Why is Montana such a big state
Montana - A first class travel destination for true nature lovers
Montana is not exactly the first state you think of when you travel to the United States. And if so, then above all because of its unique landscapes such as Glacier National Park, where the Triple Divide Peak is a watershed point from which the water flows into three oceans. It is a state that has more grizzly bears than any other country in the United States and more cows than people. Because there are only just over a million inhabitants in Montana.
Table of Contents
Montana in numbers, data and facts | Geographical location and extent | Weather and Climate in Montana | Population of Montana | Tickets for attractions and activities | The 10 Biggest Cities of Montana | Montana for tourists | Montana Economy and Infrastructure | Montana and Politics | A trip into the history of Montana
But Montana's cultural heritage is also impressive, and not just because it is the only state in the United States whose constitution respects the cultural heritage of the Native Americans and is committed to maintaining their cultural integrity. Landmarks like Butte’s Berkeley Pit, Polebridge Mercantile, and Montana's Dinosaur Trail make the state a sought-after travel destination in the United States of America. The nickname Montana, "Treasure State", results from the many mineral resources such as oil, coal, copper, silver and gold that can be found there. The name Montana itself is probably derived from the Spanish word for mountain "montaña".
Montana in numbers, data and facts
- surface: 380,838 km²
- Residents: 1.068.778 (2019)
- Member of the USA since: November 8, 1889
- Time zone: Mountain - UTC − 7 / −6
- Highest elevation: Granite Peak (3901 m)
- Deepest point: Kootenai River (549 m)
- Average height: 1035 m
- Capital: Helena
- State motto: Oro y Plata (gold and silver)
- Official website: https://mt.gov
Geographical location and extent
Montana is located in the northwestern United States and is the fourth largest state in the United States. In the north, Montana borders Canada, more precisely the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. To the east, Treasure State is bordered by North Dakota and South Dakota, while to the south is Wyoming and to the south and southwest of the state of Idaho. The state is divided into 56 counties.
Montana belongs to the Mountain States and is characterized in the west by the Rocky Mountains and in the east by wide plains, the Great Plains. A small portion of Yellowstone National Park is also in the state. The major rivers are the Missouri River, the Milk River, the Flathead River, and the Yellowstone River. The world's shortest river, the Roe River, also flows through the Treasure State. Flathead Lake is the largest lake in the state.
Weather and climate in Montana
Montana is one of the coldest regions in the United States, with an average maximum daily temperature of just 14 degrees. The climate in the Treasure State is warm and temperate, but much more changeable than in Germany. Rainfall is recorded throughout the year. The month with the most precipitation is June and the month with the least precipitation is January. The warmest month is July, the coldest month January. The summer or the time from May to September is considered the best time to travel due to the warmer temperatures. Winter sports enthusiasts should ideally plan their visit to Montana between December and February.
Population of Montana
Montana is one of the most populous states in the United States. Because only a little more than a million people live here, even though the Treasure State is the fourth largest state in the United States. It is a retirement and nature lover's paradise, who are increasingly settling in Montana. Younger people and long-established farming families are increasingly leaving the Treasure State.
Whites make up the largest proportion of the population at 89 percent, followed by Native Americans. The proportion of blacks among the population is comparatively low. Latin Americans are represented at around four percent. There are slightly more men than women in Montana.
The religious community with the largest number of members in Montana is the Catholic Church, followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
Tickets for attractions and activities
Tickets for sights and activities in Montana can be found at www.getyourguide.de.
The Indian population of Montana
A total of thirteen Indian tribes live in Montana. These are the Kootenai, Blackfoot, Assiniboine, Northern Cheyenne, Salish and Anishinabe, Cree, Pend d'Oreille, Gros Ventre, Chippewa, Sioux, Crow and Little Shell. About two-thirds of Native Americans live on an Indian reservation in the state. The Tribe of the Little Shell is an exception. There are a total of seven Indian reservations in the state.
There are the following Indian reservations in Montana:
- Blackfeet Indian Reservation (Blackfeet)
- Crow Reservation (Absarokee)
- Flathead Indian Reservation (Salish, Pend d‘Oreille and Kutenai)
- Fort Belknap Reservation (Gros Ventre, Assiniboine)
- Fort Peck Indian Reservation (Dakota, Assiniboine)
- Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation (Cheyenne)
- Rocky Boy's Reservation (Cree, Chippewa)
The 10 largest cities of Montana
- Billings (109,431)
- Missoula (72,125)
- Great Falls (58,990)
- Bozeman (45,121)
- Butte-Silver Bow (34,814)
- Helena (31,212)
- Kalispell (22,621)
- Havre (9,762)
- Anaconda-Deer Lodge County (9,100)
- Miles City (8,576)
Montana for tourists
The biggest attraction in the state in the northwestern United States is definitely Glacier National Park. Around 80 percent of visitors book a holiday in this state with only a few inhabitants just because of it, which is why the park is of great importance for tourism.
But Glacier National Park is by no means the only attraction in Treasure State. For example, how about a visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Museum, the ghost town of Nevada City, Berkely Pit or a visit to Polebridge Mercantile? Montana has plenty of sights for culture and nature lovers. And the cities are not to be despised either.
Cultural monuments and sights in Montana
Montana can look back on an eventful history, in which much revolves around the gold rush and the conflict between settlers and Indians. Witnesses of these turbulent times, which have been a thing of the past decades, are ghost towns like Nevada City. Even further back are the times of the dinosaurs, on whose tracks you can hike along the Dinosaur Trail. Montana's Dinosaur Trail connects a total of fourteen museums, state parks and several other attractions in the center and east of the state where you can learn more about the giant lizards that once populated our earth.
The following cultural sights are also very popular:
- Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument: The name Little Bighorn is probably known to most. This area commemorates the battle of the US Army's 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer and the Lakota, Dakota-Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians under their leaders Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Gall. It was the last armed attempt by the Indians to preserve their way of life. And they managed to win this battle at least. The site of this historic battle can now be visited as a national monument.
- Big Hole National Battlefield: On August 9, 1877, just as morning broke, rifle shots shook the cold air in a Nez Perce dormitory. When the smoke cleared on August 10, almost 90 Nez Perce and 31 soldiers and volunteers were dead. The memorial was created in honor of all those who were there.
- Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and Museum: Would you like to immerse yourself in the history of the Wild West? Then you should definitely visit the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and the attached museum. Here you will find a rich array of artifacts from the olden days, ranging from sewing needles to carts to leather straps. Over 35,000 artefacts from one of the legendary cattle empires of the West are exhibited here and make it possible to experience the world in which people lived and worked on the ranch between 1860 and 1960.
- Pompeys Pillar National Monument: The Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a rock formation in central southern Montana. Pompeys Pillar was part of the original Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and represents the legacy of the early west and its development. There are testimonies of the Native Americans, the early explorers, fur hunters, the US cavalry, the development of the railroad and the early settlers many of whom left traces of their history in this sandstone. One of the most famous visitors to the sandstone pillar was probably Captain William Clark with his guide Sacagawea and an eleven-man troop as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. On July 25, 1806, none other than Clark scratched his signature and date into the rock and recorded it in his diary. The historical signature has been preserved to this day and can be viewed.
- Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument: The Upper Missouri River Break National Monument contains a spectacular array of biological, historical, and geological objects of interest. The monument stretches from Fort Benton to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and includes sections of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, among others.
National parks and natural landmarks in Montana
- Glacier National Park: With its majestic peaks, glaciers, pristine forests, alpine meadows and pristine lakes, Glacier National Park is definitely the main attraction of the state of Montana and should definitely not be missed when visiting. The national park is a paradise for hikers who love the untouched wilderness and solitude, especially during the summer months. 6 species of amphibians, 276 species of birds, various fish and insects, 71 species of mammals and 3 species of reptiles are waiting to be discovered. And if you don't just want to marvel at glaciers and animals, you can also relive the old days through historic chalets, lodges and the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.
- Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world and is best known for its hissing geysers and bubbling, smacking mud pots. 96 percent of the national park is in the state of Wyoming. A small part of the national park (3 percent) is located in Montana, so the unique park and its geysers can also be explored from Treasure State.
Among the animals, the bison should be mentioned in particular. Around 5,000 of these proud animals live around the area of Yellowstone National Park. A comparatively small number when you consider that it was once over 60 million who moved across the plains.
But the bisons are pushing out of the national park and endangering the farmers' cattle, which is why several hundred bison are slaughtered every year. In order to get around this problem and to save as many animals as possible from the slaughterhouse, animals have been relocated to the Fort Peck reservation in northeast Montana for several years now. Meanwhile, the number of animals in the reserve has grown to 375 specimens. It is planned that the bison can later be hunted there by the Indian tribes of the Assiniboine and Sioux according to tribal tradition.
- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area: The vast, wild landscape of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in nature and experience the wonders of this extraordinary place. Here you can discover an amazing variety of ecosystems, wildlife and more than 10,000 years of human history.
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is nearly 8,000 kilometers long and extends from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the mouth of the Columbia River near present-day Astoria, Oregon. The trail follows the historical return routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the preparatory section from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Wood River, Illinois.
Worthwhile activities in Montana
The state in the northwest of the United States of America is a paradise for nature lovers and people who would like to learn more about the history of the Indians and the Wild West and would like to recharge their batteries in one or the other ghost town.
- Hiking and camping: The unique landscapes with its many rivers, Glacier National Park with its glaciers and mountains, Yellowstone and cultural sites such as the place where the famous Battle of Little Bighorn took place, all of this and more make Montana a popular destination for people, who love nature. You can wonderfully hike through the beautiful landscapes here, especially during the summer months, marvel at the glaciers or camp in one of the national parks or other approved locations. Fishing, hunting and climbing are also very popular.
- visit cities: The largest city in Montana is undoubtedly Billings. The Moss Mansion Museum, the Yellowstone Art Museum and the Montana Zoo are all well worth seeing. The Reef Indoor Water Park is well worth a visit for families with children. Anyone interested in Lewis and Clark should definitely visit the city of Missoula. The city is, among other things, the location of the film "From the Middle A River" by Robert Redford. Around 60 kilometers from the city is also the best-preserved ghost town of Montana, the Garnet Ghost Town.
The capital Helena itself is located between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. Originally founded as a mining town in the gold rush period, the capital offers a wonderful view of the most beautiful regions of the Rocky Mountains. It is not for nothing that Montana is known as the “Big Sky Country”.
In addition, there are many picturesque small towns in the state that you should not miss out on during your trip. Very nice small towns are for example Whitefish, Big Timber and Choteau.
- Visit lakes: In addition to the large Flathead Lake, Montana also has many beautiful, smaller lakes. Lake McDonald in Flathead County, Saint Mary Lake in Glacier County and Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park are absolutely picturesque.
- Do winter sports: Montana is considered a paradise for skiers in winter. There are a total of 16 ski areas in the state, of which Bridger Bowl near Bozeman and the Red Lodge Mountain Resort near Red Lodge are arguably the most famous.
- Take a round trip: Montana is also an excellent starting point for a tour of the state and neighboring states across the border. In addition to Idaho in the southwest, the other states of the "Great American West", South Dakota and Wyoming, are definitely worth a visit. There are many beautiful routes here that you can drive by rental car, camper or motorcycle and many treasures that you can discover along the way.
- Relax at hot springs: There are numerous natural hot springs spread over the area of the state of Montana, in the vicinity of which spas and resorts have often been built. For example, one of these resources is located in Bozeman near Yellowstone National Park.
Montana economy and infrastructure
Montana is rich in natural resources. Among other things, copper, gold, precious stones and silver are found here. However, these mineral resources are already exhausted, which is probably not least due to the gold rush. The Butte copper mine is a testament to this period. Crude oil, natural gas and coal are still important today. However, the most important occupation of the citizens is agriculture. Cattle and livestock are raised especially in the south. There are fewer cattle breeders in the northeast, agriculture predominates here. For example, wheat, corn and barley are grown in Montana, with barley also being used in the state's numerous microbreweries. Wine is also grown in the state. The tourism sector has been growing since the 80s of the last century, which is probably due not least to the popular Glacier National Park with its glaciers. The Mountain State tends to be seen as a low-wage region.
The infrastructure of Montana is set up satisfactorily. The main road links are Interstate 90 and 94 and the U.S. Routes 2 and 12. One international airport is Billings Logan International Airport in Billings. Another is with the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Bozeman.
Montana and Politics
Montana is not a swing state. In the presidential election, Treasure State residents tend to favor Republicans.In the congressional elections, on the other hand, the Democrats usually win the race. The governor of Montana has been the Democrat Stephen Clark Bullock since 2013.
A trip into the history of Montana
According to finds, the area of what is now Montana had been inhabited for over 10,000 years. The oldest sites are Indian Creek, Mill Iron and Myers-Hindman. The tribes now resident in Montana immigrated relatively late. These tribes included the Crow in the south, the Cheyenne in the southeast, the Blackfeet, Assiniboine, and the Gros Ventres in the center and north, and the Kootenai and Salish in the west. The Pend d'Oreille settled around Lake Flathead, while the Kalispel lived in the western mountains.
The first Europeans in what is now Montana were the two traders Louis-Joseph and François de la Vérendrye in 1743. After the land was transferred to the USA as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the area was used by the researchers of the Lewis and Clark expedition Explored from 1804 to 1806. They were followed by the fur traders who brought alcohol, disease and a new economic system to the Indians. However, the fur trade largely came to an end with the decline in beavers and the loss of popularity of the beaver hat in the mid-19th century.
The first permanent settlement was the Mission of Saint Mary in the Bitterroot Valley. With the missionaries, agriculture and a sawmill came to the Treasure State. More or less peaceful times.
But then came the 1860s gold rush that began in Virginia City, Bannack, and Diamond City in 1865 and peaked in 1866-69. With the gold rush there was a rapid influx of more and more whites and the conflicts between the Indians and the whites increased as the Indians lost access to their traditional hunting grounds. There were battles steeped in history. The Sioux and Cheyenne won the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, and Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce won a battle in the Big Hole Basin in 1877. But in the end, the Indians of the US Army could not withstand.
Meanwhile, cattle ranches were established in the valleys of the west. The railroad followed in the 1880s until Montana was finally declared a US state in 1889. Cattle and sheep farms continued to use the state's abundant pastureland until a prolonged drought after World War I drove numerous farmers to ruin. The post-war period marked a slow transition to a service-oriented economy and away from agriculture and the extraction of natural resources.
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