Montana

Montana

Overview
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island range
Island range
An island range is a term used to describe a mountain range that exists in total or almost total isolation from a larger chain of ranges and sub-ranges. From a distance on the plains, these ranges appear as "islands" of higher ground...

s" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, none official, including: "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently, "The Last Best Place".
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Timeline

1864   Montana is organized as a United States territory.

1867   Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode gold mine located in Montana.

1870   In Montana, U.S. cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in the Marias Massacre.

1873   Indian Wars: whilst protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer clashes for the first time with the Sioux near the Tongue River; only one man on each side is killed.

1887   In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, {{convert|15|in|cm}} wide and {{convert|8|in|cm}} thick.

1889   President Grover Cleveland signs a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as U.S. states.

1889   Montana is admitted as the 41st U.S. state.

1910   An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

1917   Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female member of the United States House of Representatives.

1943   The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, explodes, killing 74 men.

 
Encyclopedia
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island range
Island range
An island range is a term used to describe a mountain range that exists in total or almost total isolation from a larger chain of ranges and sub-ranges. From a distance on the plains, these ranges appear as "islands" of higher ground...

s" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, none official, including: "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently, "The Last Best Place". The state ranks fourth in area, but 44th in population, and accordingly has the third-lowest population density in the United States. The economy is primarily based on services, with ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal mining in the east, and lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

, tourism, and hard rock mining in the west. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Montana, in the United States. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern...

, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

.

Geography


With a land area of 147046 square miles (380,847.4 km²) Montana is slightly larger than Japan and slightly smaller than Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

. It is the fourth largest state in the United States (after Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, Texas, and California), the largest landlocked U.S. state, and the 56th largest national state/province subdivision in the world. To the north, Montana shares a 545 miles (877.1 km) border with three Canadian provinces: British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

. To the east, the state borders North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 and South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

. To the south lies Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 and to the west and southwest is Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

.

The topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 of the state is diverse, and roughly defined by the Continental Divide
Continental Divide
The Continental Divide of the Americas, or merely the Continental Gulf of Division or Great Divide, is the name given to the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain...

, 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 is geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

. The Absaroka and Beartooth
Beartooth Mountains
The Beartooth Mountains are located in south central Montana and northwest Wyoming, U.S. and are part of the 900,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, within Custer, Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests. The Beartooths are the location of Granite Peak, which at 12,807 feet is the highest...

 ranges in the south are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains. About 60% of the state is prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

, part of the northern Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. Nonetheless, even east of the Continental Divide
Continental Divide
The Continental Divide of the Americas, or merely the Continental Gulf of Division or Great Divide, is the name given to the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain...

 and the Rocky Mountain Front
Rocky Mountain Front
The Rocky Mountain Front is an area extending over 100 miles from the central regions of the U.S. state of Montana to southern Alberta, Canada. Here, the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains and Canadian Prairie in an abrupt elevation rise of between 4,000 to 5,000 feet...

, 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
Bitterroot Mountains
The Northern and Central Bitterroot Range, collectively the Bitterroot Mountains, is the largest portion of the Bitterroot Range, part of the Rocky Mountains, located in the panhandle of Idaho and westernmost Montana in the Western United States...

—one of the longest continuous ranges in the entire Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

—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
Cabinet Mountains
The Cabinet Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains, located in northwest Montana and the Idaho panhandle, in the United States. The mountains cover an area of 2,134 square miles...

, the Anaconda Range
Anaconda Range
The Anaconda Range, informally known as the "Pintlars", is a group of high mountains located in southwestern Montana, in the northwestern United States. The mountain range takes its name from the nearby town of Anaconda, founded by Marcus Daly in 1883...

 (informally called the "Pintlars"), the Missions, the Garnet Range
Garnet Range
The Garnet Range, highest point Old Baldy Mountain, elevation , is a mountain range northeast of Drummond, Montana in Powell County, Montana....

, Sapphire Mountains
Sapphire Mountains
The Sapphire Mountains are a range of mountains located in southwestern Montana in the northwestern United States. From a point near the Clark Fork River and the city of Missoula, they run in a southerly direction for a distance of approximately 60 miles , making up much of the border between...

, and Flint Creek Range
Flint Creek Range
The Flint Creek Range, el. , is a mountain range northeast of Philipsburg, Montana in Granite County, Montana. The highest point in the range is Mount Powell, at 10,168 ft. in elevation....

.
The northern section of the Divide, where the mountains give way rapidly to prairie, is known collectively as the Rocky Mountain Front
Rocky Mountain Front
The Rocky Mountain Front is an area extending over 100 miles from the central regions of the U.S. state of Montana to southern Alberta, Canada. Here, the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains and Canadian Prairie in an abrupt elevation rise of between 4,000 to 5,000 feet...

. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range
Lewis Range
The Lewis Range is a mountain range located in the Rocky Mountains of northern Montana, U.S. and extreme southern Alberta, Canada. Formed by the Lewis Overthrust beginning 170 million years ago, an enormous slab of Precambrian rocks 3 miles thick, wide and long faulted and slid over newer...

, 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
Seward Peninsula
The Seward Peninsula is a large peninsula on the western coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It projects about into the Bering Sea between Norton Sound, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea, and Kotzebue Sound, just below the Arctic Circle...

) crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak
Triple Divide Peak (Montana)
-See also:* Continental Divide of the Americas* Mountains and mountain ranges of Glacier National Park...

. It causes the Waterton River, Belly
Belly River
Belly River is a river in northwest Montana, United States and southern Alberta, Canada. It is a tributary of the Oldman River, itself a tributary of the South Saskatchewan River....

, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River
Saskatchewan River
The Saskatchewan River is a major river in Canada, approximately long, flowing roughly eastward across Saskatchewan and Manitoba to empty into Lake Winnipeg...

, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

.

East of the divide, several parallel ranges march across the southern half of the state, including the Gravelly Range
Gravelly Range
The Gravelly Range, highest peak Black Butte, el. , is a mountain range southwest of Cameron, Montana in Madison County, Montana....

, the Tobacco Roots
Tobacco Root Mountains
The Tobacco Root Mountains lie in the northern Rocky Mountains, between the Jefferson and Madison Rivers in southwest Montana. The highest peak is Hollowtop at...

, the Madison Range
Madison Range
The Madison Range is a mountain range located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Idaho, U.S. The range was named in honor of future President of the United States, then U.S. Secretary of State James Madison by Meriwether Lewis as the Lewis and Clark Expedition travelled through Montana in 1805...

, Gallatin Range
Gallatin Range
The Gallatin Range is located in the U.S. states of Montana and Wyoming and includes more than 10 mountains over . The highest peak in the range is Electric Peak at . The Gallatin Range was named after Albert Gallatin, the longest-serving US Secretary of the Treasury and one of the negotiators of...

, Big Belt Mountains
Big Belt Mountains
The Big Belt Mountains are a section of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Montana. Situated mainly in the Helena National Forest, the mountains are used for logging and recreation for the surrounding residents. Nearby is Helena, Montana, Canyon Ferry Lake, the Missouri River, Townsend,...

, Bridger Mountains
Bridger Mountains (Montana)
The Bridger Range is a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, in southern Montana in the United States. The range runs mostly in a north - south direction between Bozeman and Maudlow and is separated from the Gallatin Range to the south by Bozeman Pass...

, Absaroka Mountains, and the Beartooth Mountains
Beartooth Mountains
The Beartooth Mountains are located in south central Montana and northwest Wyoming, U.S. and are part of the 900,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, within Custer, Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests. The Beartooths are the location of Granite Peak, which at 12,807 feet is the highest...

. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10000 feet (3,048 m) high in the continental United States. It contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peak
Granite Peak (Montana)
Granite Peak, at an elevation of above sea level, is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of Montana, and is the tenth highest state high point in the nation. It lies within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, in Park County very near the borders of Stillwater County and Carbon County...

, 12799 feet (3,901.1 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 Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley
Bitterroot Valley
The Bitterroot Valley is located in southwestern Montana in the northwestern United States. It extends over 100 miles from remote Horse Creek Pass north to a point near the city of Missoula...

, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley
The Flathead
The Flathead, sometimes called Northwestern Montana, is a region of the U.S. state of Montana. It includes Flathead County, and part of Lake County. Notable towns include Bigfork, Kalispell, Polson, and Whitefish. The geography of the Flathead roughly corresponds to the valley where Flathead Lake...

, and Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley (Montana)
Paradise Valley is a major river valley of the Yellowstone River in southwestern Montana just north of Yellowstone National Park in Park County, Montana. The valley is flanked by the Absaroka Range on the east and the Gallatin Range on the west....

.

East and north of this transition zone are expansive, sparsely populated Northern Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

, with rolling tableland prairies, "island" mountain ranges, and scenic badlands
Badlands
A badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often...

 extending into the Dakotas and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Castle Mountains
Castle Mountains (Montana)
The Castle Mountains, highest point Elk Peak, el. , are an island range east of White Sulphur Springs in Meagher County, Montana, USA. About 30,000 acres of the Castles were roadless as of 1995. The western portion of the Castles are moist, while the eastside is dry, porous limestone hills...

, Crazy Mountains
Crazy Mountains
The Crazy Mountains, often called the Crazies, are a mountain range in the northern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Montana.-Geography:...

, Highwood Mountains, Judith Mountains, Little Belt Mountains
Little Belt Mountains
The Little Belt Mountains are a section of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Montana. Situated mainly in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, the mountains are used for logging and recreation for the residents of Great Falls, Montana...

, Little Rocky Mountains, Snowy Mountains
Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD, approximately 7310 feet....

, Sweet Grass Hills
Sweet Grass Hills
The Sweet Grass Hills are a small group of low mountains rising more than 3,000 feet above the surrounding plains southwest of Whitlash, Montana in Liberty and Toole County, Montana. The tallest point in the hills is West Butte at...

, Bull Mountains
Bull Mountains
The Bull Mountains, el. , is a small mountain range located in Yellowstone County, Montana and Musselshell County, Montana, lying between Billings, Montana and Roundup, Montana....

, the Pryor Mountains
Pryor Mountains
The Pryor Mountains are a mountain range in Carbon County, Montana and Big Horn County, Montana. They are located on the Crow Indian Reservation and the Custer National Forest, and portions of them are on private land...

 south of Billings, and—in the southeastern corner of the state near Ekalaka—the Long Pines
Long Pines
The Long Pines, el. , is a small mountain range southeast of Ekalaka, Montana in Carter County, Montana....

.

The area east of the divide in the north-central portion of the state is known for the Missouri Breaks
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
This article is about the location. For the film, see The Missouri Breaks.The Missouri Breaks is located in central Montana, U.S. and is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management under the full title of Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument...

 and other significant rock formation
Rock formation
This is a list of rock formations that include isolated, scenic, or spectacular surface rock outcrops. These formations are usually the result of weathering and erosion sculpting the existing rock...

s. Three stately butte
Butte
A butte is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; it is smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landform tables. In some regions, such as the north central and northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill...

s south of Great Falls
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

 are familiar landmarks. The three: Square, Shaw, and Crown buttes, are made of igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

, which is dense and has withstood weathering for many years. The underlying surface consists of shale
Shale
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

. Many areas around these buttes are covered with clay surface soils, which have been derived from the weathering
Weathering
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, biota and waters...

 of the Colorado Formation
Colorado Formation
The Colorado Formation is a Mesozoic geologic formation. Fossil dinosaur eggs have been reported from the formation.-See also:* List of dinosaur-bearing rock formations** List of stratigraphic units with dinosaur trace fossils*** Dinosaur eggs-References:...

. Farther east, areas such as Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park is the largest of Montana's state parks at more than 11,000 acres . It is located east of Glendive. The park contains spectacular badlands which conceal dinosaur fossils. The park contains rock from the Hell Creek Formation and dinosaurs such as Triceratops are found there...

 near Glendive and Medicine Rocks State Park
Medicine Rocks State Park
Medicine Rocks State Park is a park owned by the state of Montana in the United States. It is located about west-southwest of Baker, Montana, and north of Ekalaka, Montana. The park is named for the "Medicine Rocks," a series of sandstone pillars similar to hoodoos some high with eerie...

 near Ekalaka also highlight some of the most scenic badlands
Badlands
A badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often...

 regions in the state.

The Hell Creek Formation
Hell Creek Formation
The Hell Creek Formation is an intensely-studied division of Upper Cretaceous to lower Paleocene rocks in North America, named for exposures studied along Hell Creek, near Jordan, Montana...

 is a major source of dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

 fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s. Paleontologist Jack Horner
Jack Horner (paleontologist)
John "Jack" R. Horner is an American paleontologist who discovered and named Maiasaura, providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young. He is one of the best-known paleontologists in the United States...

, of the Museum of the Rockies
Museum of the Rockies
The Museum of the Rockies, is located in Bozeman, Montana. The museum, originally affiliated with Montana State University in Bozeman, and now, also the Smithsonian Institution, is known for its paleontological collections, although these are not its sole focus...

 in Bozeman
Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

, brought this formation to the world's attention with several major finds.

Rivers



Montana also contains numerous rivers, many of which are known for "blue-ribbon" trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

 fishing, while also providing most of the water needed by residents of the state, and hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

. Montana is one of few geographic areas in the world whose rivers form parts of three major watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

s (i.e. where two continental divide
Continental divide
A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea...

s intersect). Its rivers feed the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, and Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

, and the watershed areas are divided atop Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.


West of the divide, the Clark Fork
Clark Fork (river)
The Clark Fork is a river in the U.S. states of Montana and Idaho, approximately long. The largest river by volume in Montana, it drains an extensive region of the Rocky Mountains in western Montana and northern Idaho in the watershed of the Columbia River, flowing northwest through a long...

 of the Columbia (not to be confused with the Clarks Fork
Clarks Fork Yellowstone River
The Clarks Fork Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, 150 mi long in the U.S. states of Montana and Wyoming....

 of the Yellowstone River) rises in the Rocky Mountains near Butte and flows northwest to Missoula
Missoula, Montana
Missoula is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area...

, where it is joined by the Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River (Montana)
The Blackfoot River, sometimes called the Big Blackfoot River to distinguish it from the Little Blackfoot River, is a snow-fed and spring-fed river in western Montana. The Blackfoot River begins in Lewis and Clark County at the Continental Divide, 10 miles northeast of the town of Lincoln...

 and Bitterroot River
Bitterroot River
The Bitterroot River is a tributary of the Clark Fork River in southwestern Montana, USA. It runs for about 75 miles  south-to-north through the Bitterroot Valley, from the confluence of its West and East forks near Conner to the Clark Fork near Missoula.Ravalli County and Missoula County...

, and further downstream by the Flathead River
Flathead River
The Flathead River, in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Rocky Mountains near Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of , empties into the Clark Fork. The river is part of the Columbia River drainage basin, as the Clark...

, before entering Idaho near Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille is a lake in the northern Idaho Panhandle, with a surface area of . It is 65 miles long, and 1,150 feet deep in some regions, making it the fifth deepest in the United States. It is fed by the Clark Fork River and the Pack River, and drains via the Pend Oreille River...

. There it meets the Columbia River
Columbia River
The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, flows northwest and then south into the U.S. state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state...

, 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
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

—formed by the confluence of the Jefferson
Jefferson River
The Jefferson River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately long, in the U.S. state of Montana. The Jefferson River and the Madison River form the official beginning of the Missouri at Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks...

, Madison
Madison River
The Madison River is a headwater tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 183 miles long, in Wyoming and Montana. Its confluence with the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers near Three Forks, Montana form the Missouri River....

, and Gallatin
Gallatin River
The Gallatin River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 120 mi , in the U.S. states of Wyoming and Montana...

 rivers—crosses the central part of the state, flows through the Missouri breaks
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
This article is about the location. For the film, see The Missouri Breaks.The Missouri Breaks is located in central Montana, U.S. and is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management under the full title of Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument...

 and enters North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

. The Yellowstone River
Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately long, in the western United States. Considered the principal tributary of the upper Missouri, the river and its tributaries drain a wide area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of the Yellowstone National...

 rises in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, flows north to Livingston, Montana
Livingston, Montana
-Geography:Livingston is located at , at an altitude of 4.501 feet .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which, of it is land and 0.38% is waters.-Climate:-Demographics:...

, 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 the contiguous United States. Other major Montana tributaries of the Missouri include the Milk
Milk River (Montana-Alberta)
The Milk River is a tributary of the Missouri River, long, in the United States state of Montana and the Canadian province of Alberta. Rising in the Rocky Mountains, the river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of , ending just east of Fort Peck, Montana.-Geography:It is formed in...

, Marias
Marias River
The Marias River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 210 mi long, in the U.S. state of Montana. It is formed in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Glacier County, in northwestern Montana, by the confluence of the Cut Bank Creek and the Two Medicine River...

, Tongue, and Musselshell rivers. Montana claims the disputed title of possessing the "world's shortest river," the Roe River
Roe River
The Roe River runs between Giant Springs and the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana, United States. The Roe River is only 201 feet at its longest constant point....

, just outside Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

. Through the Missouri, these rivers ultimately join the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and flow into the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

.

The Northern Divide turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. It causes the Waterton River, Belly
Belly River
Belly River is a river in northwest Montana, United States and southern Alberta, Canada. It is a tributary of the Oldman River, itself a tributary of the South Saskatchewan River....

, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River
Saskatchewan River
The Saskatchewan River is a major river in Canada, approximately long, flowing roughly eastward across Saskatchewan and Manitoba to empty into Lake Winnipeg...

, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

.

In addition to its rivers, the state is home to Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western part of the contiguous United States. With a surface area of between and , it is slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. The lake is a remnant of the ancient inland sea, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial. 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
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta, also known as Shore Pine, is a common tree in western North America. Like all pines, it is evergreen.-Subspecies:...

, ponderosa pine
Ponderosa Pine
Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane...

; douglas fir, larch
Larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...

, spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

; aspen
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, red cedar
Thuja plicata
Thuja plicata, commonly called Western or pacific red cedar, giant or western arborvitae, giant cedar, or shinglewood, is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae native to western North America...

, hemlock
Tsuga
Tsuga is a genus of conifers in the family Pinaceae. The common name hemlock is derived from a perceived similarity in the smell of its crushed foliage to that of the unrelated plant poison hemlock....

, ash
Ash tree
Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

, alder
Alder
Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

; rocky mountain maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

 and cottonwood trees. Forests cover approximately 25 percent of the state. Flowers native to Montana include asters, bitterroot
Bitterroot
Bitterroot is a small, low plant with a pink to white flower. It is the state flower of Montana, United States....

s, daisies
Asteraceae
The Asteraceae or Compositae , is an exceedingly large and widespread family of vascular plants. The group has more than 22,750 currently accepted species, spread across 1620 genera and 12 subfamilies...

, lupin
Lupin
Lupinus, commonly known as Lupins or lupines , is a genus in the legume family . The genus comprises about 280 species , with major centers of diversity in South and western North America , and the Andes and secondary centers in the Mediterranean region and Africa Lupinus, commonly known as Lupins...

s, poppies
Papaveraceae
Papaveraceae, informally known as the poppy family, are an economically important family of 44 genera and approximately 770 species of flowering plants in the order Ranunculales. The family is cosmopolitan, occurring in temperate and subtropical climates, but almost unknown in the tropics...

, primroses
Primula
Primula is a genus of 400–500 species of low-growing herbs in the family Primulaceae. They include primrose, auricula, cowslip and oxlip. Many species are grown for their ornamental flowers...

, columbine
Aquilegia
Aquilegia is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers.-Etymology:The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle , because...

, lilies, orchids, and dryads
Dryas (plant)
Dryas is a genus of dwarf perennial herbaceous plants in the rose family Rosaceae, native to the arctic and alpine regions of Europe, Asia and North America. The genus is named after the Greek nymph Dryas. The classification of Dryas within the Rosaceae has been unclear...

. Several species of sagebrush
Sagebrush
Sagebrush is a common name of a number of shrubby plant species in the genus Artemisia native to western North America;Or, the sagebrush steppe ecoregion, having one or more kinds of sagebrush, bunchgrasses and others;...

 and cactus
Cacti
-See also:* RRDtool The underlying software upon which Cacti is built* MRTG The original Multi Router Traffic Grapher from which RRDtool was "extracted".* Munin -External links:******...

 and many species of grasses are common. Many species of mushroom
Mushroom
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi that...

s and lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

s are also found in the state.

Fauna



Montana is home to a diverse array of fauna that includes 15 amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

, 85 fish, 110 mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

, 17 reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

 and 420 bird species. Additionally, there are over 10,000 invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

 species, including 180 mollusks and 30 crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s.

Parks



Montana contains Glacier National Park, "The Crown of the Continent"; and portions of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

, including three of the Park's five entrances. Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument
Battle of the Little Bighorn
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand and, by the Indians involved, as the Battle of the Greasy Grass, was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army...

, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. This dam, named after the famous Crow chairman Robert Yellowtail, harnessed the waters of the Bighorn River and turned...

, Big Hole National Battlefield
Big Hole National Battlefield
Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United States. The Nez Percé, under Chief Joseph Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United States. The Nez Percé, under Chief Joseph Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United...

, Lewis and Clark Caverns
Lewis and Clark Caverns
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is located in southeastern Jefferson County, Montana. The primary feature of the park is its namesake cavern....

, and the National Bison Range
National Bison Range
The National Bison Range is a National Wildlife Refuge located in western Montana established in 1908 to provide a sanctuary for the American bison. The NBR is one of the oldest National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. The size of the bison herd at the NBR is relatively small, numbering...

. Montana has ten National Forest
United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of federal lands in the United States.National Forests are largely forest and woodland areas owned by the federal government and managed by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. Land management of these areas...

s and more than 20 National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world's premiere system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants...

s. The Federal government administers 36000000 acres (145,687 km²). 275000 acres (1,112.9 km²) are administered as state park
State park
State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the federated state level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational...

s and forests.
Areas managed by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 include:
  • Big Hole National Battlefield
    Big Hole National Battlefield
    Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United States. The Nez Percé, under Chief Joseph Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United States. The Nez Percé, under Chief Joseph Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial located in Montana, United...

     near Wisdom
    Wisdom, Montana
    Wisdom is a census-designated place in Beaverhead County, Montana, United States. The population was 114 at the 2000 census. The ZIP Code of the area is 59761.-History:...

  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
    Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
    Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. This dam, named after the famous Crow chairman Robert Yellowtail, harnessed the waters of the Bighorn River and turned...

     near Fort Smith
    Fort Smith, Montana
    Fort Smith is a census-designated place in Big Horn County, Montana, United States. The population was 122 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Fort Smith is located at ....

  • Glacier National Park
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
    Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
    Established by Canadian fur trader Johnny Grant, and expanded by cattle baron Conrad Kohrs, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site commemorates the Western cattle industry from its 1850s inception through recent times. The park was created in 1972, and embraces 1,500 acres and 90 structures. The...

     at Deer Lodge, Montana
    Deer Lodge, Montana
    Deer Lodge is a city in and the county seat of Powell County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,421 at the 2000 census. The city is perhaps best known as the home of the Montana State Prison, a major local employer...

  • Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
    Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
    Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Montana, in the United States. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern...

     near Crow Agency
    Crow Agency, Montana
    Crow Agency is a census-designated place in Big Horn County, Montana, United States and is near the actual location for the Little Bighorn National Monument and re-enactment known as Custer's Last Stand...

  • Nez Perce National Historical Park
    Nez Perce National Historical Park
    The Nez Perce National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park comprising 38 sites located throughout the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington which are the traditional aboriginal lands of the Nez Perce. The sites commemorate the history, culture, and stories of the...

  • Yellowstone National Park
    Yellowstone National Park
    Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...



In March 2011, Montana ranked as a bottom-ten "Worst" state (tied with North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 and Texas) in the American State Litter Scorecard. Montana suffers from poor effectiveness and quality of its statewide public space cleanliness, due to overall state and related eradication standards and performance indicators.

Indian reservations



Seven American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 reservations are located in Montana: Fort Peck Indian Reservation
Fort Peck Indian Reservation
The Fort Peck Indian Reservation is near Fort Peck, Montana. It is the homeland of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Native Americans. It is the ninth-largest Indian reservation in the United States and comprises parts of four counties. In descending order of land area they are Roosevelt, Valley,...

, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering 1,014.064 sq mi , and is located in north central Montana. This includes the main portion of their homeland, as well as off-reservation trust land. It is shared by two Native American tribes, the...

, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation
Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation
The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, formerly named the Tongue River Indian Reservation, is an Indian reservation that is home to the Northern Cheyenne tribe of the Native Americans. It is located around the small towns of Lame Deer and Ashland, Montana, in parts of Rosebud and Big Horn...

, Crow Indian Reservation
Crow Indian Reservation
The Crow Indian Reservation is the homeland of the Crow Tribe of Indians of the State of Montana in the United States. The reservation is located in parts of Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Treasure counties in southern Montana...

, Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation
Rocky Boy Indian Reservation
The Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Chippewa Cree Tribe located in the U.S. state of Montana. The smallest reservation in the state, it was established by Executive Order on September 7, 1916. The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation was...

, Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Blackfeet Indian Reservation
The Blackfeet Indian Reservation or Blackfeet Nation is an Indian reservation of the Blackfeet tribe in Montana in the United States. It is located east of Glacier National Park and borders Canada to the north. Cut Bank Creek and Birch Creek make up part of its eastern and southern borders...

, and the Flathead Indian Reservation
Flathead Indian Reservation
The Flathead Indian Reservation, located in western Montana on the Flathead River, is home to the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreilles Tribes - also known as theConfederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation...

.

Climate



Montana is a large state with considerable variation in geography, and the climate is, therefore, equally varied. The state spans from 'below' the 45th parallel (the halfway line between the equator and the north pole) to the 49th parallel
49th parallel north
The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and elevations range from under 2000 feet (609.6 m) to nearly 13000 feet (3,962.4 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
Continentality
Continentality is the tendency of land to experience more thermal variation than water, due to the land's lower specific heat capacity. Continental climate also tends to be dryer than oceanic climate as there is less moisture input to the atmosphere from evaporation...

 climate (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSk). The Continental Divide
Continental Divide
The Continental Divide of the Americas, or merely the Continental Gulf of Division or Great Divide, is the name given to the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain...

 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. 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.

Average daytime temperatures vary from 28 °F (-2.2 °C) in January to 84.5 °F (29.2 °C) in July. 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 (47.2 °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 as altitude increases, and hot weather is unknown above 4000 ft (1,219.2 m). Snowfall is not unknown in any month of the year in the central part of Montana, but is rare in July and August.


The coldest temperature on record for Montana is also the coldest temperature for the entire continental U.S. On January 20, 1954, -70 °F was recorded at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass. Temperatures vary greatly on such cold nights, and Helena
Helena, Montana
Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

, 40 miles (64.4 km) to the southeast had a low of only -36 °F. Winter cold spells last a week or so, and are usually the result of cold continental air
Cold front
A cold front is defined as the leading edge of a cooler mass of air, replacing a warmer mass of air.-Development of cold front:The cooler and denser air wedges under the less-dense warmer air, lifting it...

 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
Chinook wind
Chinook winds , often called chinooks, commonly refers to foehn winds in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.Chinook is claimed...

". 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 (10 °C) – 60 °F (15 °C).

Loma, Montana
Loma, Montana
Loma is a census-designated place in Chouteau County, Montana, United States. The population was 92 at the 2000 census.-Geography and climate:Loma is located at ....

 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 to 49 °F (9.4 °C).
Average annual precipitation is 15 inches (381 mm), but great variations are seen. The mountain ranges block the moist Pacific air, holding moisture in the western valleys, and creating rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

s to the east. Heron
Heron, Montana
Heron is a census-designated place in Sanders County, Montana, United States. The population was 149 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Heron is located at ....

, in the west, receives the most precipitation, 34.7 inches (881.4 mm). On the eastern (leeward) side of a mountain range, the valleys are much drier; Lonepine
Lonepine, Montana
Lonepine is a census-designated place in Sanders County, Montana, United States. The population was 137 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Lonepine is located at ....

 averages 11.45 inches (290.8 mm), and Deer Lodge
Deer Lodge, Montana
Deer Lodge is a city in and the county seat of Powell County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,421 at the 2000 census. The city is perhaps best known as the home of the Montana State Prison, a major local employer...

 11 inches (279.4 mm) of precipitation. The mountains themselves can receive over 100 inches (2,540 mm), for example the Grinnell Glacier
Grinnell Glacier
Grinnell Glacier is located in the heart of Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. The glacier is named for George Bird Grinnell, an early American conservationist and explorer, who was also a strong advocate of ensuring the creation of Glacier National Park...

 in Glacier National Park gets 105 inches (2,667 mm). Perhaps the driest is an area southwest of Belfry that averaged only 6.59 inches (167.4 mm) over a sixteen-year period. Most of the larger cities get 30 to 50 in (762 to 1,270 mm) of snow each year. Mountain ranges themselves can accumulate 300 inches (7,620 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.

The climate has become warmer in Montana and continues to do so. The glaciers in Glacier National Park have receded and are predicted to melt away completely in a few decades. Many Montana cities set heat records during July 2007, the hottest month ever recorded in Montana. Winters are warmer, too, and have fewer cold spells. Previously these cold spells had killed off bark beetle
Bark beetle
A bark beetle is one of approximately 220 genera with 6,000 species of beetles in the subfamily Scolytinae. Traditionally, this was considered a distinct family Scolytidae, but now it is understood that bark beetles are in fact very specialized members of the "true weevil" family...

s which are now attacking the forests of western Montana. 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. 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.

History




Various indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 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
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

 in the southeast; the Blackfeet
Blackfeet
The Piegan Blackfeet are a tribe of Native Americans of the Algonquian language family based in Montana, having lived in this area since around 6,500 BC. Many members of the tribe live as part of the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana, with population centered in Browning...

, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres
Gros Ventres
The Gros Ventre people , also known as the A'ani, A'aninin, Haaninin, and Atsina, are a historically Algonquian-speaking Native American tribe located in north central Montana...

 in the central and north-central area; and the Kootenai and Salish in the west. The smaller Pend d'Oreille and Kalispel
Pend d'Oreilles (tribe)
The Pend d'Oreilles, also known as the Kalispel, are a tribe of Native Americans who lived around Lake Pend Oreille, as well as the Pend Oreille River, and Priest Lake although some of them live spread throughout Montana and eastern Washington...

 tribes lived near Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western part of the contiguous United States. With a surface area of between and , it is slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. The lake is a remnant of the ancient inland sea, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial. Flathead Lake...

 and the western mountains, respectively.

The land in Montana east of the continental divide
Continental divide
A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea...

 was part of the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 in 1803. Subsequent to the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, or ″Corps of Discovery Expedition" was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific Coast by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and led by two Virginia-born veterans of Indian wars in the Ohio Valley, Meriwether Lewis and William...

 and after the finding of gold and copper (see the Copper Kings
Copper Kings
The Copper Kings, industrialists William Andrews Clark, Marcus Daly, and F. Augustus Heinze, were collectively known for the epic battles they fought in Butte, Montana and the surrounding region during the Gilded Age over the control of the local copper mining industry, a fight which had...

) in the area in the late 1850s, Montana became a United States territory
Political divisions of the United States
The political units and divisions of the United States include:*The 50 states are subdivided into counties . The counties may be further subdivided into townships, or towns in New York and New England...

 (Montana Territory
Montana Territory
The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 28, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Montana.-History:...

) on May 26, 1864. Prior to the creation of Montana Territory
Montana Territory
The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 28, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Montana.-History:...

 (1864–1889), various parts of what is now Montana were parts of Oregon Territory
Oregon Territory
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries , the region was...

 (1848–1859), Washington Territory
Washington Territory
The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 8, 1853, until November 11, 1889, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Washington....

 (1853–1863), Idaho Territory
Idaho Territory
The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 4, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Idaho.-1860s:...

 (1863–1864), and Dakota Territory
Dakota Territory
The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.The Dakota Territory consisted of...

 (1861–1864).

The Army established a series of posts in the late 1860s, including Fort Shaw
Fort Shaw, Montana
Fort Shaw is a census-designated place in Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 274 at the 2000 census. It is part of the 'Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area'.-Geography:...

, Camp Cooke on the Judith River
Judith River
The Judith River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 124 mi long, running through central Montana and the United States. It rises in the Little Belt Mountains and flows northeast past Utica and Hobson...

 and Fort C.F. Smith on the Bozeman Trail
Bozeman Trail
The Bozeman Trail was an overland route connecting the gold rush territory of Montana to the Oregon Trail. Its most important period was from 1863-1868. The flow of pioneers and settlers through territory of American Indians provoked their resentment and caused attacks. The U.S. Army undertook...

.

Montana was the scene of warfare as the Native Americans struggled to maintain control of their land. The last stand
Last stand
Last stand is a loose military term used to describe a body of troops holding a defensive position in the face of overwhelming odds. The defensive force usually takes very heavy casualties or is completely destroyed, as happened in "Custer's Last Stand" at the Battle of Little Big HornBryan Perrett...

 of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

 was fought near the present-day town of Hardin. Montana was also the location of the final battles of the Nez Perce War
Nez Perce War
The Nez Perce War was an armed conflict between the Nez Perce and the United States government fought in 1877 as part of the American Indian Wars. After a series of battles in which both the U.S. Army and native people sustained significant casualties, the Nez Perce surrendered and were relocated...

s.

A series of major mining discoveries in the western third of the state starting in 1862 found gold, silver, copper lead, coal (and later oil) that attracted tens of thousands of miners to the area. The richest of all gold placer diggings was discovered at Alder Gulch, where the town of Virginia City
Virginia City, Montana
Virginia City is a town in and the county seat of Madison County, Montana, United States. In 1961, the town and the surrounding area was designated a National Historic Landmark District, the Virginia City Historic District...

 was established. Other rich placer deposits were found at Last Chance Gulch, where the city of Helena now stands, Confederate Gulch, Silver Bow, Emigrant Gulch, and Cooke City. Gold output from 1862 through 1876 reached $144 million; silver then became even more important. The largest mining operations were in the city of Butte
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

, which had important silver deposits and gigantic copper deposits.

Cattle ranching has been central to Montana's history and economy since the late-19th century. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Established by Canadian fur trader Johnny Grant, and expanded by cattle baron Conrad Kohrs, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site commemorates the Western cattle industry from its 1850s inception through recent times. The park was created in 1972, and embraces 1,500 acres and 90 structures. The...

 in Deer Lodge Valley is maintained as a link to the ranching style of the late 19th century. Operated by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, it is a 1900 acres (7.7 km²) working ranch.

The railroads arrived in the 1880s, including the Great Northern Railroad (1889) and its rival, the Northern Pacific Railroad
Northern Pacific Railway
The Northern Pacific Railway was a railway that operated in the west along the Canadian border of the United States. Construction began in 1870 and the main line opened all the way from the Great Lakes to the Pacific when former president Ulysses S. Grant drove in the final "golden spike" in...

 (1883) from Minneapolis, and the Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

 (1881) from Denver. Montana railroading, with two transcontinentals to the Pacific coast and extensive operations to the mines, became a major industry, with centers in Billings and Havre. Montana became a state in 1889 in an omnibus package together with North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington.

The revised Homestead Act
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

 of 1909 greatly affected the settlement of Montana. This act expanded the amount of free land from 160 acre (0.6474976 km²) to 320 acres (1.3 km²) per family. Tens of thousands of inexperienced homesteaders arrived, lured by free land and high wheat prices, but they were unprepared for the climate, which usually had little rainfall and required special dry farming techniques. The droughts of 1917–1919 proved devastating, as many left, and half the banks in the state went bankrupt after providing mortgages that could not be repaid. The Great Depression
Great Depression in the United States
The Great Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of October, 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. The market crash marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement...

 caused further hardship for farmers and ranchers and miners, but the economy bounced back in the 1940s. The wheat farms in eastern Montana make the state a major producer; the wheat has a relatively high protein content and thus commands premium prices. After 1940 tourism became the state's third largest industry with Yellowstone and Glacier national parks as the largest tourist attractions.

Politics in the state has been competitive, with the Democrats usually holding an edge, thanks to the support among unionized miners and railroad workers. Large scale battles revolved around the giant Anaconda Copper
Anaconda Copper
Anaconda Copper Mining Company was one of the largest trusts of the early 20th century. The Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield Company on January 12, 1977...

 company, based in Butte and controlled by Rockefeller interests, until it closed in the 1970s. Until 1959, the company owned five of the state's six largest newspapers.

Demographics


Montana ranks 44th in population; only six states (Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

 and Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

) have fewer people. The 2010 census put Montana's population at 989,415 which is an increase of 87,220 people, or 9.7 percent, since the year 2000. Growth is mainly concentrated in Montana's seven largest counties, with the heaviest percentile growth in Gallatin County, which saw a 32% increase in its population since 2000. The city seeing the largest percentile growth was Kalispell with 40.1%. The city with the largest actual growth was Billings with an increase in population of 14,323 since 2000.

According to the 2010 Census, 89.4% of the population was White (87.8% Non-Hispanic White Alone), 0.4% Black or African American, 6.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 0.6% from Some Other Race, and 2.5% from Two or More Races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 2.9% of the population.

The largest European ancestry groups in Montana are: German (29.3%), Irish (16.4%), English (13.1%), and Norwegian (10%). In addition, 5.9% of the people identified their ancestry as "American".

According to 2010 U.S. Census the population of Montana's seven most populous areas is:
Picture Place City population Metro Population
Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana
Billings is the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana, and is the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Area, the largest metropolitan area in over...

 
104,700 158,050
Missoula, Montana
Missoula, Montana
Missoula is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area...

 
66,788 109,299
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

 
58,505 81,327
Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

 
37,280 89,513
Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

 
33,525 34,200
Helena, Montana
Helena, Montana
Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

 
28,120 74,801
Kalispell, Montana
Kalispell, Montana
Kalispell is a city in and the county seat of Flathead County, Montana, United States. The 2010 census put Kalispell's population at 19,927 up 5,704 over 2000. At 40.1% this is the largest percentage of growth of any incorporated city in Montana. Kalispell is the largest city and commercial center...

 
19,927 90,928
name="bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com"/>


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

The center of population
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 of Montana is located in Meagher County
Meagher County, Montana
-National protected areas:*Gallatin National Forest *Helena National Forest *Lewis and Clark National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,932 people, 803 households, and 529 families residing in the county...

, in the city of White Sulphur Springs
White Sulphur Springs, Montana
White Sulphur Springs is a city in and the county seat of Meagher County, Montana, United States. The population was 984 at the 2000 census.The center of population of Montana is located in White Sulphur Springs.-Geography:...

.

While German
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

 ancestry is the largest reported European-American ancestry in Montana as a whole, residents of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n ancestry are prevalent in some of the farming-dominated northern and eastern prairie regions, parallel to nearby regions of North Dakota and Minnesota. Irish and English are the second and third largest European ancestral groups in the state. There are also several predominantly Native American counties, mainly around each of the seven Indian reservations. The state has a larger Native American population (and percentage) than most US states. The seven reservations are actually made of more than twelve distinct Native American ethnolinguistic groups. The historically mining-oriented communities of western Montana such as Butte
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

 have a wider range of ethnic groups, and are particularly rich in European-American ethnicity; Finns, Eastern Europeans and especially Irish settlers left an indelible mark on the city, as well as people originally from British mining regions such as Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, Devon, and Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. The nearby city of Helena, also founded as a mining camp, had a similar mix in addition to a small Chinatown, and the Chinese in Montana, while a low percentage today, have historically been an important presence. Montanans who claim Filipino
Filipino American
Filipino Americans are Americans of Filipino ancestry. Filipino Americans, often shortened to "Fil-Ams", or "Pinoy",Filipinos in what is now the United States were first documented in the 16th century, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century...

 ancestry amount to almost 3,000, making them the largest Asian American group in the state. Throughout the nineteenth century, many farmers of German, Scandinavian, Irish, Scots, and English roots settled in Montana. In addition, the Hutterite
Hutterite
Hutterites are a communal branch of Anabaptists who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century. Since the death of their founder Jakob Hutter in 1536, the beliefs of the Hutterites, especially living in a community of goods and absolute...

s, originally from Central Europe, settled here, and today Montana is second only to South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 in U.S. Hutterite population with several colonies spread across the state. Many of Montana's historic logging communities originally attracted people of Scottish, Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n, Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

, English  and Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish American
Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

 descent. Montana's Hispanic population is concentrated around the Billings
Billings, Montana
Billings is the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana, and is the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Area, the largest metropolitan area in over...

 area in south-central Montana, where many of Montana's Mexican-Americans have been in the state for generations. The highest density of African-Americans is located in Great Falls
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

.

Religion


The religious affiliations of the people of Montana
  • Christian: 82%
    • Protestant
      Protestantism
      Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

      : 55%
      • Lutheran
        Lutheranism
        Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

        : 15%
      • Methodist
        Methodism
        Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

        : 8%
      • Baptist
        Baptist
        Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

        : 5%
      • Presbyterian
        Presbyterianism
        Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

        : 4%
      • United Church of Christ
        United Church of Christ
        The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

        : 2%
      • Other Protestant or general Protestant: 21%
    • Roman Catholic
      Roman Catholicism in the United States
      The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, the Christian Church in full communion with the Pope. With more than 68.5 registered million members, it is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, comprising about 22 percent of the population...

      : 24%
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon): 5%
  • Other Religions: <1%
  • Non-Religious: 18%


As of the year 2000, the RCMS reported that the three largest denominational groups in Montana are Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Mainline Protestant.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 169,250; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 with 50,287; and as of Dec. 31, 2008 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 45,517.

Economy


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.

Montana is a relative hub of beer microbrewing
Microbrewery
A microbrewery or craft brewer is a brewery which produces a limited amount of beer, and is associated by consumers with innovation and uniqueness....

, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita. There are significant industries for lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

 and mineral extraction
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

, and vermiculite
Vermiculite
Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat. The expansion process is called exfoliation and it is routinely accomplished in purpose-designed commercial furnaces. Vermiculite is formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite...

. Ecotax
Ecotax
Ecotax refers to taxes intended to promote ecologically sustainable activities via economic incentives. Such a policy can complement or avert the need for regulatory approaches. Often, an ecotax policy proposal may attempt to maintain overall tax revenue by proportionately reducing other taxes...

es on resource extraction are numerous. A 1974 state severance tax
Severance tax
Severance taxes are incurred when non-renewable natural resources are separated from a taxing jurisdiction. Industries that typically incur such taxes are oil and gas, coal, mining, and timber industries....

 on coal (which varied from 20 to 30 percent) was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana
Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana
Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609 is a 6-to-3 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that a severance tax in Montana does not violate the Commerce Clause or the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution....

, 453 U.S. 609 (1981).

Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western part of the contiguous United States. With a surface area of between and , it is slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. The lake is a remnant of the ancient inland sea, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial. Flathead Lake...

, the Missouri River
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

 headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

.

Montana's personal income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1% to 6.9%. Montana has no sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property tax
Property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

es. 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.

As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 6.8%.

Transportation


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
Northern Pacific Railway
The Northern Pacific Railway was a railway that operated in the west along the Canadian border of the United States. Construction began in 1870 and the main line opened all the way from the Great Lakes to the Pacific when former president Ulysses S. Grant drove in the final "golden spike" in...

. Today, the BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway
The BNSF Railway is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is one of seven North American Class I railroads and the second largest freight railroad network in North America, second only to the Union Pacific Railroad, its primary...

 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
Class II railroad
A Class II railroad in the United States is a mid-sized freight-hauling railroad, in terms of its operating revenue. , a railroad with revenues greater than $20.5 million but less than $277.7 million for at least three consecutive years is considered a Class II railroad...

, operates former Northern Pacific trackage in western Montana.

In addition, Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

's Empire Builder
Empire Builder
The Empire Builder is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Midwestern and Northwestern United States. It is Amtrak's busiest long-distance route and busiest daily train, carrying more than 500,000 travelers annually since 2007. Overall, it is the railroad's 10th-busiest line. Before...

train runs through the north of the state, stopping in the following towns: Libby
Libby, Montana
Libby is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,626 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Libby is located at , along U.S. Route 2....

, Whitefish
Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,032 at the 2000 census. It is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer hails from Whitefish....

, West Glacier
West Glacier, Montana
West Glacier is a small unincorporated community in eastern Flathead County, Montana, United States. The town is at the west entrance to Glacier National Park and is located on U.S. Route 2 and a main line of the BNSF Railway. The headquarters complex for Glacier National Park is located nearby...

, Essex
Essex, Montana
Essex is an unincorporated community in Flathead County, Montana, United States. Located in the northwestern part of the state, Essex lies near Glacier National Park, southwest of East Glacier and southeast of West Glacier. Amtrak's Empire Builder makes a flag stop at Essex, westbound at 7.41pm...

, East Glacier Park
East Glacier Park Village, Montana
East Glacier Park is a census-designated place in Glacier County, Montana, United States. The population was 396 at the 2000 census.-Geography:East Glacier Park is located at ....

, Browning
Browning, Montana
Browning is a town in Glacier County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,016 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Browning is located at ....

, Cut Bank
Cut Bank, Montana
Cut Bank is a city in and the county seat of Glacier County, Montana, United States located just east-south-east of the "cut bank" geographical feature which formed canyon-like along the eponymously named Cut Bank Creek river...

, Shelby
Shelby, Montana
Shelby is a city in and the county seat of Toole County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,216 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Shelby is located at ....

, Havre
Havre, Montana
Havre is a city in, and the county seat of, Hill County, Montana, United States. It is said to be named after the city of Le Havre in France. The population was 9,621 at the 2000 census.-History:...

, Malta
Malta, Montana
Malta is a city in and the county seat of Phillips County, Montana, United States, located at the intersection of U.S. Routes 2 and 191. The population was 2,120 at the 2000 census.-History:...

, Glasgow
Glasgow, Montana
Glasgow is a city in and the county seat of Valley County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,253 at the 2000 census.-History:Glasgow was founded in 1887 as a railroad town by James J. Hill, who was responsible for creating many communities along the Hi-Line. The town was named after...

, and Wolf Point
Wolf Point, Montana
Wolf Point is a city in and the county seat of Roosevelt County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,621 at the 2010 census. It is the largest community on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Wolf Point is the home of the annual Wild Horse Stampede, held every year during the second weekend...

.

Billings Logan International Airport
Billings Logan International Airport
-Top Destinations:-External links:* , official site...

 is the largest and busiest airport within a four state region (Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota) both in passenger boardings and air cargo. Montana's other major Airports include Gallatin Field Airport
Gallatin Field Airport
Gallatin Field Airport , also known as Gallatin Field, is a public-use airport located seven nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Bozeman, a city in Gallatin County, Montana, United States. It is owned by the Gallatin Airport Authority...

, Missoula International Airport
Missoula International Airport
Missoula International Airport/Johnson-Bell Field is a public airport located four miles northwest of the city of Missoula in Missoula County, Montana, USA. The airport has two runways. There are currently several expansion projects planned or underway, including the construction of 150 foot...

, Great Falls International Airport
Great Falls International Airport
Great Falls International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located within city limits, three miles southwest of central Great Falls in Cascade County, Montana, USA...

, Glacier Park International Airport
Glacier Park International Airport
Glacier Park International Airport is a public airport serving Flathead County, Montana, in the United States. It located six miles northeast of the central business district of Kalispell and also serves the towns of Evergreen, Columbia Falls, and Whitefish as well as Glacier National Park...

, Helena Regional Airport
Helena Regional Airport
Helena Regional Airport is a public airport located two miles northeast of the city of Helena in Lewis and Clark County, Montana, United States. The airport has three runways.- Airlines & Destinations :- External links :*...

, Bert Mooney Airport
Bert Mooney Airport
Bert Mooney Airport , is a public airport located three miles southeast of the central business district of Butte, a city in Silver Bow County, Montana, United States. It is owned by the Bert Mooney Airport Authority....

 and Yellowstone Airport
Yellowstone Airport
Yellowstone Airport is a state-owned public-use airport located one nautical mile north of the central business district of West Yellowstone, a town in Gallatin County, Montana, United States. This airport is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2009–2013, which...

. Eight smaller communities have airports designated for commercial service under the Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service is a U.S. government program enacted to guarantee that small communities in the United States, which, prior to deregulation, were served by certificated airlines, maintained commercial service. Its aim is to maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service to these...

 program.
Historically, the primary east-west highway route across Montana was U.S. Route 10
U.S. Route 10
U.S. Route 10 is an east–west United States highway formed in 1926. Though it never became the cross-country highway suggested by the "0" as the last digit of its route number, U.S...

, 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
Interstate 90
Interstate 90 is the longest Interstate Highway in the United States at . It is the northernmost coast-to-coast interstate, and parallels US 20 for the most part. Its western terminus is in Seattle, at Edgar Martinez Drive S. near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, and its eastern terminus is in...

 and Interstate 94
Interstate 94
Interstate 94 is the northernmost east–west Interstate Highway, connecting the Great Lakes and Intermountain regions of the United States. I-94's western terminus is in Billings, Montana at a junction with Interstate 90; its eastern terminus is the U.S...

. U.S. Routes 2
U.S. Route 2
U.S. Route 2 is an east–west U.S. Highway spanning across the northern continental United States. US 2 consists of two segments connected by various roadways in southern Canada...

 and 12
U.S. Route 12
U.S. Route 12 or US 12 is an east–west United States highway, running from Grays Harbor on the Pacific Ocean, in the state of Washington, to downtown Detroit, for almost . As a thoroughfare, it has mostly been supplanted by I-90 and I-94, but remains an important road for local travel.The...

 and Montana Highway 200
Montana Highway 200
Highway 200 in the U.S. State of Montana is a route running westerly covering the entire state of Montana, from the starting point of ND 200 near Fairview, Montana to ID 200, near Heron, Montana...

 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
U.S. Route 87
U.S. Highway 87 is a north–south United States highway that runs for 1,998 miles from northern Montana to southern Texas. Most of the portion from Billings, Montana, to Raton, New Mexico, is co-signed along Interstates 90 and 25...

, 89
U.S. Route 89
U.S. Route 89 is a north–south United States Highway with two sections, and one former section. The southern section runs for 848 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona, to the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park...

, 93
U.S. Route 93
U.S. Route 93 is a major north–south United States highway in the western United States. The southern terminus is at U.S. Route 60 in Wickenburg, Arizona. The northern terminus is at the Canadian border north of Eureka in Lincoln County, Montana, where the roadway continues into Roosville,...

 and 191
U.S. Route 191
U.S. Route 191 is a spur of U.S. Route 91 that has two branches. The southern branch runs for 1,465 miles from Douglas, Arizona on the Mexican border to the southern part of Yellowstone National Park. The northern branch runs for 440 miles from the northern part of Yellowstone National Park to...

. Interstate 25
Interstate 25
Interstate 25 is an Interstate Highway in the western United States. It is primarily a north–south highway. I-25 stretches from Interstate 10 at Las Cruces, New Mexico, , to Interstate 90 in Buffalo, Wyoming, .Interstate 25 is the main north–south expressway through...

 terminates into I-90 just south of the Montana border in Wyoming.

Montana and South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 are the only states to share a land border which is not traversed by a paved road.

In March 2011, Montana ranked as a bottom-ten "Worst" state (tied with North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 and Texas) in the American State Litter Scorecard. Montana suffers from poor effectiveness and quality of its statewide public space cleanliness, due to overall state and related eradication standards and performance indicators. Also that year, Montana ranked among the five deadliest states for debris/litter–caused vehicle accidents per total number of registered vehicles and population size. Figures derived from NHTSA show at least nine persons in Montana were killed each year in motor vehicle collisions with non-fixed objects, including debris, dumped litter, animals and their carcasses.

Law and government


The current Governor is Brian Schweitzer
Brian Schweitzer
Brian David Schweitzer is an American politician from the U.S. state of Montana. Schweitzer is its 23rd and current governor, serving since January 2005. Schweitzer currently has one of the highest approval ratings among governors in the nation, with polls regularly showing a rating of above 60...

 (Democrat) who was sworn in on January 3, 2005. Montana's two U.S. senators are Max Baucus
Max Baucus
Max Sieben Baucus is the senior United States Senator from Montana and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, as of 2010 he is the longest-serving Senator from Montana, and the fifth longest-serving U.S...

 (Democrat) and Jon Tester
Jon Tester
Jon Tester is the junior U.S. Senator for Montana, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as President of the Montana Senate.-Early life, education, and farming career:...

 (Democrat). The state's congressional representative is Denny Rehberg
Denny Rehberg
Dennis R. "Denny" Rehberg is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party.-Early life, education and career:...

 (Republican).

Montana in 1916 became the first state to elect a woman to Congress (Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first woman in the US Congress. A Republican, she was elected statewide in Montana in 1916 and again in 1940. A lifelong pacifist, she voted against the entry of the United States into both World War I in 1917 and World War II in 1941, the only member of Congress...

) (Republican) and was one of the first states to give women voting rights (see suffrage
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

).

Ethnicity


Apart from the sizable American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 population, nearly 90% of its residents are of European descent, with a large numbers of German
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

, Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

, British
British American
British Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in the United Kingdom . The term is seldom used by people to refer to themselves and is used primarily as a demographic or historical research term...

, Slavic, Italian
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

, and Scandinavian
Scandinavian American
Scandinavian Americans are Americans with ancestral roots in Scandinavia...

 immigrants arriving 1890–1910. About 2000–3000 Chinese miners were in Montana by 1870, and 2500 in 1890. They were strongly opposed by labor unions, and public opinion grew increasingly negative in the 1890s and nearly half left the state by 1900.

Politics


Historically, Montana is a swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

 of cross-ticket voters who tend to fill elected offices with individuals from both parties. Through the mid-20th century, the state had a tradition of "sending the liberals to Washington and the conservatives to Helena." However, beginning in the 1980s, the pattern flipped, with voters more likely to elect conservatives to federal offices. 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 chambers of the state legislature, consolidating a Republican party dominance that lasted until 2004.

In presidential elections, Montana was long classified as a swing state, though in recent years, Montana has been classified as a Republican-leaning state, as the state supported Republican presidential candidates in every election from 1996 to the present. The state last supported a Democrat for president in 1992, when Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 won a plurality victory. Overall, since 1889 the state has voted for Democratic governors 60 percent of the time and Democratic presidents 40 percent of the time, with these numbers being 40/60 for Republican candidates. In the 2008 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

, Montana was considered a swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

 and was ultimately won by Republican John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, albeit by a narrow margin of two percent.

However, at the state level, the pattern of split ticket voting and divided government holds. Democrats currently hold both U.S. Senate seats, as well as four of the five statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor). The Legislative branch had split party control between the house and senate most years between 2004 and 2010, when the mid-term elections returned both branches to Republican control. The state Senate is, as of 2010, controlled by the Republicans 28 to 22, and the State House of Representatives
Montana House of Representatives
The Montana House of Representatives is, with the Montana Senate, one of the two houses of the Montana Legislature. Composed of 100 members, the House elects its leadership every two years.-Composition of the House:...

 at 68 to 32.

Montana is an Alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control state
Alcoholic beverage control states, generally called control states, are those in the United States that have state monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits....

.

Important cities and towns




The seven major cities in Montana are:
  • Billings
    Billings, Montana
    Billings is the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana, and is the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Area, the largest metropolitan area in over...

  • Bozeman
    Bozeman, Montana
    Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

  • Butte
    Butte, Montana
    Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

  • Great Falls
    Great Falls, Montana
    Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

  • Helena
    Helena, Montana
    Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

  • Kalispell
    Kalispell, Montana
    Kalispell is a city in and the county seat of Flathead County, Montana, United States. The 2010 census put Kalispell's population at 19,927 up 5,704 over 2000. At 40.1% this is the largest percentage of growth of any incorporated city in Montana. Kalispell is the largest city and commercial center...

  • Missoula
    Missoula, Montana
    Missoula is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area...




  • Some of the major towns in Montana are:
    • Anaconda
      Anaconda, Montana
      Anaconda, county seat of Anaconda City/Deer Lodge County, is located in mountainous southwestern Montana. The Continental Divide passes within 8 miles of the community with the local Pintler Mountain range reaching 10,379 feet...

    • Belgrade
      Belgrade, Montana
      Belgrade is a city in Gallatin County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,728 at the 2000 census.The original townsite of Belgrade was established and filed in the Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder's Office by Thomas B. Quaw, a businessman from the midwest, in July 1881...

    • Colstrip
      Colstrip, Montana
      Colstrip is a city in Rosebud County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,346 at the 2000 census. Established in 1924 and incorporated as a city in 1998, Colstrip is the largest city in Rosebud County with 25% of the total population. Colstrip's primary industries are coal mining and...

    • Columbia Falls
      Columbia Falls, Montana
      Columbia Falls is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Columbia Falls is located at ....

    • Conrad
      Conrad, Montana
      Conrad is a city in and the county seat of Pondera County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,753 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Conrad is located at ....

    • Cut Bank
      Cut Bank, Montana
      Cut Bank is a city in and the county seat of Glacier County, Montana, United States located just east-south-east of the "cut bank" geographical feature which formed canyon-like along the eponymously named Cut Bank Creek river...

    • Deer Lodge
      Deer Lodge, Montana
      Deer Lodge is a city in and the county seat of Powell County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,421 at the 2000 census. The city is perhaps best known as the home of the Montana State Prison, a major local employer...

    • Dillon
      Dillon, Montana
      - Notable residents :* Ed Barker - NFL wide receiver - Washington Redskins* Cree Paul - [Where is she now?]* Charles Xavier Larrabee - owner of the nearby stock ranch Brooknook.* Lloyd Meeds - Politician, lobbyist, and navy officer....

    • East Helena
      East Helena, Montana
      East Helena is a town in Lewis and Clark County, Montana, about five miles east of downtown Helena. The population was 1,642 at the 2000 census...

    • Glasgow
      Glasgow, Montana
      Glasgow is a city in and the county seat of Valley County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,253 at the 2000 census.-History:Glasgow was founded in 1887 as a railroad town by James J. Hill, who was responsible for creating many communities along the Hi-Line. The town was named after...

    • Glendive
      Glendive, Montana
      Glendive is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Montana, United States. The population was 4,935 at the 2010 census.The town of Glendive is located in South Eastern Montana and is considered by many as an agricultural hub of Eastern Montana...

    • Hamilton
      Hamilton, Montana
      Hamilton is a city in and the county seat of Ravalli County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,705 at the 2000 census. Significant outlying population growth is shown in the area; the ZIP Code Tabulation Area for Hamilton's ZIP Code, 59840, had a population of 12,327at the 2000 census.-...

    • Hardin
      Hardin, Montana
      Hardin is a city in and the county seat of Big Horn County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,384 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Hardin is located at ....


    • Havre
      Havre, Montana
      Havre is a city in, and the county seat of, Hill County, Montana, United States. It is said to be named after the city of Le Havre in France. The population was 9,621 at the 2000 census.-History:...

    • Laurel
      Laurel, Montana
      Laurel is a city in Yellowstone County, Montana, United States. It is part of the Billings, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is located in the Yellowstone Valley, as an east-west terminal division point of the Burlington-Northern Railroad.. The population was 6,781 at the 2010 census.Both...

    • Lewistown
      Lewistown, Montana
      Lewistown is a city in and the county seat of Fergus County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,813 at the 2000 census. Lewistown is located in central Montana, the geographic center of the state, southeast of Great Falls...

    • Libby
      Libby, Montana
      Libby is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,626 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Libby is located at , along U.S. Route 2....

    • Livingston
      Livingston, Montana
      -Geography:Livingston is located at , at an altitude of 4.501 feet .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which, of it is land and 0.38% is waters.-Climate:-Demographics:...

    • Miles City
      Miles City, Montana
      Miles City is a city in and the county seat of Custer County, Montana, United States. The population was 8,123 at the 2010 census.- History :...

    • Polson
      Polson, Montana
      Polson is a city in Lake County, Montana, United States, on the southern shore of Flathead Lake. It is also on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The population was 4,041 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lake County...

    • Red Lodge
      Red Lodge, Montana
      Red Lodge is a city in and the county seat of Carbon County, Montana, United States. It is part of the Billings, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area...

    • Shelby
      Shelby, Montana
      Shelby is a city in and the county seat of Toole County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,216 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Shelby is located at ....

    • Sidney
      Sidney, Montana
      Sidney is a city in and the county seat of Richland County, Montana, United States, less than away from the North Dakota border. The population was 5,191 at the 2010 census. The city lies along the Yellowstone River and is in proximity to the badlands of the Dakotas...

    • West Yellowstone
      West Yellowstone, Montana
      West Yellowstone is a town in Gallatin County, Montana, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. The population was 1,177 at the 2000 census. The town is served by Yellowstone Airport...

    • Whitefish
      Whitefish, Montana
      Whitefish is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,032 at the 2000 census. It is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer hails from Whitefish....

    • Wolf Point
      Wolf Point, Montana
      Wolf Point is a city in and the county seat of Roosevelt County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,621 at the 2010 census. It is the largest community on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Wolf Point is the home of the annual Wild Horse Stampede, held every year during the second weekend...



    Counties



    The state of Montana has 56 counties
    County (United States)
    In the United States, a county is a geographic subdivision of a state , usually assigned some governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states; Louisiana is divided into parishes and Alaska into boroughs. Parishes and boroughs are called "county-equivalents" by the U.S...

    .
    Montana Counties Ranked By 2009 Population
    Rank County Population   Rank County Population
    1 Yellowstone County
    Yellowstone County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Nez Perce National Historical Park * Pompeys Pillar National Monument-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 129,352 people, 52,084 households, and 34,219 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile . There were...

    144,797 29 Valley County
    Valley County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 7,675 people, 3,150 households, and 2,129 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 4,847 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

    6,771
    2 Missoula County
    Missoula County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Bitterroot National Forest *Flathead National Forest *Lolo National Forest *Rattlesnake National Recreation Area-Demographics:...

    108,623 30 Blaine County
    Blaine County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Black Coulee National Wildlife Refuge* Nez Perce National Historical Park * Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument -Economy:The main industry in Blaine County is Agriculture...

    6,485
    3 Gallatin County
    Gallatin County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Gallatin National Forest * Yellowstone National Park -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 67,831 people, 26,323 households, and 16,188 families residing in the county. The population density was 26 people per square mile . There were 29,489 housing units...

    90,343 31 Teton County
    Teton County, Montana
    -National protected area:*Lewis and Clark National Forest *Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 6,445 people, 2,538 households, and 1,761 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile . There were 2,910...

    6,088
    4 Flathead County
    Flathead County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail * Flathead National Forest * Glacier National Park * Kootenai National Forest * Lolo National Forest * Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:...

    89,624 32 Pondera County
    Pondera County, Montana
    -National protected area:*Lewis and Clark National Forest *Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 6,424 people, 2,410 households, and 1,740 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile . There were 2,834...

    5,814
    5 Cascade County
    Cascade County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge*Lewis and Clark National Forest -Economy:Malmstrom Air Force Base is a driving force in the regional economy...

    82,178 33 Chouteau County
    Chouteau County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Lewis and Clark National Forest * Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument -Economy:Chouteau County is the largest winter wheat producer for the state of Montana...

    5,167
    6 Lewis and Clark County
    Lewis and Clark County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Flathead National Forest * Helena National Forest * Lewis and Clark National Forest * Lolo National Forest * Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area -Demographics:...

    61,942 34 Toole County
    Toole County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 5,267 people, 1,962 households, and 1,308 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile . There were 2,300 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

    5,151
    7 Ravalli County
    Ravalli County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Bitterroot National Forest *Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge*Lolo National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000 , there were 36,070 people, 14,289 households, and 10,188 families residing in the county. The population density was 15 people per square mile...

    40,431 35 Broadwater County
    Broadwater County, Montana
    -Economy:Agriculture is one of the primary industries in Broadwater County. RY Timber and Wheat Montana Bakery were the largest private employers according to the 2000 Census.-Demographics:...

    4,793
    8 Silver Bow County
    Silver Bow County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Beaverhead National Forest *Deerlodge National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 34,606 people, 14,432 households, and 8,933 families residing in the county. The population density was 48 people per square mile . There were 16,176 housing units at...

    32,949 36 Musselshell County
    Musselshell County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there are 4,497 people, 1,878 households, and 1,235 families residing in the county. The population density is 2 people per square mile . There are 2,317 housing units at an average density of -Demographics:...

    4,600
    9 Lake County
    Lake County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Flathead National Forest *National Bison Range *Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge*Pablo National Wildlife Refuge*Swan River National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:...

    28,605 37 Phillips County
    Phillips County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge* Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge * Hewitt Lake National Wildlife Refuge* UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge* Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument -Demographics:...

    3,944
    10 Lincoln County
    Lincoln County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail *Flathead National Forest *Kaniksu National Forest *Kootenai National Forest -Demographics:...

    18,717 38 Mineral County
    Mineral County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 3,884 people, 1,584 households, and 1,067 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile . There were 1,961 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile...

    3,833
    11 Hill County
    Hill County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge*Lake Thibadeau National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 16,673 people, 6,457 households, and 4,255 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile . There were...

    16,632 39 Sweet Grass County
    Sweet Grass County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Custer National Forest *Gallatin National Forest *Lewis and Clark National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 3,609 people, 1,476 households, and 987 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile...

    3,667
    12 Park County
    Park County, Montana
    Park Counties in Montana and Wyoming are among the very few pairs of counties in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines.-National protected areas:* Custer National Forest * Gallatin National Forest...

    15,941 40 Sheridan County
    Sheridan County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 4,105 people, 1,741 households, and 1,140 families residing in the county. The population density was 2.4 people per square mile . There were 2,167 housing units at an average density of 1.3 per square mile...

    3,243
    13 Glacier County
    Glacier County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Glacier National Park * Lewis and Clark National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 13,247 people, 4,304 households, and 3,245 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile . There were 5,243 housing units...

    13,550 41 Granite County
    Granite County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Deerlodge National Forest *Lolo National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,830 people, 1,200 households, and 784 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 2,074 housing units at an average...

    2,879
    14 Big Horn County
    Big Horn County, Montana
    - National protected areas :* Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area * Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument- Economy :Coal Mining and Agriculture both play major roles in Big Horn County’s economy...

    13,015 42 Fallon County
    Fallon County, Montana
    Fallon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Montana. As of 2010, the population was 2,890. Its county seat is Baker.Fallon County was created in 1913 after being carved out of Custer County. The name comes from Benjamin O'Fallon, a nephew of Captain William Clark and an Indian agent...

    2,725
    15 Jefferson County
    Jefferson County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Deerlodge National Forest *Helena National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 10,049 people, 3,747 households, and 2,847 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile . There were 4,199 housing units at an...

    11,470 43 Judith Basin County
    Judith Basin County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,329 people, 951 households, and 661 families residing in the county. The population density was -Demographics:...

    2,051
    16 Fergus County
    Fergus County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge * Lewis and Clark National Forest * Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument -Demographics:...

    11,208 44 Wheatland County
    Wheatland County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,259 people, 853 households, and 540 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 1,154 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

    2,044
    17 Custer County
    Custer County, Montana
    -Economy:The main source of income for Custer County has largely come from cattle ranching and dryland farming. Miles City serves as the center of commerce in an area extending for 100 miles in every direction...

    11,189 45 Meagher County
    Meagher County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Gallatin National Forest *Helena National Forest *Lewis and Clark National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,932 people, 803 households, and 529 families residing in the county...

    1,908
    18 Sanders County
    Sanders County, Montana
    Sanders County is a county located in the U.S. state of Montana. As of 2010, the population was 11,413. Its county seat is Thompson Falls.-Geography:According to the U.S...

    11,098 46 Liberty County
    Liberty County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,158 people, 833 households, and 583 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 1,070 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

    1,748
    19 Roosevelt County
    Roosevelt County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site * Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 10,620 people, 3,581 households, and 2,614 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile...

    10,303 47 Daniels County
    Daniels County, Montana
    -Economy:The main source of income for Daniels County has been cattle and dryland wheat.-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,017 people, 892 households, and 561 families residing in the county. The population density was 1.4 people per square mile . There were 1,154 housing units...

    1,703
    20 Carbon County
    Carbon County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area * Custer National Forest * Gallatin National Forest -Economy:During the early history of Carbon County, coal mining was the predominant industry...

    9,756 48 Powder River County
    Powder River County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,858 people, 737 households, and 524 families residing in the county. The population density was -Demographics:...

    1,664
    21 Richland County
    Richland County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 9,667 people, 3,878 households, and 2,652 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile . There were 4,557 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile...

    9,313 49 McCone County
    McCone County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,977 people, 810 households, and 596 families residing in the county. The population density was 1 people per square mile . There were 1,087 housing units at an average density of 0 per square mile...

    1,624
    22 Rosebud County
    Rosebud County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 9,383 people, 3,307 households, and 2,417 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 3,912 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

    9,258 50 Carter County
    Carter County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,360 people, 543 households, and 382 families residing in the county. The population density was -Demographics:...

    1,202
    23 Beaverhead County
    Beaverhead County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Beaverhead National Forest * Big Hole National Battlefield* Nez Perce National Historical Park * Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge-History:...

    8,976 51 Garfield County
    Garfield County, Montana
    -Politics:Garfield County is a solidly Republican county. It might be the most Republican county in Montana and one of the most Republican in the nation....

    1,173
    24 Deer Lodge County
    Deer Lodge County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Beaverhead National Forest *Deerlodge National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 9,417 people, 3,995 households, and 2,524 families residing in the county. The population density was 13 people per square mile . There were 4,958 housing units at an...

    8,792 52 Prairie County
    Prairie County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,199 people, 537 households, and 354 families residing in the county. The population density was -Demographics:...

    1,108
    25 Stillwater County
    Stillwater County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Custer National Forest *Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge*Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:...

    8,786 53 Golden Valley County
    Golden Valley County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,042 people, 365 households, and 263 families residing in the county. The population density was -Demographics:...

    1,057
    26 Dawson County
    Dawson County, Montana
    -Economy:Dawson County is known for its dryland grain, coal mines and gas and oil wells. There are 522 current farms and ranches, and 296 commercial businesses.-Demographics:...

    8,558 54 Wibaux County
    Wibaux County, Montana
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,068 people, 421 households, and 287 families residing in the county. The population density was less than 1 person per square mile . There were 587 housing units at an average density of less than 1/sq mi...

    897
    27 Madison County
    Madison County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Beaverhead National Forest *Deerlodge National Forest *Gallatin National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 6,851 people, 2,956 households, and 1,921 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile...

    7,457 55 Treasure County
    Treasure County, Montana
    - Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there were 861 people, 357 households, and 242 families residing in the county. The population density was - Demographics :...

    612
    28 Powell County
    Powell County, Montana
    -National protected areas:* Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest * Flathead National Forest * Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site* Helena National Forest * Lolo National Forest * Bob Marshall Wilderness Area...

    7,089 56 Petroleum County
    Petroleum County, Montana
    -National protected areas:*Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge *War Horse National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:At the 2000 census, there were 493 people, 211 households and 136 families residing in the county. The population density was 0.29 per square mile . There were 292 housing units...

    440

    Colleges and universities



    The state-funded Montana University System
    Montana University System
    The Montana University System was created on July 1, 1994, when the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education restructured the state's colleges and universities, with the goal of streamlining the state's higher education in the wake of decreased state funding...

     consists of:
    • Flathead Valley Community College
    • Dawson Community College
      Dawson Community College
      Dawson Community College is a community college with approximately 400 full-time students, located in Glendive, Montana. DCC offers students one-year certificate programs or two-year associate's degree programs...

    • Miles Community College
      Miles Community College
      Miles Community College is a community college in Miles City, Montana.- History :The College was founded in 1939. For almost 20 years it operated out of a few rooms in the local public high school...

    • Montana State University – Bozeman
      • Montana State University Billings
      • Montana State University – Northern—Havre
      • Montana State University College of Technology – Great Falls
        Montana State University College of Technology – Great Falls
        The Montana State University College of Technology – Great Falls is an two-year institution of higher education affiliated with the Montana State University System located in Great Falls, Montana...

    • University of Montana – Missoula
      • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
        Montana Tech of The University of Montana
        Montana Tech is a university located in Butte, Montana. It was founded in 1900, originally as Montana State School of Mines with two degrees, Mining Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The "M" on Big Butte overlooking the city stands for Miners and was built in 1910...

        —Butte
      • University of Montana Western
        University of Montana Western
        The University of Montana Western is a public university located in Dillon, Montana. It is part of the University of Montana System. Enrollment as of fall 2010 was 1,336 students. The school was founded in 1893 as Montana State Normal School...

        Dillon
        Dillon, Montana
        - Notable residents :* Ed Barker - NFL wide receiver - Washington Redskins* Cree Paul - [Where is she now?]* Charles Xavier Larrabee - owner of the nearby stock ranch Brooknook.* Lloyd Meeds - Politician, lobbyist, and navy officer....

      • University of Montana – Helena College of Technology
        University of Montana – Helena College of Technology
        The University of Montana Helena's College of Technology is a two-year college established in 1939. It was previously known as the Helena College of Technology and the Helena Vocational-Technical Center...



    Major Tribal Colleges in Montana include:
    • Fort Peck Community College
      Fort Peck Community College
      Fort Peck Community College is one of seven tribal community colleges in the state of Montana. The college is located on the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Reservation in the northeast corner of Montana, with its main campus in Poplar....

       or Ft. Peck Community College
    • Little Big Horn College
      Little Big Horn College
      Little Big Horn College is a Native American tribal college based in Crow Agency, Montana. Little Big Horn College is a two-year, tribally owned community college, serving the people of the Crow Indian Reservation. The college is directed by the Board of Trustees elected by districts within the...

    • Salish Kootenai College
      Salish Kootenai College
      Salish Kootenai College is a Native American tribal college based in Pablo, Montana which serves the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreilles tribes. There are approximately 1,100 students attending the college; enrollment is not limited to Native American students.Prior to 1978, it was a...

    • Stone Child College
      Stone Child College
      Stone Child College is a tribal college of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe located in Box Elder, Montana. It was chartered by the Chippewa-Cree Business Committee on May 17, 1984.-Academic Programs:...

    • Blackfeet Community College- Browning


    There are three small private colleges based in Montana, in addition to branch campuses of out-of-state schools:
    • Carroll College
      Carroll College (Montana)
      Carroll College is a private Catholic liberal arts college in Helena, Montana, USA. Carroll College has earned national and regional awards for its academic programs. Carroll's colors are purple and gold...

    • Rocky Mountain College
      Rocky Mountain College
      Rocky Mountain College , located in Billings, Montana, is a private comprehensive college offering more than 25 liberal arts- and professionally oriented majors. In fall 2009, the college had 894 enrolled students...

    • University of Great Falls
      University of Great Falls
      The University of Great Falls , a private Roman Catholic university located in Great Falls, Montana, is fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges...




    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
    Minor league
    Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in...

     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
    Minor league baseball
    Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

    , all members of the Pioneer Baseball League:
    • Billings Mustangs
      Billings Mustangs
      The Billings Mustangs are a minor league baseball team based in Billings, Montana. The Mustangs are the Pioneer League Rookie affiliate of the Major League Cincinnati Reds. The team has been a part of the Pioneer League since 1948 with a five-year gap between 1964 and 1968, and has been affiliated...

    • Great Falls Voyagers
    • Helena Brewers
      Helena Brewers
      The Helena Brewers are a minor league baseball team in the Pioneer League and are the Advanced Rookie League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They are located in Helena, Montana...

    • Missoula Osprey
      Missoula Osprey
      The Missoula Osprey is a minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks in Missoula, Montana. The team plays its home games at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field. The club is a member of the Pioneer League, a short-season league which is designated Rookie Advanced.The Osprey...



    The Missoula Phoenix and the Great Falls Gladiators are semi-pro football teams in the Rocky Mountain Football League (RMFL).

    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
    Montana State University - Bozeman
    Montana State University – Bozeman is a public university located in Bozeman, Montana. It is the state's land-grant university and primary campus in the Montana State University System, which is part of the Montana University System...

    , are members of the Big Sky Conference
    Big Sky Conference
    The Big Sky Conference is an intercollegiate college athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I, with football competing in the Football Championship Subdivision. The BSC was founded in 1963. Member institutions are located in the western United States in the states of Arizona,...

     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
    Frontier Conference
    The Frontier Conference is a college athletic conference, founded in 1952 and affiliated with the NAIA. Member institutions are located in the northwestern United States, in the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Utah....

    .

    Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     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
    Six-man football
    Six-man football is a variant of American football that is played with six players per team, instead of 11.-History:6-man football was developed in 1934 by Chester High School coach Stephen Epler as an alternative means for small high schools to field a football team during the Great Depression...

     leagues.

    Numerous other sports are played at the club and amateur level, including softball
    Softball
    Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand...

    , rugby
    Rugby union
    Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

    , and soccer. In 2011, Big Sky Little League won the Northwest Region, advancing to the Little League World Series
    Little League World Series
    The Little League Baseball World Series is a baseball tournament for children aged 11 to 13 years old. It was originally called the National Little League Tournament and was later renamed for the World Series in Major League Baseball. It was first held in 1947 and is held every August in South...

     in South Williamsport, PA for the first time in state history.

    From 1988–2010, the Montana High School All Class Wrestling
    Wrestling
    Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

     Tournament was held in Billings at MetraPark. This event remains one of the most popular high school events each year in Montana. The 2011 event was relocated to three different cities due to a freak tornado that tore the roof of of the MetraPark building on June 20, 2011. The MetraPark has been repaired and expects to host the all class tournament again.

    There are six junior hockey
    Hockey
    Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

     teams in Montana, all affiliated with the American West Hockey League
    American West Hockey League
    The American West Hockey League is an American Tier III junior ice hockey league based in Montana and Wyoming. The league is a member of USA Hockey and was founded in 2011.-History:...

    :
    • Billings Bulls
      Billings Bulls
      The Billings Bulls are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team currently playing in the American West Hockey League. The Bulls are based in Billings, Montana and play home games at the 550-seat Centennial Ice Arena, due to the size, the Bulls frequently sell out games and broadcast their games on...

    • Bozeman Icedogs
      Bozeman Icedogs
      The Bozeman Icedogs are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team located in Bozeman, Montana. The team is a member of the American West Hockey League . The Icedogs play home games at the Haynes Pavilion located at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds....

    • Butte Roughriders
      Butte Roughriders
      The Butte Roughriders are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team located in Butte, Montana, USA. The team joined the Northern Pacific Hockey League's America West Division in 2003 when the league competed at the Jr. B level. In 2007 The NorPac was granted Tier III Jr...

    • Great Falls Americans
      Great Falls Americans
      The Great Falls Americans were a junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League who played in the 1979–80 WHL season. The team was originally the Edmonton Oil Kings. They played at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, Montana. The team only lasted 28 games and won two games...

    • Helena Bighorns
      Helena Bighorns
      The Helena Bighorns is a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team in the American West Hockey League based in Helena, Montana USA. The team plays their home games at the 1,600-seat Helena Ice Arena...

    • Missoula Maulers
      Missoula Maulers
      The Missoula Maulers are an USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Jr. A ice hockey team from Missoula, Montana. The 2007-08 season is their inaugural as an expansion team. They play out of Missoula's Glacier Ice Rink. Michael Burks, President and Cory J. Miller, General Manager are the club's principal...


    Ft. Shaw


    In 1904 a group of young Native American women, after playing undefeated during their last season, went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
    Louisiana Purchase Exposition
    The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in 1904.- Background :...

     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".

    Montana in popular culture

    • The protagonist in Ernest Hemingway
      Ernest Hemingway
      Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

      's For Whom the Bell Tolls
      For Whom the Bell Tolls
      For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As an expert in the use of explosives, he is assigned to blow up a...

      (1940), Robert Jordan, is a native Montanan. The 1943 film adaptation starred Gary Cooper
      Gary Cooper
      Frank James Cooper, known professionally as Gary Cooper, was an American film actor. He was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made...

      , a native Montanan himself. Hemingway traveled to Montana extensively, and much of his family still lives in the state.
    • In Larry McMurtry
      Larry McMurtry
      Larry Jeff McMurtry is an American novelist, essayist, bookseller and screenwriter whose work is predominantly set in either the old West or in contemporary Texas...

      's 1985 Pulitzer Prize
      Pulitzer Prize
      The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

      -winning novel Lonesome Dove
      Lonesome Dove
      Lonesome Dove is a 1985 Pulitzer Prize–winning western novel written by Larry McMurtry. It is the first published book of the Lonesome Dove series, but the third installment in the series chronologically...

      , the protagonists drive a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana, with the latter state being described as "a cattleman's paradise." The 1989 TV miniseries of the same name, Lonesome Dove
      Lonesome Dove (film)
      Lonesome Dove is a western television miniseries based on Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, Lonesome Dove was originally broadcast by CBS on February 5, 1989, drawing a huge viewing audience, earning numerous awards, and...

      , was filmed partly in the state.
    • The 1989 film Always is a romantic drama directed by Steven Spielberg
      Steven Spielberg
      Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

      , and starring Richard Dreyfuss
      Richard Dreyfuss
      Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American actor best known for starring in a number of film, television, and theater roles since the late 1960s, including the films American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Stakeout, Always, What About...

      , Holly Hunter
      Holly Hunter
      Holly Hunter is an American actress. Hunter starred in The Piano for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She has also been nominated for Oscars for her roles in Broadcast News, The Firm, and Thirteen...

      , John Goodman
      John Goodman
      John Stephen Goodman is an American film, television, and stage actor. He is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award in 1993, and for appearances in the films of the Coen brothers, with prominent roles in Raising...

       and Brad Johnson
      Brad Johnson (actor)
      Brad Johnson is an American actor and former Marlboro Man.Johnson's first acting credit was in the low-budget biker film The Nam Angels , and shortly after he had his first co-starring role in a major film when he played the role of Ted Baker in the 1989 film Always, directed by Steven Spielberg...

      . This is also Audrey Hepburn
      Audrey Hepburn
      Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century...

      's final film appearance.
    • the 1990 film Silence of the Lambs with Jodie Foster
      Jodie Foster
      Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster is an American actress, film director, producer as well as a former child actress....

      , Anthony Hopkins
      Anthony Hopkins
      Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

      , and Scott Glenn
      Scott Glenn
      Theodore Scott Glenn is an American actor. His roles have included Wes Hightower in Urban Cowboy , astronaut Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff ,Emmett in Silverado , Commander Bart Mancuso in The Hunt for Red October , Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and The Wise Man in Sucker Punch -Early...

      , Clarice Starling (Foster) lived in Montana before joining the FBI.
    • The 1992 film A River Runs Through It
      A River Runs Through It (film)
      A River Runs Through It is an Academy Award winning 1992 American film directed by Robert Redford and starring Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd...

      takes place in and around Missoula, Montana
      Missoula, Montana
      Missoula is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area...

      , although much of the filming was done on the Gallatin and Madison rivers south of Bozeman. The film is about the Prohibition
      Prohibition
      Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

       era of the 1920s. It stars Brad Pitt
      Brad Pitt
      William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

      , Craig Sheffer
      Craig Sheffer
      Craig Eric Sheffer is an American film and television actor. He is known for his leading role as Norman Maclean in the film A River Runs Through It and of Keith Scott on the television series One Tree Hill.-Early life:...

       and Tom Skerritt
      Tom Skerritt
      Thomas Roy "Tom" Skerritt is an American actor who has appeared in over 40 films and more than 200 television episodes since 1962.-Early life:...

      . Directed by Robert Redford
      Robert Redford
      Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

      .
    • The 1994 film The River Wild
      The River Wild
      The River Wild is a 1994 thriller film directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, and Joseph Mazzello...

      is a thriller directed by Curtis Hanson
      Curtis Hanson
      Curtis Lee Hanson is an American film director, film producer and screenwriter. His directing work includes The Hand That Rocks the Cradle , L.A...

       and starring Meryl Streep
      Meryl Streep
      Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

      , Kevin Bacon
      Kevin Bacon
      Kevin Norwood Bacon is an American film and theater actor whose notable roles include Animal House, Diner, Footloose, Flatliners, Wild Things, A Few Good Men, JFK, Apollo 13, Mystic River, The Woodsman, Trapped, Friday the 13th, Hollow Man, Tremors, Death Sentence, Frost/Nixon, Crazy, Stupid, Love....

      , David Strathairn
      David Strathairn
      David Russell Strathairn is an American actor. He was nominated for an Academy Award for portraying journalist Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck...

      , John C. Reilly
      John C. Reilly
      John Christopher Reilly, Jr. is an American film and theater actor, singer, and comedian. Debuting in Casualties of War in 1989, he is one of several actors whose careers were launched by Brian De Palma. To date, he has appeared in more than fifty films, including three separate films in 2002...

      , and Joseph Mazzello
      Joseph Mazzello
      Joseph Francis Mazzello III is an American actor who is best known for his roles as Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park, Eugene Sledge in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, and Dustin Moskovitz in The Social Network....

      . The story involves a family on a whitewater rafting trip who encounter violent criminals.
    • The 1994 film Legends of the Fall
      Legends of the Fall
      Legends of the Fall is a 1994 epic drama film based on the 1979 novella of the same title by Jim Harrison. It was directed by Edward Zwick and stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Aidan Quinn. The film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction , and Best...

      which stars Brad Pitt
      Brad Pitt
      William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

      , Anthony Hopkins
      Anthony Hopkins
      Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

       and Aidan Quinn
      Aidan Quinn
      -Early life:Quinn was born in Chicago, Illinois to Irish parents. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic and raised in Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, as well as in Dublin and Birr, County Offaly in Ireland. His mother, Teresa, was a homemaker, and his father, Michael Quinn, was a professor of...

       is set (though was not filmed) in Montana, including Helena
      Helena, Montana
      Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

      . It is about a family's struggle to live through World War I, the Prohibition
      Prohibition
      Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

       1920s and the 1930s. Directed by Edward Zwick
      Edward Zwick
      Edward M. Zwick is an American filmmaker and film producer noted for his epic films about social and racial issues. He has been described as a "throwback to an earlier era, an extremely cerebral director whose movies consistently feature fully rounded characters, difficult moral issues, and plots...

      .
    • In the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact
      Star Trek: First Contact
      Star Trek: First Contact is the eighth feature film in the Star Trek science fiction franchise, released in November 1996, by Paramount Pictures. First Contact is the first film in the franchise to feature no cast members from the original Star Trek television series of the 1960s...

      , Montana is the location of the fictitious first contact between humans and an alien race, the Vulcans. Star Trek producer Brannon Braga
      Brannon Braga
      Brannon Braga is an American television producer and screenwriter, currently working as showrunner and executive producer on Terra Nova...

       is originally from Bozeman, Montana
      Bozeman, Montana
      Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

      . However, no Montana locations were used in the shooting of the film. Other Montana references occasionally dot various Star Trek films and television episodes, including one starship named the "Bozeman".
    • "Montana
      Montana (Frank Zappa song)
      Montana is a song composed by Frank Zappa for his 1973 LP Over-Nite Sensation. The last track on the album is one of Zappa's most famous and renowned compositions...

      " is the final track off of Frank Zappa
      Frank Zappa
      Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

      's 1973 album Over-Nite Sensation
      Over-Nite Sensation
      Over-Nite Sensation is an album by Frank Zappa & The Mothers, released in 1973 . It was recorded in March – June 1973 at these studios: Bolic Sound in Inglewood, Whitney, in Glendale, and Paramount in Los Angeles...

      .
    • In the TV series The Big Bang Theory
      The Big Bang Theory
      The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show, along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head writers...

      , Sheldon moves to Bozeman, Montana due to its low criminal rate, after being robbed in Pasadena. He returns immediately after being robbed again at Bozeman's bus station upon arrival.

    Miscellaneous topics

    • The planned battleship
      Battleship
      A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

       USS Montana
      USS Montana
      USS Montana may refer to:, was a that provided convoy escort duty during World War I, and was eventually renamed and reclassified Missoula , was a cargo ship during World War I and sunk by torpedo in August 1918...

       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
      Alaska
      Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

       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
      Jon Tester
      Jon Tester is the junior U.S. Senator for Montana, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as President of the Montana Senate.-Early life, education, and farming career:...

       made a request to the Navy that a submarine
      Submarine
      A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

       be christened USS Montana.
    • Montana has the largest grizzly bear
      Grizzly Bear
      The grizzly bear , also known as the silvertip bear, the grizzly, or the North American brown bear, is a subspecies of brown bear that generally lives in the uplands of western North America...

       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
      Gulf of Mexico
      The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

      ), and the Arctic Ocean (Hudson Bay
      Hudson Bay
      Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

      ). This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.
    • In 1888, Helena
      Helena, Montana
      Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

       (the current state capital) had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.

    State symbols



    • State flower: Bitterroot
      Bitterroot
      Bitterroot is a small, low plant with a pink to white flower. It is the state flower of Montana, United States....

       (Lewisia rediviva), since 1895
    • State tree: Ponderosa Pine
      Ponderosa Pine
      Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane...

      , since 1949
    • State animal: Grizzly Bear
      Grizzly Bear
      The grizzly bear , also known as the silvertip bear, the grizzly, or the North American brown bear, is a subspecies of brown bear that generally lives in the uplands of western North America...

       (Ursus arctos horribilis), since 1862
    • State bird: Western Meadowlark
      Western Meadowlark
      Not to be confused with Eastern MeadowlarkThe Western Meadowlark is a medium-sized icterid bird, about 8.5 in long. It nests on the ground in open country in western and central North America. It feeds mostly on insects, but also seeds and berries...

       (Sturnella neglecta), since 1931
    • State fish: Cutthroat trout
      Cutthroat trout
      The cutthroat trout is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes. It is one of the many fish species colloquially known as trout...

       Oncorhynchus clarkii, since 1977
    • State Song: "Montana", since 1945
    • State Ballad: "Montana Melody", since 1983
    • State Gemstones: Yogo sapphire
      Yogo sapphire
      Yogo sapphires are a special cornflower blue color variety of corundum found only in Yogo Gulch, Judith Basin County, Montana, United States. They are considered among the finest sapphires in the world, and by some gem experts, the finest. Sapphire mining at Yogo Gulch began in 1895, and the term...

       & Agate
      Agate
      Agate is a microcrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.-Etymology...

      , since 1969
    • State Fossil
      State fossil
      Most American states have made a state fossil designation, in many cases during the 1980s. It is common to designate one species in which fossilization has occurred, rather than a single specimen, or a category of fossils not limited to a single species....

      : Maiasaur ("Duck-billed Dinosaur") (Maiasaura
      Maiasaura
      Maiasaura is a large duck-billed dinosaur genus that lived in the area currently covered by the state of Montana in the Upper Cretaceous Period , about 74 million years ago....

       peeblesorum)
      , since 1985
    • State Butterfly: Mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), since 2001
    • State Grass: Bluebunch wheatgrass
      Bluebunch wheatgrass
      Pseudoroegneria spicata is a species of grass known by the common name Bluebunch Wheatgrass. This native western North American perennial bunchgrass is known by the scientific synonyms Elymus spicatus and Agropyron spicatum. The grass can be found from Alaska to Texas. It occurs in many types of...

      , since 1973
    • State Motto: "Oro y Plata" (Spanish: Gold and Silver)

    Ski areas



    Montana has several ski areas including:
    • Bear Paw Ski Bowl near Havre, Montana
      Havre, Montana
      Havre is a city in, and the county seat of, Hill County, Montana, United States. It is said to be named after the city of Le Havre in France. The population was 9,621 at the 2000 census.-History:...

    • Big Sky Resort
      Big Sky Resort
      Big Sky Resort is a ski resort located in southwestern Montana in Madison County, an hour south of Bozeman via U.S. Highway 191 in Big Sky.Opened in late 1973, Big Sky has grown over the last 35 years. Trademarked as the "Biggest Skiing in America" through the Biggest Skiing in America Pass,...

       near Big Sky, Montana
      Big Sky, Montana
      Big Sky is a census-designated place in Gallatin and Madison counties in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana. This unincorporated community straddles the two counties, is not considered a town, and has no town government. The primary industry of the area is tourism.Big Sky is...

    • Blacktail near Lakeside
      Lakeside, Montana
      Lakeside is a census-designated place in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,679 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Lakeside is located at ....

    • Bridger Bowl Ski Area
      Bridger Bowl Ski Area
      Bridger Bowl is a ski area near Bozeman, Montana, serving locals and students of Montana State University.Located north of Bozeman in the Bridger Range of southern Montana, Bridger is a locally owned non-profit ski area. It provides locals with affordable skiing, great terrain, and outstanding...

       near Bozeman
      Bozeman, Montana
      Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

    • Discovery Basin near Philipsburg
      Philipsburg, Montana
      Philipsburg is a town in and the county seat of Granite County, Montana, United States. The population was 914 at the 2000 census. The town was named after the famous mining engineer Philip Deidesheimer, who designed and supervised the construction of the ore smelter around which the town...

    • Great Divide near Helena, Montana
      Helena, Montana
      Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

    • Lookout Pass
      Lookout Pass
      Lookout Pass is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of the northwestern United States. The pass, in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains of the Bitterroot Range, is on the border between Idaho and Montana, traversed by Interstate 90 at an elevation of 4710 feet above sea level.Lookout Pass is the...

       near St. Regis, Montana
    • Lost Trail near Darby, Montana
      Darby, Montana
      Darby is a town in Ravalli County, Montana, United States. The population was 710 at the 2000 census. Darby is located near the southwestern border of Montana and Idaho, along the Continental Divide...

    • Maverick Mountain near Dillon, Montana
    • Moonlight Basin
      Moonlight Basin
      Moonlight Basin is a ski resort in southwestern Montana, located in the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains near the resort village of Big Sky...

       near Big Sky, Montana
      Big Sky, Montana
      Big Sky is a census-designated place in Gallatin and Madison counties in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana. This unincorporated community straddles the two counties, is not considered a town, and has no town government. The primary industry of the area is tourism.Big Sky is...

    • Red Lodge Mountain near Red Lodge
      Red Lodge, Montana
      Red Lodge is a city in and the county seat of Carbon County, Montana, United States. It is part of the Billings, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area...

    • Showdown Ski Area
      Showdown Ski Area
      Showdown is an alpine ski area located in the Little Belt Mountains in Central Montana, United States.-History:Created in 1936 and originally called King's Hill Ski Area, Showdown is a small-scale ski area normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, receiving most patrons on the weekends...

       near White Sulphur Springs, Montana
      White Sulphur Springs, Montana
      White Sulphur Springs is a city in and the county seat of Meagher County, Montana, United States. The population was 984 at the 2000 census.The center of population of Montana is located in White Sulphur Springs.-Geography:...

    • Snowbowl Ski Area near Missoula
      Missoula, Montana
      Missoula is a city located in western Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. The 2010 Census put the population of Missoula at 66,788 and the population of Missoula County at 109,299. Missoula is the principal city of the Missoula Metropolitan Area...

    • Teton Pass Ski Area
      Teton Pass Ski Area
      Teton Pass Ski Area is an alpine ski area located along the Rocky Mountain Front in northwestern Montana, west of Choteau, Montana and east of the Continental Divide...

       near Choteau
      Choteau, Montana
      Choteau is a city in and the county seat of Teton County, Montana, United States. It lies along U.S. Routes 89 and 287 about east of the Rocky Mountains, near Flathead National Forest, the Rocky Mountain Division of Lewis and Clark National Forest, and Glacier National Park. The population was...

    • Turner Mountain Ski Resort
      Turner Mountain Ski Resort
      Turner Mountain Ski Resort is an alpine ski area located in northwest Montana, 22 miles north of Libby, Montana. The mountain is known for its outstanding fall-line powder skiing.-Trivia:...

       near Libby
      Libby, Montana
      Libby is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Montana, United States. The population was 2,626 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Libby is located at , along U.S. Route 2....

    • Whitefish Mountain Resort
      Whitefish Mountain Resort
      Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ski resort located at The Big Mountain in northwestern Montana, located west of Glacier National Park in the Flathead National Forest...

       near Whitefish
      Whitefish, Montana
      Whitefish is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,032 at the 2000 census. It is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer hails from Whitefish....


    See also


    • List of National Register of Historic Places in Montana
    • List of people from Montana
    • List of places in Montana
    • Missouri River
      Missouri River
      The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

    • Rocky Mountains
      Rocky Mountains
      The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...


    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
      Ivan Doig
      Ivan Doig is an American novelist. He was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana to a family of homesteaders and ranch hands. After the death of his mother Berneta, on his sixth birthday, he was raised by his father Charles "Charlie" Doig and his grandmother Elizabeth "Bessie" Ringer...

      , Dancing at the Rascal Fair. Scribner: 1987. ISBN 0-689-11764-7.
    • Doig, Ivan
      Ivan Doig
      Ivan Doig is an American novelist. He was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana to a family of homesteaders and ranch hands. After the death of his mother Berneta, on his sixth birthday, he was raised by his father Charles "Charlie" Doig and his grandmother Elizabeth "Bessie" Ringer...

      , English Creek. Peter Smith Publisher Inc: 1992. ISBN 0-8446-6608-4.
    • Howard, Joseph Kinsey
      Joseph Kinsey Howard
      Joseph Kinsey Howard was an American journalist, historian, and author, who wrote extensively about the history, culture, and economic circumstances of Montana...

      . Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Bison Books: 2003. ISBN 0-8032-7339-8.
    • Howard, Joseph Kinsey
      Joseph Kinsey Howard
      Joseph Kinsey Howard was an American journalist, historian, and author, who wrote extensively about the history, culture, and economic circumstances of Montana...

      . Montana Margins: A State Anthology. Yale University Press,: 1946. ISBN 0-8369-2652-8.
    • Kittredge, William
      William Kittredge
      William Kittredge is an American writer from Oregon, United States. He was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up on a ranch in Southeastern Oregon's Warner Valley in Lake County where he attended school in Adel, Oregon, and later would attend high school in California and Oregon...

      . 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 Kittredge
      William Kittredge is an American writer from Oregon, United States. He was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up on a ranch in Southeastern Oregon's Warner Valley in Lake County where he attended school in Adel, Oregon, and later would attend high school in California and Oregon...

      , William Lang, Richard Roeder, Annick Smith
      Annick Smith
      Annick Smith is a writer and filmmaker whose work often focuses on the natural world.The daughter of Hungarian émigrés, Smith was born in Paris and raised in Chicago, Illinois. In 1964, she moved to Montana, where she and her husband and sons eventually settled on a ranch in the Blackfoot River...

      , 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
      Norman Maclean
      Norman Fitzroy Maclean was an American author and scholar noted for his books A River Runs Through It and Other Stories and Young Men and Fire .-Biography:...

      , A River Runs Through It. University of Chicago Press
      University of Chicago Press
      The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of...

      : 1976. ISBN 0-226-50060-8.
    • MacLean, Norman
      Norman Maclean
      Norman Fitzroy Maclean was an American author and scholar noted for his books A River Runs Through It and Other Stories and Young Men and Fire .-Biography:...

      , 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
      K. Ross Toole
      Kenneth Ross Toole was an American historian, author, and educator who specialized in the history of Montana...

      . Montana: An Uncommon Land. University of Oklahoma Press
      University of Oklahoma Press
      The University of Oklahoma Press is the publishing arm of the University of Oklahoma. It has been in operation for over seventy-five years, and was the first university press established in the American Southwest. It was founded by William Bennett Bizzell, the fifth president of the University of...

      : 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