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Montana ( ) is a state in the Western United States. The western third of the state contains numerous mountain ranges; other 'island' ranges are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). The state nickname is the "Treasure State." Other nicknames include "Land of Shining Mountains," "Big Sky Country," and the slogan "The Last Best Place." The state ranks fourth in area, but 44th in population, and therefore has the third lowest population density in the United States. The economy is primarily based on ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal in the east; lumber, tourism, and hard rock mining in the west. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Parkmarker, the Battle of Little Bighornmarker site, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Parkmarker.

Geography

Map of Montana


With a land area of the state of Montana is the fourth largest in the United States (after Alaskamarker, Texasmarker, and Californiamarker). To the north, Montana and Canada share a border. The state borders the three Canadian provinces of British Columbiamarker, Albertamarker, and Saskatchewanmarker, more than any other state. To the east, the state borders North Dakotamarker and South Dakotamarker. To the south lies Wyomingmarker and to the west and southwest is Idahomarker.

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

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

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

East of the divide, several parallel ranges march across the southern half of the state, including the Gravelly Range; the Tobacco Roots; the Madison Range; Gallatin Range; Big Belt Mountains; Bridger Mountainsmarker; Absaroka Mountains; and the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over in the continental United States and contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peakmarker, high.
St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park
Between the mountain ranges are many scenic valleys, rich in agricultural resources and rivers, and possessing multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. Among the best-known areas are the Flathead Valley, Bitterroot Valleymarker, Big Hole Valley, and Gallatin Valleymarker.

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

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

Montana also contains a number of rivers, many of which are known for "blue-ribbon" trout fishing, while also providing most of the water needed by residents of the state, as well as being a source of hydropower. Montana is one of few geographic areas in the world whose rivers form parts of three major watersheds (i.e. where two continental divides intersect): The Pacific Oceanmarker, the Gulf of Mexicomarker, and Hudson Baymarker which are divided atop Triple Divide Peakmarker in Glacier National Park.

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

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

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


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

Montana contains Glacier National Parkmarker, 'The Crown of the Continent,' and portions of Yellowstone National Parkmarker, including three of the Park's five entrances. Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monumentmarker; Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Areamarker; Big Hole National Battlefieldmarker; Lewis and Clark Cavernsmarker; and the National Bison Rangemarker. Montana has ten National Forest and more than 20 National Wildlife Refuges. The Federal government administers . are administered as state parks and forests.


Areas managed by the National Park Service include:

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

Climate

Left
Montana is a large state with considerable variation in geography, hence the climate is equally varied. The state spans from 'below' the 45th parallel (i.e. the halfway line between the equator and the north pole) to the 49th parallel, and elevations range from under to nearly above sea level. The western half is mountainous, interrupted by numerous large valleys. Eastern Montana comprises plains and badlands, broken by hills and isolated mountain ranges, and has a semi-arid continental climate. The Continental Divide runs north-south through the western mountainous half, and has a great effect on the climate. It restricts the flow of warmer air from the Pacific from moving east, and cooler, drier continental moving west. West of the divide, the climate is described as modified northern Pacific coast climate, with milder winters, cooler summers, less wind, and a longer growing season. 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 in January to 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 at Glendivemarker on July 20, 1893, and Medicine Lake on July 5, 1937. Throughout the state, summer nights are generally cool and pleasant. Temperatures decrease with altitude, and hot weather is unknown above Snowfall is not unknown 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, was recorded at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass. Temperatures vary greatly on such cold nights, and Helenamarker, to the southeast had a low of only . Winter cold spells last a week or so, and are usually the result of cold continental air coming south from Canadamarker. The front is often well defined, causing a large temperature drop in a 24-hour period. Conversely, air flow from the southwest results in "Chinooks". These steady 25-50 mph (or more) winds can suddenly warm parts of Montana, especially areas just to the east of the mountains, where temperatures sometimes rise up to 50°F (28°C) - 60°F (33°C).

Loma, Montanamarker 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 to .


Average annual precipitation is , but great variations are seen. The mountain ranges block the moist Pacific air, holding moisture in the western valleys, and creating rain shadows to the east. Heron, in the west, receives the most precipitation, . On the eastern (leeward) side of a mountain range, the valleys are much drier; Lonepine averages , and Deer Lodgemarker of precipitation. The mountains themselves can receive over , for example the Grinnell Glaciermarker in Glacier National Parkmarker gets . Perhaps the driest is an area southwest of Belfry that averaged only over a sixteen-year period. Most of the larger cities get of snow each year. Mountain ranges themselves can accumulate 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 beetles 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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demographics

Montana Population Density Map


Montana ranks 44th in population; only six states (Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont and Delaware) have fewer people. As of 2008, Montana has an estimated population of 967,440, slightly less than either Rhode Island or Hawaii, which is an increase of 65,245, or 7.2%, since the year 2000 and a 21.1% increase since 1990. Growth is mainly concentrated in Montana's seven largest counties, with the heaviest growth in Bozeman's Gallatin County, which saw a 78% increase in its population since 1990.

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

The center of population of Montana is located in Meagher County, in the city of White Sulphur Springsmarker.

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

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Montana

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 169,250; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 50,287; and as of Dec. 31, 2007 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 44,976.

Economy

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

The economy is primarily based on agriculture, and major crops include wheat, barley, sugar beets, oats, rye, seed potatoes, honey, cherries, and cattle and sheep ranching. Montana is also a relative hub of beer microbrewing, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita. There are significant industries for lumber and mineral extraction; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite.

Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Parkmarker, Flathead Lakemarker, the Missouri Rivermarker headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighornmarker and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Parkmarker.

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

Transportation



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

In addition, Amtrak's Empire Builder train runs through the north of the state, stopping in the following towns: Libbymarker, Whitefishmarker, West Glaciermarker, Essexmarker, East Glacier Parkmarker, Browningmarker, Cut Bankmarker, Shelbymarker, Havremarker, Maltamarker, Glasgowmarker, and Wolf Pointmarker.

Montana's three largest commercial airports serve Bozemanmarker, Billingsmarker, and Missoulamarker; smaller airports at Great Falls International Airportmarker, Kalispellmarker, Helenamarker, and Buttemarker also serve multiple commercial carriers. Eight smaller communities have airports designated for commercial service under the Essential Air Service program.

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

Montana's only north-south Interstate Highway is Interstate 15. Other major north-south highways include U.S. Routes 87, 89, 93 and 191.

Law and government

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

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

Politics

State capitol in Helena


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

In recent years, Montana has been classified as a Republican-leaning state, as the state supported President George W. Bush by a wide margin in 2000 and 2004. However, the state currently has two Democratic U.S. Senators and a Democratic governor (Brian Schweitzer), elected in 2004. In the 2006 midterm elections, Democratic candidate Jon Tester narrowly defeated (by only 3000 votes) incumbent Republican Senator Conrad Burns [3016],one of several crucial races that allowed the Democratic Party to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. Montana's lone US Representative, Republican Denny Rehberg, easily won reelection in 2006 as well as in 2008. Long time Senator Max Baucus won reelection in 2008 with a massive majority of votes. The state Senate is, as of 2009, controlled by the Republicans. The State House of Representatives is tied with the speaker of the house coming from the Democratic Party. In the 2008 presidential election, Montana was considered a swing state and was ultimately won by Republican John McCain, albeit by a narrow margin of two percent.

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

Montana is an Alcoholic beverage control state.

Important cities and towns

Billings skyline & Sacrifice Cliff, 2005


Some of the cities (with 2008 U.S. Census Metropolitan/Micropolitan population estimates) in Montana are:


Some of the major towns in Montana are:









Counties

The State of Montana has 56 counties.

Montana Counties Ranked By 2008 Population
Rank County Population   Rank County Population
1 Yellowstone Countymarker 142,348 29 Valley Countymarker 6,892
2 Missoula Countymarker 107,320 30 Blaine Countymarker 6,491
3 Gallatin Countymarker 89,824 31 Teton Countymarker 5,992
4 Flathead Countymarker 88,473 32 Pondera Countymarker 5,852
5 Cascade Countymarker 82,026 33 Chouteau Countymarker 5,225
6 Lewis and Clark Countymarker 60,925 34 Toole Countymarker 5,141
7 Ravalli Countymarker 40,664 35 Broadwater Countymarker 4,704
8 Silver Bow Countymarker 32,803 36 Musselshell Countymarker 4,498
9 Lake Countymarker 28,690 37 Phillips Countymarker 3,904
10 Lincoln Countymarker 18,971 38 Mineral Countymarker 3,862
11 Hill Countymarker 16,454 39 Sweet Grass Countymarker 3,790
12 Park Countymarker 16,189 40 Sheridan Countymarker 3,283
13 Glacier Countymarker 13,297 41 Granite Countymarker 2,821
14 Big Horn Countymarker 12,841 42 Fallon Countymarker 2,716
15 Jefferson Countymarker 11,255 43 Judith Basin Countymarker 2,014
16 Fergus Countymarker 11,195 44 Wheatland Countymarker 2,010
17 Custer Countymarker 11,149 45 Meagher County 1,868
18 Sanders Countymarker 11,034 46 Liberty Countymarker 1,725
19 Roosevelt Countymarker 10,089 47 Powder River Countymarker 1,694
20 Carbon Countymarker 9,657 48 McCone Countymarker 1,676
21 Richland Countymarker 9,270 49 Daniels Countymarker 1,643
22 Rosebud Countymarker 9,190 50 Carter Countymarker 1,234
23 Beaverhead Countymarker 8,903 51 Garfield Countymarker 1,184
24 Deer Lodge Countymarker 8,843 52 Golden Valley Countymarker 1,081
25 Stillwater Countymarker 8,687 53 Prairie Countymarker 1,064
26 Dawson Countymarker 8,490 54 Wibaux Countymarker 866
27 Madison Countymarker 7,509 55 Treasure Countymarker 637
28 Powell Countymarker 7,041 56 Petroleum Countymarker 436


Education

Colleges and universities

The state-funded Montana University System consists of:

Major Tribal Colleges in Montana include:

Major Private Colleges and Universities include:



Sports

Professional sports

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

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

Collegiate and amateur sports

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

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

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

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

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

Ft. Shaw

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

Montana in popular culture



Miscellaneous topics

  • The planned battleship USS Montana was named in honor of the state. However, the battleship was never completed, making Montana the only one of the 48 states during World War II not to have a battleship named after it. Additionally, Alaskamarker and Hawaiimarker have both had nuclear submarines named after them. As such Montana is the only state in the union without a modern naval ship named in its honor. However, in August 2007 Senator Jon Tester made a request to the Navy that a submarine be christened USS Montana.
  • The Hell Creek Formation is a major source of dinosaur fossils. Paleontologist Jack Horner, of the Museum of the Rockiesmarker in Bozeman, Montanamarker, brought this formation to the world's attention with several major finds. For example, Jane was discovered in 2001 in Hell Creek and is the world's most complete juvenile tyrannosaurus rex.
  • In 1902, a group of female students from the Fort Shaw Indian Industrial School began playing basketball and traveled throughout Montana, defeating high school teams and some college teams. In 1904, the girls' basketball team traveled by train to the St. Louis World's Fair. Over a period of five months, the team was challenged by numerous other basketball teams and won every contest, returning to Fort Shaw with the "world champion" trophy. On May 1, 2004, a monument in honor of the basketball team was unveiled at the entrance of the present-day Fort Shaw Elementary School.
  • In the movie 'Star Trek: First Contact', Montana is the location of the fictitious first contact between humans and an alien race, the Vulcans. Star Trek producer Brannon Braga is originally from Bozeman, Montanamarker. However, no Montana locations were used in the shooting of the film.
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.
  • Montana's triple divide allows water to flow into three oceans: the Pacific Oceanmarker, the Atlantic Oceanmarker (Gulf of Mexicomarker), and the Arctic Oceanmarker (Hudson Baymarker). This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peakmarker in Glacier National Park.
  • In 1888, Helenamarker (the current state capital) had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.


State symbols

Montana's state quarter, released in 2007.




Ski areas



Montana has several ski areas including:

Notable people

See also



References

Further reading

  • Montana was awarded the award for Having the Best State Government and Citizens by President George W. Bush in 2005.


To read more about this award, and more about Montana read these books.

External links




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