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Montana Colleges

Montana Colleges


Montana is the nation’s fourth largest state in area, yet it remains among those few that are so sparsely populated as to have two United States Senators and one Congressman.  The eastern portion of the state is part of the Great Plains, planted with wheat and barley, the higher elevations serving as pastureland for the cattle ranches.  The western portion of the state is dominated by mountains and glacial lakes.  The Bitterroot Range is dominant in the area – part of the Rocky Mountains, a range of snow capped peaks and forestland. 


The state’s original economic contribution to the nation was its mining products.  The mountainous region produced large amounts of copper, particularly from large mines around the city of Butte.  Other ores that the state has produced are silver, gold, platinum, zinc, lead, and manganese.  On the eastern plains the state has mined coal from some of the largest open pit mines in the world.


Agriculture remains the state’s leading economic contributor, although periodic droughts and fluctuating cattle prices have driven many of the smaller operators out of business.  The eastern plains of Montana have their share of ghost towns, once agricultural hamlets.


The beauty of the place, the rugged country and the emptiness draw sportsmen and summer tourists to Montana.   Dude ranches and similar resorts have become significant employers and contributors to the economy.  The state produces some oil and refined petroleum products are among its leading exports.


When the railroads reached Montana and some hydroelectric development provided irrigation resources, the years of the open range passed and agriculture became a more organized affair.  A gradual trend toward a more diversified economy has seen manufacturing grow in importance; tourism is also on the rise. Coal exploitation increased dramatically in the 1970s, combining with oil drilling to offset the decline in metals mining.  In 1997 legislation was passed that aimed to attract foreign money by making the state an offshore banking haven.


The state has made valiant attempts to stabilize its traditional enterprises and introduce new ones.  It has always struggled with an undersized workforce and harsh annual weather patterns that have made it difficult to entice modern industrial development.


With all of the economic realities that make development in Montana an uphill climb, it is still one of the most ruggedly beautiful states in the Union.  It is one place where you will not be frustrated by traffic jams or disappointed at the site of mega-housing tracts marching off into the horizon. 


The public education facilities are sparse, just as the population.  The University of Montana is in Bozeman and has satellite facilities in other areas.  Montana is one of those states that one must be drawn to by its environment and then, perhaps, decide where a career might lie.  Search the online sites for companies in need; see if there is a way to find employment there in the land of the Yellowstone River.  Then seek out the online education you need to turn yourself into a Montana entrepreneur.  If you have a startup opportunity the state would probably turn itself inside out to accommodate your company.  The state office of development is in the capitol, Helena.

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