Facts about Montana for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, AMISH, & ARCHEOLOGY
Montana has had a continuous AMISH presence since 1974. The current group of Montana settlements includes 4 communities founded in the last fifteen years. The Amish way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community. The Amish in Montana are returning to agriculture while continuing to work in the trades.
Montana has ARCHAEOLOGY events for kids, families, and schools. The State Archaeology Program encourages recognition and preservation of archaeology sites and places of cultural importance in Montana. The state has several archaeological sites. The Too Close for Comfort archaeological site was used as a buffalo jump and has yielded artifacts from 3 Native American groups. Barton Gulch Archaeology Site has provided information about the Paloe Indians in the North West. Excavations at Pictograph Cave is a area of three caves (Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost caves) located south of Billings and a National Historic Landmark. The oldest rock art in the cave is over 2,000 years old.
Over 400 species of BIRDS make their home in Montana ranging from tiny wrens to huge trumpeter swans. Nearly 200 birds have been sighted at the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The State Bird is the Western Meadowlark. More Golden Eagles have been seen in a single day at the Rogers Pass than anywhere else in the country. Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area has thousands of snow geese and tundra swans during migration. It is possible to see over a thousand nesting pelicans at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge. The Montana Raptor Conservation Center rescues injured raptors.
Montana has hundreds of BRIDGES and many are on the National Register of Historic places in Montana. The state has had Foot & Pipline Bridges and Covered Bridges and some are still standing. Some of the bridges are former Great Northern Railway Bridges. Fairview Bridge is on the list of National Register of Historic Places. Snowden Lift Bridge was one of the few bridges in the country to accommodate both rail and vehicular traffic. When motor vehicles were excluded from the bridge,the MonDak Bridge was built nearby. Lewis and Clark Bridge is a historical monument. The Mackin Bridge Construction Company has been building bridges in Montana for 80 years.
. Montana has several scenic BYWAYS and Drives. The Grand Loop Tour of southwest Montana takes you through most of the highway-accessible sites in the region. The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in the country. The state also has a variety of Trails and participates in National Trails Day. The Grinnell Glacier Trail near East Glacier Park has a number of activities.The Bozeman Trail split off from the Oregon Trail. Sheridan has Bozeman Trail Days each year. Montana has several Roadside Attractions.
Montana has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, radio, television, internet, and telephone. The area code for the entire state is 406. Most businesses and schools are connected to the internet, and Internet Service Providers are located throughout the state. Webcams are located throughout the state.
Montana has 56 COUNTIES and 46 are considered "frontier counties". Beaverhead is the largest county and Silver Bow is the smallest. Yellowstone County has the largest population and Petroleum County has the smallest. Billings is the largest city and Ismay is the smallest. The term county is a political and geographic subdivision of a state, usually assigned some level of governmental authority. It is used in 48 of the 50 U.S. states
Millions of years ago what is now Montana was a giant swamp and home to DINOSAURS. Many skeletons and other fossils have been found in the state. The Montana Dino Trail has exhibits, programs and field digs. A record 8 specimens of Tyranosaurus Rex have been discovered at the Hell Creek Project Dinosaur Dig in Northeastern Montana. Dinosaur Hunting is a popular past time. The State Dinosaur is the Maiasaura peeblesorum, a large duck-billed dinosaur. Dinosaur eggs have been discovered at Egg Mountain. In 2016 a large Tyrannosaurs Rex skull was found when excavating the fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation. It is nicknamed the "Tufts-Love" T Rex after the two volunteers who found the fossil, Jason Love and Luke Tufts. In 2017, scientists unearthed what is described as one of the most complete Ankylosaur fossized skeletal remains ever in the Judith River Formation. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
Public EDUCATION is free, and The Montana Office of Public Instruction oversees education in the state. Montana requires that a child attend school from age 7-16 or completion of work in the 8th grade. The state has public and private schools. It also has special educational programs. The Bureau of Land Management has education programs and materials to help teachers and students understand resource areas, multiple-use land management, and how citizens can affect land use decisions. Information about schools is provided by SchoolBug and GreatSchools.
Montana has a variety of EVENTS and Festivals throughout the year. The Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo is held at the Flathead County Fairgrounds. The Western Montana Fair is held at the Missoula Fairgrounds. The Montana Gaelic Cultural Society promotes Gaelic culture in the state and hosts an Irish Festival. Miles City Community College has a Highland Festival, and Billings has a Highland Picnic. Red Lodge hosts a 9-day Festival of Nations honoring its cultural and ethnic origins. The state observes Public Holidays and celebrates other special days.
Montana has has a rich heritage of FOOD brought by various ethnic groups. Sugar beets are grown in Montana and are second only to sugar cane for sources of sugar. Buffalo roam the plains of Montana and a unique food is Buffalo meat. Festivals, Shows, and Events are held during the year.The Montana Food Bankstrives to meet the nutritional needs of the hungry and homeless in the state.
Before western Montana was obtained from Great Britain in the Oregon Treaty of 1846, American trading posts and FORTS had been established in the territory. Most of them have been destroyed, but some of the forts are historic sites, some have historical markers, and some have structures and/or tours. Fort Benton is known as the birthplace of Montana and is a National Historic Landmark. Fort Assiniboine is now the home of Northern Agricultural Research Center. For Keogh is now on the property of the USDA, ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory. The remains of the original Fort include the parade ground, a flag pole, a wagon shed, and 7 other structures. For Missoula was remodeled and updated between 1908 and 1914. It is now home to the Lolo National Forest headquarters, Bureau of Land Management's regional headquarters, the National Guard, and numerous nonprofit organizations. Fort Owenis part of Fort Owen State Park. Some buildings at Fort Shaw are used by the county school system. A building standing at Fort Connah is said to be the oldest building in the state.
Montana has many GHOST TOWNS. The Garnet Preservation Association is dedicated to protect and preserve Garnet Ghost town. The Coloma Ghost Town still has mining shafts, ventilation systems, pumping machines and remains of narrow-gauge railroad tracks. Hecla has a few ruined buildings. In 1864, Bannack briefly served as the capital of Montana Territory. It has been preserved as a ghost town state park and has more than 50 buildings including houses, a church, and the 1st jail in the state.
The GLOBAL POSTION of Montana is approximately 44-49 degrees north and 104-116 degrees west. Fergus is the geographic center of the state. The topography of Montana ranges from about 900 ft to 4,000 ft. with high mountains to rolling plains. Granite Peak is the highest point and the Kootenai River is the lowest. The place where the mountains rise from the plains is called The Rocky Mountain Front. Geocaching is a high tech game using a Global Positioning System, and there are geocaches throughout Montana. The topography of the state
The HISTORY of what is now the state of Montana can be traced back to the time of the dinosaurs - 80,000,000- 60,000,000 B.C. The first inhabitants of the area arrived about 12,000 BC. The first European to enter the area was Sieur de la Varendry who arrived about 1743. Lewis and Clark played an important part in the exploration of Montana. The state only played a small part in the Civil War.The state has many History Museums and participates in National History Day.
Montana has a variety of INSECTS including several species of butterflies and spiders. The State Butterfly is the Mourning Cloak. During the past, the plains region has been devastated by the Rocky Mountain Locust. The frozen remains of millions of now extinct grasshopper species have been found in Grasshopper Glacier.
Montana has many ISLANDS in rivers and lakes. Lake County has 13 islands including Wildhorse Island which is a state park and refuge for bald eagles and bighorn sheep. York Islands have campgrounds and activities. Some of the islands are on the U.S. Islands Directory because they have a ham radio.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Judicial Branch of Montana seeks to provide equal access to justice while building the public's trust and confidence in Montana courts.There are State and Federal Courts. There are also Tribal Courts.
Many aspects of life in Montana focus on KIDS. The state has information and activities For Kids and fun stuff for kids The Department of Health & Human Resources has a Healthy Kids Program. Montana Kids has the history and prehistory of the state and a Dinosaur Trail. The Agriculture in the Classroom provides information about agriculture. The Montana Natural History Center has kids programs. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Montana has a wide variety of MINERALS, and much of the early history of the state involved mining. Gold and copper are the most valuable non-fuel minerals in the state. The largest gold mine is located near Whitehall. Stillwater has the only mine in the country that produces platinum and palladium. Butte is the center of the area that once supplied half of the copper in the country. Several gemstones are found in the state. In 1969, Montana designated both the Sapphire and Montana Agate as the official state gemstones. The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England. The Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine offers visitors an opportunity to dig for sapphires.
Montana has many MOUNTAINS and more than 50 Mountain Ranges. Some of them are covered with snow most of the year. Granite Peak is the highest moutain in the state. Mountain Climbing is a popular activity.
A variety of MUSEUMS are located throughout Montana. The North American Wildlife Museum features nearly 100 exhibits. The World Museum of Mining is in Butte. The Museum of the Plains Indian and Craft Center in Browning has historic collections. The Mineral Museum on the Montana Tech Campus has examples of rocks and minerals from Montana, the world, and even outer space.
The first people to inhabit the area that is now Montana were NATIVE AMERICANS. Before the Europeans arrived, 2 groups of Indians lived there. The state now has 11 Tribes and 7 reservations. Montana also has a number of reservation-less or "landless" Indians, primarily the Little Shell Band and the Chippewa-Cree. The state celebrates North American Indian Days, and over a dozen powwows are held each year. Montana has several Indian Casinos. The Flathead Reservation is home to the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreilles Tribes.
Montana is part of the OLD WEST(the area west of the Mississippi River during the 19th century). Virginia City is an Old West Victorian Mining Town. The Charles M. Russell Museum Complex in Great falls has brush and scultures of the Old West. The state has cowboy and cowgirls. Miles City is known as one of the Cowboy Capitals of the country. The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame showcases cowboys/girls of the area. Cattle barons needed cowboys to drive cattle to stockyards. Railroads helped make cattle drives obsolete so cowboys turned to horse shows to earn extra money and the Rodeo was invented in Montana and the state has many rodeos and other western events..
Over 900,000 PEOPLE live in Montana and it is one of the least populated state. People who live there are called Montanans. Famous people include authors, actors, actresses, and politicians. The state has a community of Hutterites who are known for their strong traditions.
Montana has many species of REPTILES and amphibians including the poisonous Western Rattleshake. The state has Herpes Societies and Rescues. In 1996 a reptile and amphibian survey was done. Montana is part of the Amphibian and Research Monitoring Initiative.
Montana has many RIVERS. The Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing river in the continental United States. The Roe River is one of the shortest rivers in the world. The rivers in Montana provide water for 3 oceans and 3 of the major rivers of the North American continents. The state has 2 wild and scenic rivers - the Flathead and the Missouri.
All forms of SPORTS are played in Montana. Skiing is a popular sport and there are many ski resorts. The first luge run in North America was built at Lolo Hot Springs. The High Altitude Sports Center in Butte is the National Training site for the United States speed-skating team. Fishing is a popular sport and the State Fish is the Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout. The Montana Fishing Guide provides information about places to fish.
Montana has 91 species of TREES including many Champion and Trophy Trees and has a Big Trees Program. The State Tree is the Ponderosa Pine. The U.S. Dept of Agriculture has information about trees and shrubs in Montana. The Montana Tree Farm Program promotes the growing of renewable forest resources. Montana has many State & National FORESTS. Over 3 millon acres of forest land is owned by 11,000 individuals. Beaverheade-Deerlodge is the largest National Forest in the state. The National Museum of Forest Service is in Missoula. The Forestry Department is responsible for planning and implementing forest programs in the state.
Four ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Montana. The 1st USS Montana (ACR-13), a Tennessee-class armored cruiser, provided convoy escort duty during World War I, and was eventually renamed and reclassified Missoula (CA-13). The 2nd USS Montana (Montanan 1913) was a cargo ship during World War I & sunk by a torpedo. The 3rd USS Montana (BB-51) was a South Dakota-class battlship but scrapped before launching. The 4th USS Montana (BB-67) would have been the lead ship of her class of battleship had the class not been cancelled. The USS Billings (LCS-15) was launched on July 1, 2017. It is the first ship in naval service named after Billings, Montana.
Although there are no active VOLCANOES in Montana, there have been several eruptions in the recent geologic past (between 30 and 100 million years ago.) There are many well-exposed remnants of this volcanic activity in the state. Montana is within a region with a significant component of volcanic activity and has experienced the effects of volcanic activity as recently as 1980 (the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington). The 2 volcanic centers affecting Montana in recent geologic time are: 1) the Cascade Range of Washington, Oregon and California; and 2) the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming and eastern Idaho. Volcanic eruptions in the Cascade Mountains are more likely to impact Montana than Yellowstone eruptions. The primary effect of the Cascade volcanic eruptions on Montana would be ash fall. Generally it is not a major concern in Montana but it is important to be informed.
The beauty of the WEATHER in Montana is that whether it is hot or cold, Montana is dry, and therefore, neither oppressively hot nor oppressively cold. The average annual precipitation is 15 inches. Cold spells are frequently interrupted by Chinook winds (warm winds) and mild periods. NOAA has information and activities about the weather. The state holds the world record for the greatest temperature change in 24 hours -100 degrees. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information about Climate Change.
Montana has many species of WILDLIFE including big game animals and smaller animals. Some are endangered . The state has the largest migratory elk herd in the country and the pronghorn antelope which is the fastest animal in North America. Montana has the largest population of Grizzly Bears in the lower 48 states, and it is the State Animal. The state has many National Wildlife Refuges. Several hundred bison roam the National Bison range. The American Prairie Reserve is one of only four remaining areas in the world that are viable options for landscape-scale grasslands conservation. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is one of the oldest in the country. The Fish and Wildlife Service works to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats in Montana.