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cool things about Montana

 
steward
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I'm not sure if I've admitted this on the forums before:  I wasn't so sure about moving to Montana.

You see, I'm from the suburbs of Seattle. I grew up with mossy, ferny, lush forested areas to play in just down the street. It's the land of plentiful rain, quite nearing a temperate rain forest ecology, actually. I'm struggling to describe how the forests there had such dense underbrush in most off-trail places that you would need a machete or something to hack your way through. Very, very lush growth. This was "normal" to me.

Montana is different. The area near Missoula (and much of the state I suppose?) is basically a high mountain desert climate. Less than half the rainfall - in some comparisons, less than a third the rainfall - than what I had been used to. It's a different kind of beautiful. So...Big Sky Country took a little while to grow on me. It's funny how the natural beauty of the place needed to be near and dear to my heart for me to be sure I wanted to live here. But there you have it. It did. And now it does.

It's strange to report this, because by most people's standards, and even some national rankings (more on that to follow), most people find Montana very beautiful. And then there are other assumptions about Montana being "cowboy country" or full of rednecks. Well, these kind of assumptions some times lead to other assumptions about the culture here. I have been guilty of this myself.

Living here, however, has turned out to be awesome in SO many ways. More than just the natural beauty. Though you don't have to listen to my opinions on that. Thanks to a friend in Missoula, I've learned there are rankings that confirm that Montana is a great place to live.

Montana rankings (most are 2016 rankings, if I recall) in all 50/51 states by:
  • fiscal condition #10 (source) - somewhere, for fiscal prudence, we might be #1, but I couldn't find that one
  • fastest growing economy #5 (source)
  • most beautiful #9 (by Thrillist - source)
  • best state for retirees #6 (source)
  • happiest state to live in #7 (source)
  • best business tax climate #6 (source)



  • largest land area and size (land and water) both #4 (source)
  • population #44 - or #8 (of 51) in lowest population ranking (source)
  • population density #49 - or #3 (of 51) in lowest population density (source)
  • most affordable college #7 (source)
  • household income growth rate #5 (source)

  • So how is that for some geeky stats?

    Please, add more about what makes Montana so awesome!




     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    More good news about Montana! As the U.S. hits a record high organic acres, Montana ranks #2 in 2016 total organic acres!



    From Report: U.S. organic farmland hits record 4.1 million acres in 2016.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
    steward
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    Montana has more bumble bee species than any other state. How cool is that?!

    Montana has more bumble bee species than any other state (Bozeman Daiky Chronicle article


     
    pollinator
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    cool things about Montana - one assumed you were talking about the weather
     
    steward
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    David Livingston wrote:cool things about Montana - one assumed you were talking about the weather



    Well, it did get down to -30C last night in my corner of it. I had to put on a light jacket!  
     
    Posts: 23
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    Never been more proud to call Montana my home! Speaking of weather, Big Sky and Bozeman sure have been getting hit with some cold snaps as of late. Good Ol' Montana winters!
     
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    Can anyone tell me how reasonable the rent is there?
    I would love to move there and so would my daughter. She is disabled and on a low income. She is also diabetic . Do they have any good diabetic and endocrinologists there ?
    How reasonable is the land per acre?
    Any help would be appreciated.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Lynne Smith wrote:Can anyone tell me how reasonable the rent is there?
    I would love to move there and so would my daughter. She is disabled and on a low income. She is also diabetic . Do they have any good diabetic and endocrinologists there ?
    How reasonable is the land per acre?
    Any help would be appreciated.



    Some quick Google searches in general or on Missoula craigslist will show you rent and land purchase prices. Then, you could compare to your current locale. From what I've looked at, Missoula is pricier than other areas in Western Montana, but the Missoula area is FAR less expensive than the Seattle area, where I came from. So it's relative.

    I wouldn't know about diabetic care and endocrinologists, sorry.

     
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    Another really great thing about Montana is it is becoming a key state in what is becoming what is called The American Redoubt. Many Conservatives, Christians and Constitutionalists are moving to the Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and parts of the Dakotas area. Many folks believe that that area will be a safe(r) area to be, should America ever fall economically, politically, socially or environmentally. You can find out lots more about the "Redoubt" by visiting survivalblog.com. At that site you will also find a link to Survival Realty which lists lots of off grid homes, ranches and farms.
     
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    "Great"...lol
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
    steward
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    Here's another top 10 list where Missoula ranked #1. Which I find remarkable since Missoula is really quite small compared to a lot of U.S. cities.

    Fitness friendly:  Missoula tops the charts for third year running (no pun intended)



    Missoula ranked No. 1 in SmartAsset’s most “fitness friendly” places for the third consecutive year – a nod to the city’s walkable design, its array of healthy eating choices and its abundance of workout options, be it the gym or a hike up Mount Sentinel.


    There's more in the article about what factors went into the ranking, and I do think it's pretty cool.

    Hat tip to missoulacurrent.com for being a great independent local news source.

     
    master pollinator
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    I was stuck on the side of the road for three days in Chester Montana, in 1993. When the police stopped, I thought they were going to make me tow the vehicle to a better spot. Instead, he told me where I could get a transmission, and gave me a key to the bathroom and showers at the public pool.

    Lots of people stopped by, with advice on how to change a difficult transmission. One guy dropped off some blocking that came in very handy. Lots of people showed us their guns, and regaled us with tales of hunting pronghorn from truck windows.

    We ate at the Tasty Freeze everyday. Being broken down on the side of the road is not usually much fun. The friendliness of Chester Montana, made those 3 days much less frustrating. We returned the key.
    .........
    I think Wheaton Labs is in Montana. :-)
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
    steward
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    What a great story about Montana, Dale!

    (And yes, wheaton labs, IS in Montana! Near Missoula even. :-) )

    When I first met Paul, he kept bragging about Missoulians (and Montanans) and how friendly and helpful they are. Having grown up in the Seattle area that is known for its "Seattle chill" in the social sense, it has taken me a bit of getting used to. In a good way.

    Shortly after I moved here, we went to a movie in Missoula, and while standing along a wall, waiting for the theater to be cleaned before we could go in, this stranger said to me "so, what movie are you seeing?" I was taken aback! It was simple, friendly conversation with no pretense, no preamble, no other reason for us to connect than that were were both standing there, waiting to see a show. It was just normal to the Missoulian, and very not normal to this former Seattleite. Ha!

    Any way, your story, Dale, reminds me of how friendly and happy folks out here seem to be. From gas station and fast food cashiers, to the random stranger on the street. With less rainfall and more sun than Seattle, perhaps there are less folks afflicted with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Who knows?!

     
    Dale Hodgins
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    After dropping the truck off on Vancouver Island, I went back to Ontario, to get the family, which consisted of my wife and daughter. My daughter was 5 and had no recollection of the small mountains she had seen in the Appalachians, when she was 2. Along the way, we stopped at the same Tasty Freeze in Chester.

    Later that day as we approached the mountains, I saw a mirage of a mountain, in an otherwise open plain. I stopped the car and showed it to Melissa. It was a very clear mirage, and difficult for her to understand that it wasn't really there. We sat and watched it, as wind and temperature made It fade away, so that the scenery behind was visible again. That's the first big mountain that my daughter ever saw. That's pretty cool, and it happened in Montana.
     
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    My Seattle to Montana story... and lookin for new direction. I grew up on 83rd and 5th, near northgate, spent most of my days in Ballard (as father worked in shipyard, and was a fisherman), and Lake City (went to Nathan Hale). ------> Fast forward to 1994, started working for Costco on 205th and Aurora. -----> Fast forward to 2012, now with 2 kids moved to Billings MT as a transfer to the costco there. Reasons were: Single dad of 2 kids, needed better environment then northgate area to raise kids. Now, Im looking for land, and to start my homestead/permie and hitting a brick wall in looking for a place. I would love to stay in Montana... It is a very awesome state. Missoula would be a great place.. as i could transfer there... But also Bozeman... I would love to come learn from Paul now that my house sold. -Ernie
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    More cool news!

    Study ranks Missoula second on list of “most fitness-friendly” places in U.S.




     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    More Missoula specific than Montana, but still rather cool to hear about.

    Federal statistics show drop in Missoula airfare as number of flights, carriers grow

    The article says the businesses and community groups teamed up to entice a new airline to service the airport, and bringing in that new competition lowered ticket prices by $40 on some flights and $130 on others.  

    The increasing number of travel options out of Missoula International Airport resulted in a net reduction in local ticket prices in 2018, saving Missoula passengers roughly $2.8 million, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.


    Good news, if you ask me!

     
    steward
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    No doubt!  I just bought my airfare for the PEP workshop and was astonished at the price.  I expected to have to drive to Minneapolis or Chicago and then have a two leg flight and pay $400-500 for the trip.  Instead I could fly out of my local little airport with one connection at MSP and it was only $300.  Woo hoo!!!
     
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    Two other cool things about Montana. My 1999 Gibson Southern jumbo and countless other Superior  acoustic guitars were made in Bozeman.

    The second thing, Martha Scanlan is from there and currently works as a ranch hand and resides on a ranch. Sorry for those of you that may not know,  but this is music stuff. Martha Scanlan is a very fine singer and songwriter and she was the creative driving force behind Real Time Travelers. If you are Montana and you don't know about Martha Scanlan check her out. She eats breathes and sleeps and sings about you're wonderful state, and horses! If I knew how to do YouTube attachments I would but I would say that E-Town Martha Scanlan performances and interviews are well worth the watch as she talks about being from Montana and moving away to my part of the country God's country East Tennessee, then being drawn back to Montana to work as a cowgirl ! Also check out Higher Rock from Spirit of Suwanee Fest of which I had the pleasure of discovering these guys. If this is the kind of stuff you're people are made of, I would love to see this place and would even consider it as a possible destination for my American freedom.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Terry Waller wrote:Two other cool things about Montana. My 1999 Gibson Southern jumbo and countless other Superior  acoustic guitars were made in Bozeman.

    The second thing, Martha Scanlan is from there and currently works as a ranch hand and resides on a ranch. Sorry for those of you that may not know,  but this is music stuff. Martha Scanlan is a very fine singer and songwriter and she was the creative driving force behind Real Time Travelers.


    I hear the music scene in Missoula is very good, and it seems big names come through all year long, so yes, I'd agree, Terry; and cool of you to mention it!

    There are a few other, random things I've been meaning to post about here.

    The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula was founded in honor of an extraordinary woman. From a brief bio here:

    Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, and a native of Missoula, Montana. She was elected in 1916, before women nationwide had the right to vote. In 1917 she joined a handful of representatives who voted against entry into World War I asserting, despite harsh criticism and certain damage to her career, that “the first time the first woman had a chance to say no against war she should say it.”

    In 1941 she bravely stood alone in Congress in voting against entry into World War II, but she did not stand alone in society in her opposition to institutional violence and war.


    No matter your politics, or whether you supported these wars, I think Rankin's breaking the gender barrier and commitment to her strong values are HUGELY commendable.

    Next, Montana is a farming and ranching state, with LOADS of support for farming and ranching. Here are a couple resources I thought worthy of adding to this thread.

    Farm Link Montana - "connecting Montana's beginning farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to succeed"

    Community Food & Agriculture Coalition - "building a vibrant future for Montana's farmlands, farmers, and food system"

    Montana Cottage Food - the state regulations on "cottage food" which allows home kitchen foods to be sold directly to consumers at farmers markets and such

     
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