The West Is on Fire. Get Used to It.

The West is burning, and there’s no relief in sight. More than 80 large wildfires are raging in an area covering more than 1.4 million acres, primarily in California, Montana, and Oregon, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Taken together, that’s a wildfire larger than the state of Delaware. California has declared a state of emergency as wildfires burn...

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Interior cancels oil and gas leases in Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine

This week, as John Murray drove north from his home on the Badger-Two Medicine River to his job as the historic preservation officer for the Blackfeet Tribe, the mountains glowed red. His wife, who drove with him, commented on their beauty. Murray, 69, noted with deep satisfaction, that for the first time in more than 30 years, there are no more oil and gas leases up...

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Mortal Fall by Christine Carbo

In Christine Carbo’s exciting suspense novel Mortal Fall, a wildlife biologist’s shocking death leads to chilling discoveries about a home for troubled teens in this haunting and compelling new crime novel set in the wilds of Glacier National Park. Park police officer Monty Harris knows that each summer at least one person—be it a reckless, arrogant climber or a...

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The Valley of Flowers, The Gateway to Extraordinary Hiking

Bozeman, Montana is a great place to relocate if you enjoy fly fishing, hiking and being centered among some of the most spectacular scenery and national parks in the country? Some of the most enjoyable hiking is to to the peaks surrounding the Gallatin Valley, also known as the Valley of Flowers. Bozeman is named for the early pioneer and trail builder, John Bozeman,...

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Ranch buy adds to huge Montana wildlife reserve

A huge Montana nature reserve added a 47,000-acre historic ranch to its patchwork of lands along the Missouri River on Friday, a significant step in a privately funded effort to stitch together a Connecticut-sized park where bison would replace livestock and cattle fences give way to open range. The PN Ranch north of Winifred sprawls across rugged badlands, tall grass...

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Bison coming “home” to Montana Indian reservation after 140 years

Descendants of a bison herd captured and sent to Canada more than 140 years ago will be relocated to a Montana American Indian reservation next month, in what tribal leaders bill as a homecoming for a species emblematic of their traditions. The shipment of animals from Alberta’s Elk Island National Park to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation follows a 2014 treaty...

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Featured National Recreation Trail: Danny On Trail, Montana

Danny On National Recreation Trail located in Whitefish, Montana on the Tally Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest. It is by far the most popular trail on our national forest with approximately 15,000 people hiking the trail per year. Despite its popularity, it offers an aesthetically rewarding hiking experience. The Danny On Trail extends 3.8 miles one...

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The tree that looks like an elk: History of Douglas fir pervades Missoula

Missoulians often mistake Douglas fir trees for elk — a fact that would amuse David Douglas to no end. Had he made it to the Missoula Valley in Montana during his botanical explorations in the 1820s, the elk on Mount Jumbo would have no Douglas fir saplings to mingle with. Salish Indians regularly burned the mountainsides to deny ambush cover to Blackfeet Indians...

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Helena, Lewis & Clark national forests formally become one

The Helena and Lewis & Clark national forests in Montana have officially consolidated. The announcement comes after several years of combining positions and sharing resources across both forests, most notably in leadership with a shared supervisor and deputy supervisor. The public should notice little difference following the announcement and no offices will be...

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Montana Governor Allows Bison to Roam Outside Yellowstone

Wild bison will be allowed to migrate out of Yellowstone National Park and stay in parts of Montana year-round under a move by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock that breaks a longstanding impasse in a wildlife conflict that’s dragged on for decades. The Democratic governor’s decision likely won’t end the periodic slaughters of some bison that roam outside...

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A walk on the wild side: Bob Marshall’s trek retraced

Bob Marshall hiked 288 miles over eight days through the northwestern Montana wilderness in 1928. Marshall would average 36 miles a day during the epic hike, and The Bob Marshall Wilderness would officially be created 36 years later, after Marshall. “Averaged,” says Chris Peterson of Marshall’s daily walks. “I averaged 10, and I didn’t bag...

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Adventure ideas for 2015: Montana has so much to offer

From the temperate rainforests of Kootenai National Forest to the badlands around Fort Peck, every page of the Montana atlas offers something to explore. Each Forest Service road and tiny blue line on the map represents the possibility of great things, all within the broad and diverse bounds of the Montana landscape. The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, which passed...

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Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front is place of surprises

In his book “This House of Sky,” Ivan Doig described them as a “steel-blue army of mountains, drawn in battalions of peaks and reefs and gorges and crags as far along the entire rim of the earth as could be seen.” “Summit after summit bladed up thousands of feet as if charging into the air to strike first at storm and lightning, valleys and...

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Predators and profit coexist on Turner land

Ted Turner has always known the status quo will never change unless you stand up and defy it. As a billionaire businessman he made his money the old fashioned way — by practicing fiscal conservatism and paying careful attention to the bottom line. It’s worth mentioning that he didn’t amass his fortune by defiling the environment. As an outlier, a technology disrupter and...

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Living Wetlands Interpretive Nature Trail provides educational opportunities in Montana

The goal in making this trail available to the public is to share the history, science, and beauty of the wetlands, and to provide a glimpse into the lives of the wildlife with which we share this habitat. This three-phased project funded through the Recreational Trails Program by Montana’s State trails program enabled the design and installation of an interpretive...

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Retracing the Mullan Road: A once-vital route across the Continental Divide

Wagon wheel ruts remain in sun-baked soil atop the mountain pass named for the man who left his mark there. John Mullan was an Army first lieutenant in the 1850s and tasked with building a road that would connect two outposts and help speed the travel of troops, travelers and commercial freight across the Continental Divide. He was to construct a road across plains and...

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Gunsight Pass: Cross Continental Divide on Glacier trail

If you want to cross the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park and are looking for more adventure than walking past the sign atop Going-to-the-Sun Road, take the trail over Gunsight Pass instead. The 20-mile trail connects Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east with Lake McDonald Lodge on the west, and can be done as a long day hike or as a backpacking trip. Along...

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Itinerate hiker: Retired surgeon explores, volunteers on CDT

Eric White has hiked 8,500 miles. And his favorite mileage has been along the Continental Divide Trail. It’s what brings him to Butte, Montana every summer to volunteer on crews improving the trail. White, a retired orthopedic surgeon who lives in Williamstown, Mass., spends part of his summers in Butte volunteering with AmeriCorps to improve the trail. He first became...

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State of Montana uses federal grant to buy grizzly habitat

The Montana Land Board approved a $345,000 purchase of 320 acres of threatened grizzly bear habitat to add to the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area in Teton County. The state is buying the land from the Conservation Fund with a grant from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services program to help the recovery of grizzlies in the northern Continental Divide. The 320 acres of...

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Trails survey will help define the people who bike and hike in the Helena, MT South Hills

The beckoning of wild country is just steps away if you live in Helena, MT. Trailheads at the end of city streets provide portals to land that’s part of this city’s allure. Rocks and dirt, ponderosa pines and air sweet with wildflowers and grasses allow those who spend an afternoon or a day hiking or biking the South Hills trails to turn their backs — at least...

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A gem of eastern Montana: Terry Badlands offers unique rock formations

Most people’s only view of the small town of Terry in eastern Montana is buzzing by on the interstate. From the roadway, traveling at 75 miles per hour, the area surrounding the town looks flat and unremarkable, but those who venture off the interstate will be amazed by the terrain hiding in the Terry Badlands. The Terry Badlands are located about six miles west of...

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Devil’s Glen one of many Montana areas considered for wilderness designation

Would the Devil’s Glen make a good present for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act? The 16,000-acre strip of Dearborn River canyon at the southern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front makes an awesome postcard. Waterfalls and moose tracks line the trail to the Continental Divide. So does a collection of ranch houses and summer camp cabins. The parcel is part of the...

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New hiking, biking trail proposed near Red Lodge, Montana

A new route for Red Lodge-area hikers and mountain bikers would be developed if a Beartooth Ranger District proposal to provide a nonmotorized trail from the Nichols Creek drainage (Forest Road No. 2478) to the base of the Red Lodge Mountain Ski Area moves ahead. The agency is seeking public comment on the proposal which would utilize about three-quarters of a mile of...

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A million acres protected: The Nature Conservancy passes conservation milestone

The Olsens didn’t want to see their small Montana ranch in the forest on the Upper Big Hole River split into smaller parcels once they’re gone. Now, the 515 acres they own in the forest southwest of Jackson is protected thanks to a conservation easement that restricts development. The couple worked with The Nature Conservancy on the transaction. The easement, Olsen said,...

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Wilderness designation sought for Scotchman Peaks

Wilderness policy is an often-divisive arena. In this arena, the Scotchman Peaks straddle many boundaries. The scenic mountain range between the Clark Fork and Bull rivers has more geopolitical lines dotting its map than a United Nations seating chart. About 20,000 of Scotchman’s 88,000 roadless acres lie in the Panhandle National Forest on the Idaho side of the border....

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Montana man plans to trek entire Continental Divide by snowshoe

Richard Layne probably won’t have any competition for tent space at Glacier National Park’s fabled Hole in the Wall campground when he gets there. With a tentative reservation for sometime in April 2016, he hopes to have that tip of the Rocky Mountains to himself. In fact, Layne plans to be plenty lonely for the next three winters as he travels Montana’s whole...

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Teamwork can help to protect wildland

This is the time of year when Montanans shoulder their backpacks or saddle their horses and head for the hills. From snow melt to the end of hunting season, Montana’s wilderness and backcountry beckon, calling with opportunities to reconnect with nature and rebalance Life through solitude, adventure and recreation. Every year, people from all over America and the world...

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Mark Himmel honored for work on trails

Mark Himmel is no stranger to trail building and maintenance. As chairman of the Back Country Horsemen of Montana, Himmel, of Great Falls, has spent plenty of time maintaining old trails and building new ones. Nationally, the Back Country Horsemen are the leaders in volunteer trail maintenance. Statewide, the group does more than its fair share of work as well. In its 40...

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Spring Fever? Put Together a Hiking Kit

The late snows in most of the state mean spring hiking will begin a little later than usual. According to expert hiker Roger Jenkins with the Montana Wilderness Association, that means more time to put together a kit that includes what he calls the “10 essentials,” no matter if you’re going on a day hike or a multi-day adventure. Start with a first-aid...

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‘Beautiful in its own way’: Photographer, teacher spend a month recording eastern Montana wonders

It’s a common belief that eastern Montana is flat and boring. But on a trip exploring Montana’s prairie lands, photographer Tony Bynum and teacher Stacy Dolderer found quite the opposite. “It’s really beautiful in its own way,” Dolderer said. The two spent a month last summer in eastern Montana working in conjunction with the Montana Wilderness Association to inventory...

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