Few periods of American history have been as gloriously and romantically depicted as the era of the development of the West. Painters such as Montanan C.M. Russell immortalized scenes of life from that time. Early settlers left their descriptions in journals for future generations. Today, movies and television attempt to give audiences a sense of life in the Old West. It is not difficult to find places in Montana that time seems to have forgotten. Ghost towns from the periods of fur, land and gold rushes haunt the Montana plains.
An imaginative traveler can envision vast herds of buffalo or cattle roaming the still, empty stretches of gently rolling hills. Throughout the state are awesome, jagged mountains, rising out of the otherwise flat landscape against the backdrop of the Big Sky.
Thousands of lakes and reservoirs dot the land. They range in size from glacial potholes to the nearly 30-mile-long Flathead Lake. The Missouri, Yellowstone and Madison are but a few of the rivers meandering through the state. For trappers and early settlers, the rivers were a much needed means of transportation.
Many of the rivers, lakes and streams have changed little since man first saw them. There are areas preserved by law — primitive land where roads will never be built and the wild beauty of the scenery remain unblemished.
Montana is known as the Treasure State. Part of that stems from the rich, scenic beauty. Also, the state’s mines contain gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc.
One of the Treasure State’s greatest prizes is its wildlife. From the eastern prairies and badlands to the rugged mountains of western Montana, this wealth is intended for the enjoyment of all.
Big game populations include moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, big horn sheep, grizzly and black bears, and wolves. Fur-bearing animals include beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, marten, fisher, wolverine, bobcat, swift fox and lynx. Other animals, including coyotes, mountain lions, weasels, skunks, raccoons, red foxes and porcupines, also call Montana home. Game birds found in the state include waterfowl, sandhill crane, mourning dove, snipe, turkey, partridge, ring-necked pheasant, and sage and sharp-tailed grouse.
Montana’s streams and lakes sport such game fish as trout, salmon, arctic grayling, whitefish, pike, bass, paddlefish, sturgeon, perch, catfish and more.
For information on fishing, hunting and trapping regulations, visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website at http://fwp.mt.gov.