since the 2000 reapportionment plan went into effect in 2004 the state currently has a Democratic governor (Brian Schweitzer), elected in 2004. In the 2006 midterm elections, Democratic candidate Jon Tester narrowly defeated (by only 3000 votes) incumbent Republican Senator Conrad Burns [4], one of several crucial races that allowed the Democratic Party to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. Montana's lone US Congressman, Republican Denny Rehberg, easily won reelection in a landslide. The state Senate is (as of 2007) controlled by the Democrats and the State House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans.

On April 17th, 2007, Montana became the first state to pass legislation against the federal government's Real ID Act. Gov. Schweitzer signed a bill banning the Montana Motor Vehicle Division from enforcing the new regulations. [5]

Montana is an Alcoholic beverage control state.

Important cities and towns

Billings skyline & Sacrifice Cliff, 2005

Some of the cities in Montana are:

Some of the major towns in Montana are:



Counties

The State of Montana has 56 counties.

Montana Counties Ranked By 2005 Population[2]
Rank County Population   Rank County Population
1 Yellowstone County 136,691 29 Powell County 6,999
2 Missoula County 100,086 30 Blaine County 6,629
3 Flathead County 83,172 31 Teton County 6,240
4 Cascade County 79,569 32 Pondera County 6,087
5 Gallatin County 78,210 33 Chouteau County 5,463
6 Lewis and Clark County 58,449 34 Toole County 5,031
7 Ravalli County 39,940 35 Broadwater County 4,517
8 Silver Bow County 32,982 36 Musselshell County 4,497
9 Lake County 28,297 37 Phillips County 4,179
10 Lincoln County 19,193 38 Mineral County 4,014
11 Hill County 16,304 39 Sweet Grass County 3,672
12 Park County 15,968 40 Sheridan County 3,524
13 Glacier County 13,552 41 Granite County 2,965
14 Big Horn County 13,149 42 Fallon County 2,717
15 Fergus County 11,551 43 Judith Basin County 2,198
16 Custer County 11,267 44 Wheatland County 2,037
17 Jefferson County 11,170 45 Liberty County 2,003
18 Sanders County 11,057 46 Meagher County 1,999
19 Roosevelt County 10,524 47 Daniels County 1,836
20 Carbon County 9,902 48 McCone County 1,805
21 Rosebud County 9,212 49 Powder River County 1,705
22 Richland County 9,096 50 Carter County 1,320
23 Deer Lodge County 8,948 51 Garfield County 1,199
24 Beaverhead County 8,773 52 Golden Valley County 1,159
25 Dawson County 8,688 53 Prairie County 1,105
26 Stillwater County 8,493 54 Wibaux County 951
27 Madison County 7,274 55 Treasure County 689
28 Valley County 7,143 56 Petroleum County 470

Education

Colleges and universities

The state-funded Montana University System consists of:

Major Tribal Colleges in Montana include:

Major Private Colleges and Universities include:

Sports

Montana is one of a select few states in America that lack a major sports team.

However, Montana does have these Minor League baseball teams:

Rugby is also played in Montana, with teams such as the Billings Bulls and the Helena All-Blues playing under the jurisdiction of the Montana Rugby Union.

Montana also has several junior hockey teams such as the Billings Bulls (original use of Billings Bulls as a sports team name), the Bozeman Icedogs, the Butte Roughriders (Butte having been home to the Butte Irish previously in junior A hockey, now defunct) and the Helena Bighorns (formerly know as both the Helena Gold Rush and Helena Ice Pirates in Junior A tier hockey and the Helena Cutthroats in Junior B tier hockey). These teams are currently members of the NorPac Hockey League Rocky Mountain Division. For the 2007-2008 season an expansion team the Missoula Maulers will join the league. The Rocky Mountain Division also includes the Yellowstone Quake out of Cody.

Miscellaneous topics

  • The state's name is derived from the Spanish word montaña ("mountain"). The state nickname is the "Treasure State." Other nicknames include "Big Sky Country," and the slogan "the last best place."
  • The planned battleship USS Montana was named in honor of the state. However, the battleship was never completed, making Montana the only one of the 48 states during World War II not to have a battleship named after it. Additionally, Alaska and Hawaii have both had nuclear submarines named after them. As such Montana is the only state in the union without a modern naval ship named in its honor. However, in August 2007 Senator Jon Tester made a request to the Navy that a submarine be christened USS Montana.[3]
  • In 1902, a group of female students from the Fort Shaw Indian Industrial School began playing basketball and traveled throughout Montana, defeating high school teams and some college teams. In 1904, the girls' basketball team traveled by train to the St. Louis World's Fair. Over a period of five months, the team was challenged by numerous other basketball teams and won every contest, returning to Fort Shaw with the "world champion" trophy. On May 1, 2004, a monument in honor of the basketball team was unveiled at the entrance of the present-day Fort Shaw Elementary School.
  • In the movie 'Star Trek: First Contact', Montana is the location of the fictitious first contact between humans and an alien race, the Vulcans. Star Trek producer Brannon Braga is originally from Bozeman. However, no Montana locations were used in the shooting of the film.
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.
  • In 1888, Helena (the current state capital) had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.
  • Montana is one of two states in the continental United States which, in addition to not having a major metropolitan area over 1,000,000 in population, also does not border a state that does have one (Maine is the other). However, it does border the Canadian Provinces Alberta (population in 2005 of 3,237,000) and British Columbia (population in 2006 of 4,292,000, which have a combined three cities with a metro population of over 1,000,000 each.

State symbols

Quake Lake was formed during the 1959 earthquake of the Yellowstone Area.

Ski areas

The Big Sky Resort

Montana has several ski areas including:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S. Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 6, 2006.
  2. ^ {{cite web | url = http://ceic.mt.gov/Demog/estimate/pop/County/CO-EST2005-01-30.htm | title = Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for Counties of Montana: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005|format = [[2006-03-16|]]
  3. ^ [1]

Further reading

  • Bennion, Jon. Big Sky Politics. Five Valleys Publishing, April 2004. ISBN 1-888550-13-9
  • Lopach, James. We the People of Montana: The Workings of a Popular Government. Falcon Press, 1983 ISBN 0-87842-159-9
  • Kittredge, William. The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology. (From the back cover: "...over 230 stories, poems, reminiscences, and reports written by 140 men and women. The book is divided into eight sections with introductory essays by William Bevis, Mary Clearman Blew, William Kittredge, William Lang, Richard Roeder, Annick Smith, and James Welch.") University of Washington: 1990. 1158 pages. ISBN 0-295-96974-1.
  • Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Bison Books: 2003. ISBN 0-8032-7339-8.
  • Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Montana Margins: A State Anthology. Yale University Press,: 1946. ISBN 0-8369-2652-8.
  • Malone, Michael P., Richard B. Roeder and William L. Lang. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. University of Washington: 1991. ISBN 0-295-97129-0.
  • Toole, K. Ross. Montana: An Uncommon Land. University of Oklahoma: 1984. ISBN 0-8061-1890-3.
  • Doig, Ivan, Dancing at the Rascal Fair. Scribner: 1987. ISBN 0-689-11764-7.
  • Doig, Ivan, English Creek. Peter Smith Publisher Inc: 1992. ISBN 0-8446-6608-4.
  • MacLean, Norman, A River Runs Through It. University of Chicago Press: 1976. ISBN 0-226-50060-8.
  • MacLean, Norman, Young Men and Fire. University of Chicago Press: 1992. ISBN 0-226-50061-6.
  • Walker, Mildred. Winter Wheat. Harcourt: 1967. ISBN 0-15-197223-0.
  • Walter, Dave, et al. Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History. Falcon Press, 2000. ISBN 1-58592-032-0
  • Axline, Jon, et al. Still Speaking Ill of the Dead: More Jerks in Montana History. Falcon Press, 2005. ISBN 1-58592-032-0

External links

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CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 47° N 110° W

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Simple English

State of Montana
File:Flag of [[File:|100px|State seal of Montana]]
Flag of Montana Seal of Montana
Also called: Treasure State, Big Sky Country
Saying(s): Oro y plata (Gold and silver)
Official language(s) English
Capital Helena
Largest city Billings
Area  Ranked 4th
 - Total 147,165 sq mi
(381,156 km²)
 - Width 255 miles (410 km)
 - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)
 - % water 1
 - Latitude 44°26'N to 49°N
 - Longitude 104°2'W to 116°2'W
Number of people  Ranked 44th
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (48th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Granite Peak[1]
12,799 ft  (3,901 m)
 - Average 3,396 ft  (1,035 m)
 - Lowest point Kootenai River[1]
1,800 ft  (549 m)
Became part of the U.S.  November 8, 1889 (41st)
Governor Brian Schweitzer (D)
U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D)
Jon Tester (D)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/DST-6
Abbreviations MT US-MT
Web site www.mt.gov

Montana is a state in the United States. Its capital is Helena, and the largest city is Billings. Montana has many mountains in the western half of the state.

Montana and Canada share a 545-mile (877-km) portion of the world's longest undefended (no soldiers or armies on either side) border. The state borders the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, more provinces than any other U.S. state.

To the east is North Dakota; to the southeast is a short border with South Dakota. In the south is Wyoming, and on the west and southwest is Idaho.

References

The state where Michael got his fake i.d. taken away.frr:Montana








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