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Your nearest neighbor might just be an elk, deer or antelope instead of a human when you live in Montana. All of those mammals outnumber the residents in the Treasure State. Even if your next-door neighbor walks on two feet, you may not be able to see their house from yours because 46 out of 56 counties in Montana average six or fewer people per square mile.
If you’re looking for solitary time and raw beauty, Montana has you covered. Changes in the landscape are marked by four distinct seasons. From the rich colors of fall to the sunny days of summer, you’ll witness spectacular canvases of nature.
Exploring the countryside can easily take you to one of the national parks with acreage inside this state. Although most of the park extends through Wyoming, Yellowstone also stretches into Montana where the only entrance open year round is the town of Gardiner. Located in this state’s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park measures over 1,583 square miles. Outdoor enthusiasts head there to investigate the 700+ miles of hiking and biking trails, the mountains, glistening lakes and its fishing and hunting destinations. Even the soft adventure lover has a host of choices to keep them busy including nature photography, plein air painting, golf and visiting the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. The Center acts as a sanctuary for wild animals that are orphaned or too comfortable with humans and allows visitors to watch bears play with each other and hear wolves howl.
Most of these activities won’t dent your bank account because the cost of living here runs close to 6 percent below the national average. Property taxes are fairly low, so owning a home or a vehicle or both comes in cheaper than owning those same assets in California or New York. Statistics also say the average commute takes less time than the national average.
Maybe many of those commutes take place from a house to a farm or ranch on the same property because agriculture makes up more than 2.4 billion dollars of the state’s economy every year. Wheat and sugar beet farming and cattle ranching are a few of the main industries in the Treasure State as is the mining of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, coal and oil. Lumber and tourism make up some of the additional ways to make a living.
Other major employment sectors include government (county and city) and healthcare. Because of the vast number of parks and resorts, Montana also has a great deal of seasonal jobs available in both summer and winter.
Those cold months get very cold, at least in the eastern half of the state. Marked by the Continental Divide, which means harsher weather, the eastern region has colder winters than the west, but also endures less humidity and more sunny days. In the west the winters boast higher temperatures, cooler summers, and even rainfall throughout the year.
Don’t forget to look out for tasty elk burgers and delicious bison meatballs on restaurant menus.
By: Michael Danzig