Montana PinesThe forests of Montana hold over twenty-two million acres within the state. Within these areas are the greatest varieties of trees. Trees can be classified as hard woods as well as soft woods, each serving their own purpose to the lands.

The Ponderosa Pine is the state tree of Montana, separating the grasslands from the forests.  Residents and visitors to the state may also see the Lodgepole Pine, Western White Pine, Whitebarked Pine, and the Limber Pine.

The Ponderosa Pines are important for lumber and they are sometimes referred to as black jacks, bull pines, or even yellow pines. The colors of the tree may differ depending on the age of the tree. The bark color can range from dark, brown, orange, or yellow.

Western White Pines are also seen in the northwest parts of the state of MT. They are also important to commercial use when softer wood is needed. The colors of the tree bark are usually in gray tones, dark as well as light again depending on age.

Whitebarked Pines are important to MT wildlife since they hold edible seeds. These trees are seen in areas of rocked soil as well as in higher elevations. Limber Pines are usually seen within the western parts of MT and they hold very little commercial values. Many times, these are seen in the ridges of mountains and foothills of the state.

On your next visit to Montana, take some time to view the MT Pines and enjoy the observation they provide. Pines are important to the history and existence of the state. Some are commercially useful, while others provide for MT wildlife.

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Rex Brown – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Montana ButterflyMontana Butterflies are only one thing which brings beauty and interest to the state. They are typically seen in different colors and there are many different species. MT butterflies can range from very small to as big as twelve inches in size.

There are a variety of butterflies which can taste with their feet. This allows them to know whether they are on a leaf or vegetation which is conducive to the laying of eggs. Within Montana, individuals have the opportunity to see a variety of Admirals, Longwings, True Brushfoots, and Swallowtails to name a few.

Plants and trees in the Montana lands are preferred hosting to many of the butterflies found in MT. A few of the hosting plants can include: clovers, deerweed, hollyhock, sycamore, sunflowers, milkweed, thistle, as well as others. Depending on the feeding habits of the particular butterfly, the best plants of choice can change.

For those visiting the state of Montana, learning about some of the common butterflies is a great way to enjoy their beauty and interesting qualities. Each species will differ in size as well as color. They will reside in different habitats and also be seen in flight at certain times of the year.

Have you visited Montana and enjoyed seeing butterflies in flight? Where did you see them during your visit to MT? Please let us know about your experience on the Big Sky Blog!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Christopher Eliot – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Montana DeerThe deer populations in Southeast Montana are on the rise again. Mule deer as well as white tailed deer are the most common within the state. Both species are generally adaptive to their surrounding environment. The two deer populations also are seen around other wild mammals and livestock across the state.

Effective methods of monitoring the deer populations are put into place. The first step within the monitoring process is to truly understand the animal’s behavior along with studying their biological needs. The state of Montana has long took an interest in continued research surrounding the deer’s life cycle, habitats, and other factors affecting populations.

Recent changes to land usage and regulations in hunting have allowed for the populations of the white-tail and mule deer to increase. Other factors affecting population numbers include lessened fawn mortality, increased survival rates, as well as increased production rates.

Deer management teams through the local authorities and regulating agencies have worked together to manage the area of timber ranges for winter seasons, as well as control where developments take place. Managing roadways on private and public lands is also part of the management process as well as enhancing the areas of deer population.

Overall, Montana is making progress is helping to increase the deer populations which have been down over the last few years. Research studies have been put into place to find the best methods to enhance and manage MT deer populations bringing more optimum results naturally.

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to LukeDetwiler – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Montana WildflowersWildflowers are numerous in Montana during their seasons. Over 160 different wildflowers are listed in the US Wildflower Database for the state. A few of the varieties include the Creeping Barberry, Broadleaf Arrowhead, Deerhorn Clarkia, Italian Clover, Orange Daylily, and the Glacier Lily.

The wildflowers are native to the country and provide many different benefits. The flowers are vibrant and many are unusual in nature. Many wildflowers hold medicinal properties which have been utilized for many centuries.

Montana wildflowers provide balance and health to the existing eco-system. They attract the right insects which are needed in the area. While the insects make their home in the MT lands, they help fertilize crops grown which becomes produce for many to eat.

Some of the animals in the wildlife cycle actually feed on the insects which make their abode in MT as well as other states. For many, the beauty of seeing and learning about the states wildflowers bring a hobby of its own. Wildflower photography brings much delight to those who enjoy the sport.

Have you enjoyed seeing the wildflowers in MT? Do you also enjoy taking the time to photograph them during your visits to Montana? We would love to hear your thoughts on the Big Sky Blog!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Nomadic Lass – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Rising Wolf MountainThe Rising Wolf Mountain is located in the Lewis Range. Visitors to Glacier National Park see the beauty of this mountain very near sacred ground. The Blackfeet consider the Two Medicine area of the park near the mountain as their sacred territory. The mountain received its name with the meaning of “The Way the Wolf Gets Up.”

A man known as Rising Wolf who lived among the Piikani Nation is also known by his real name, Hugh Monroe. His specialty many years ago was fur trading. For a time, Monroe lived among the Indians and was known to them as the Rising Wolf. After his passing, a close friend of his named the peak of the mountain after him, in his honor.

The Piikani Nation is known as the first Indian band in the area to vote in elections. They were also the first to allow the use of liquor on Indian reservations. This nation was also noted as being the first one to actually take on administration of their reserve. The Piikani Nation is also given credit for being the first band to hold the Indian Day Celebrations.

Rising Wolf Mountain provides a popular view for many who visit the Glacier National Park area. Hikers also enjoy the challenge of the 4500 foot elevation. While hiking the mountains, many speak of the spectacular views from every direction!

Have you seen Rising Wolf Mountain? Did you do a historical drive through the area, or did you hike the mountains during your visit to Montana? We would love to hear about your experience on the Big Sky Blog!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Loco Steve – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

The Smith Mine MontanaThe Smith Coal Mine, located between Washoe and Bearcreek, brings many memories to folks in Montana. Visitors to the area also learn of the significance of the mine. Mining began in the valleys of Bearcreek and Washoe during the late 1880s.

Coal from the mines were carried by horses to the Red Lodge and placed on railcars. During the early 1900s, the Bearcreek Line was adding to the railroad which allowed for increased production as well as more people residing in the area. The population exploded and mining continued until early in 1943.

Seventy-seven miners were hard at work during one day in February. Then, an explosion occurred killing 74 out of the 77 miners on duty that day. Historically, this mining disaster is the worst known to the state of Montana. Unfortunately, coal mining from that area would never regain its strength and vigor.

Many tourists come to see what is left of the Smith Coal Mine. They learn of the history of the coal mining exploding industry along with the disaster which took the lives of those dedicated to coal mining life.

Many attractions exist in the Historic Carbon County, Montana. Along with the Smith Coal Mine, tourists will see the Railroad Depots, Beartooth Highway, the Joliet Bank, old town sites, and more. Early on the area was more resourceful than any other place nearby; many people lived in the area unknowing to what would occur one day in February 1943. History would be forever changed.

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to m01229 – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Going to the Sun RoadGoing To The Sun Road in Montana is a favorite drive for many tourists. Portions of the road stay open all year long and give access to different locations along the way. The road is a favorite for many visitors to the area.

The entire length of Going To The Sun Road is fifty miles. If traveling by vehicle with no stops, the venture can be easily accomplished in under two hours. Many stops are available along the way to view the mountains and overlooks. One overlook includes the Jackson Glacier Overlook which allows visitors to see glaciers from the area.

The full length of Going To The Sun Road is usually open in June for travel. During the month of September, a section of the road will be closed (between Logan Pass and St. Mary Campground). Later in the month of October, the section of road will close from the West Entrance to Logan Pass followed by closure of the alpine section. Other travel options are available for tourists including tour buses and shuttles when the road is closed to vehicles. Inclement weather is a factor as to the availability of these options.

For those interested in staying over on the road, five campgrounds are located along the Going To The Sun Road. They include Apgar, Avalance, St. Mary, Sprague Creek, and Rising Sun. Before planning your trip, be sure to check the status of each campground location.

Have you traveled Going To The Sun Road on your trip to Montana? What was your favorite part of the day trip? Please leave your comments and share with others on the Big Sky Blog!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Ken Lund – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Izaak Walton InnThe Izaak Walton Inn is located on the south border of Glacier National Park. The retreat offers a wonderful experience for the family near Essex, MT. The business is family owned and provides a unique Swiss Style stay for visitors. The history of the inn is closely tied to the Great Northern Railway as well as Glacier National Park.

The Izaak Walton Inn was built in the 1900s to provide a place to stay for those working with the railroad. The inn also provided a place to stay for tourists who were arriving for Glacier National Park. The business is known as “The Inn Between” due to its midpoint between the east and west Glacier.

Although the inn offers deep history, it is also a popular place for unique mountain get aways for newlyweds, couples, and families. Historical lodge rooms are available as well as cabins, caboose lodges, and even locomotive housings.

Amenities of staying at Izaak Walton Inn include cozy rooms, wonderful hospitality, laundry facilities, daily room service, and use of onsite saunas. Walking and hiking trails are available nearby as well as picnic areas.

Have you visited Izaak Walton Inn? What was the most unique part of history seen? Would you recommend the inn to others? Please leave your comments on Big Sky Blog! Share your experience with others!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Loco Steve – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Upper Whitefish Lake MontanaThe Upper Whitefish Lake is located in MT on the border of Whitefish. The area is delightful with mature forests nearby. Camping is available as well as fishing, swimming, boating, and other popular activities. The Upper Whitefish Lake is quiet and provides ideal conditions for a relaxing experience for the family.

Children and adults who have visited the Montana area enjoy the scenery and atmosphere. Picnicking is a family favorite as well as family waterskiing excursions. Shelters are available nearby with campgrounds, bathhouses, comfort stations, and other travel necessities.

While visiting Whitefish Lake State Park, visitors will enjoy ten acres of land full of adventures. Nearby, access is available for ski resorts, biking trails, hiking opportunities, as well as other popular recreational activities.

Amenities at the state park include boat launches, fire rings, showers, and sufficient parking. Pets are allowed for those interested. The site is also ADA accessible while the location offers twenty-five camp sites along with RV camping.

Directions to Upper Whitefish Lake: The Whitefish Lake State Park is located one mile west of Whitefish. Travel on U.S. 93 to Whitefish, then travel one mile north. The area is a must see for families as well as individuals looking at MT destinations.

Will Upper Whitefish Lake and State Park be your next MT destination? Or, have you been to this Montana location in the past? Did you find the area relaxing and a wonderful experience? We would love to hear your comments here on the Big Sky Blog!

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to Ryan McKee – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.

Scottish Highland Cattle MontanaMontana’s number one industry is livestock along with agriculture. The state of Montana holds approximately three head of beef cattle for each resident. Montana’s large cattle industry places the state sixth in the United States.

Montana holds not only beef cattle, but also over eighteen thousand dairy cattle which provide supply for milk and milk products. Ranching is big business in MT and it offers much to the state’s economy, as well as provides products and services to other states.

One hardy breed of cattle seen in MT is the Scottish Highlands. This variety of cattle live well in colder weather and are more resistant in nature. The Scottish Highlands also graze and eat plants many other cattle do not. They also endure colder winters common within the state of Montana.

The Highlands are also known to have a long history with humans. They are easy to work with and the mothers are highly devoted to their young. This breed typically produce smaller calves which also decreases common calving difficulties.

Scottish Highlands provide an outstanding quality of meat. The meat is usually much leaner than other beef cattle. The cattle process for these animals is less costly and takes decreased effort to take care of. They are found on smaller ranching operations as well as larger commercial ranches.

Montana continues to thrive economically through cattle ranching and agricultural pursuits. Cattle ranching and production is typically half of the state’s number one revenue provision. MT ranchers and cattlemen work with dedication in providing for the communities.

Photo Information: This photo is provided by and given credit to CarleyLesser and Art Drauglis – on Flickr.com with permission via Creative Commons Licensing.


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