Wednesday, Jul. 24th, 2019

Where Rivers Run

Living in this beautiful town, we may not always realize how truly fortunate we are to have as much access to the rivers as we do in and around the Gallatin Valley and in such short distances. Around this time, as July comes to a close and August arrives, we ask ourselves the same question: Where did summer go? As much as I could dwell over the short summer remaining, I’d like to approach August with an open mind. Even with the harsh high temperatures, fire-inducing wind, and ever increasing back-to-school advertisements in the newspaper, the fleeting days can still be enjoyed outside.

If you can relate to any of these feelings, I share this list with you in the hope you will share with others, and they will inevitably share their go-to August adventures with you. We Montanans didn’t endure eight months of snow to succumb to an abbreviated version of our beloved summer. June is fleeting and often wet and gloomy, July is booming, and August is all the sweeter, knowing what is sure to follow. So, in a short salute to August in Montana, be sure to partake in every last best thing what’s left of the summer has to offer.

Seeking relief from the heat, most of us run to the nearest body of water. Rivers abound within a short drive from Main Street. For professional or amateur fishing, floating, rafting, kayaking, or just simply jumping in for a swim to relieve the heat of the day, I recommend the following:

Gallatin River ~ 16.1 miles from Bozeman
With a wide-ranging variety of water to experience, the scenery and serenity on the Gallatin is hard to beat. Thanks to the increasing number of pullouts on the side of the highway, fishing along the uppermost section requires as little as pulling off the road and walking down to the river. Whitewater rafting is popular in the wild currents near Big Sky. Below the Gallatin Canyon, there are many access points to wade and cast lines. Best fishing recommended is around mid-to late summer, but fish can be caught on any given day of the year on the Gallatin.

Madison River ~ 26.8 miles from Bozeman
A stretch of this river is known as “The Bikini Hatch” because of floating popularity from Warm Springs to Black’s Ford. This is a crowded section, so fishermen need to go early in the morning or further downstream from the Bikini Hatch into the lower Madison towards Three Forks. A boat can be helpful to cover the vast distance from one hole to the next.

Jefferson River ~ 51 miles from Bozeman
The Jefferson runs along state highways starting from Twin Bridges and to Whitehall, Willow Creek, then Three Forks. It flows through mainly private land, but there are eleven official access sites, seven with boat ramps. The gentle flows also make for a peaceful float, and the Williams Bridge is the ultimate ending of the float to do some bridge jumping. Even though it’s the shortest (83 miles) of the three tributaries that make up the Missouri, the Jefferson is big and wide with a slow and steady flow. It’s an ideal destination to cool off in these summer months.

Yellowstone River ~25.9 miles from Bozeman
The expansive landscape and big open water make the stretch of the Yellowstone from Livingston to Big Timber a favorite with guides and locals. The size and braided channels makes drift boating an unforgettable experience. It is very much known to be a fisherman’s paradise from early August until the cooler days of September, considered to be the most amped up time to fish the lower Yellowstone. Casting oversized grasshopper flies to rainbow and brown trout is about as good as it gets.

Firehole ~105.5 miles from Bozeman
You’ll find a local favorite swimming hole toward the end of Firehole Canyon Drive past West Yellowstone and through the park entrance. Beaches line the side of this stretch to lay out on. The water is warm and brilliantly blue, flowing through a deep canyon for a unique experience in swimming.

Boiling River ~ 75 miles from Bozeman
Located just 2.9 miles south of the north entrance to Yellowstone, you’ll find this must-stop spot where Mammoth Hot Spring enters the Gardiner River, making the hot and cool waters collide and create just the right temperature to soak in. This natural spring makes a great place to stop and relax in the daytime along the way (to or from) adventuring in the park. The only period of time the hotspot is closed is during the spring when the river rises and becomes dangerous, sometimes not even opening 'til mid-summer some years.  

People come from all over the world to fish Montana’s rivers. It can be intimidating at first for a beginner, but there’s no other feeling quite like hooking a fish on the end of a line and reeling in the first one. Fly-fishing is a purely recreational activity. The best rivers in Montana to fish are right in our surrounding area. Many of us find therapy and meaning through fishing. It is something we choose to get out and do. We are lucky we get to fly fish and have access to streams and other waterways. Whatever it is you decide to do, whether it’s fishing, boating, or floating, take advantage of every day on the water and live it up. Be kind to your fellow boaters, anglers and non-anglers alike, and kind to the environment.  

August brings the heat, but it is also the perfect time to wade in rivers and streams as the water recedes just enough after the long winter (and wet spring) we’ve had. Missouri Headwaters State Park encompasses the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. The geography, history and natural beauty of the confluence is an ideal August destination. Weather can often be unpredictable and change fast, so pack some snacks, water, rain jacket and water shoes, and venture out. No doubt it will feel great to say you’ve seen these places and done these fun things before summer comes to a bittersweet end.

“They say you forget your troubles on a stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re not such a big deal anymore.” –John Gierach

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The Quick Getaways Montana has to Offer this Summer

Summer brings sunshine, warmer weather, and the opportunities to get out and explore. Many choose to leave the state and visit islands, other continents, or big cities. Summer vacations give us the chance to escape our normal, everyday lives to go see something new. Nevertheless, with so many adventures and activities right here in Bozeman, it’s hard to justify going anywhere else. But, sometimes it can be nice to get away from the everyday scenery and try something new. There are so many incredible places for families, friends, and even oneself to go and see. It may be hard to get up and leave, or take off work, so I decided to compile a list with places to visit this summer which may not break the bank or cause too harsh of a conversation with the boss. Since these places are still in Montana, these trips can even be done in a day! But, they still offer fun, relaxation, and the chance to do something a bit different. So, take a look and see if anything sparks an interest.

The Berkeley Pit

Located in Butte, which is about an hour and a half drive from Bozeman, the Berkeley Pit is a former copper mine turned into a huge hole filled with acidic water. Though you can’t take a dive into the pit, it does offer some incredible views and a fun afternoon in the Mining Museum attached to the pit. It gives the history of the mining that took place in the copper mines and explains why the water is so contaminated now. It is quite the story. If you’re looking for a cool story and a unique picture, the Berkeley Pit is the place to go for a quick afternoon adventure!

Montana Folk Festival & An Rí Rá Montana Irish Festival 

A perfect quick getaway for a day over the weekend! August 9-11, 2019, the An Rí Rá Montana Irish Festival will take place in Butte. The festival offers food, FREE admission, and the chance to appreciate Irish heritage from across the country. So, grab your lawn chair and get out to enjoy some sun and Irish dances!

Helena offers so many activities and events for those looking for a way to spend an empty day on the calendar. With the state capitol, multiple museums, churches, parks, ranches, and plenty of other places, Helena gives a range of opportunities depending on the interests of the crew. For families, the national parks and museums offer fun places to get outside or learn. The popular attraction, Gates of the Mountains, is a park located on the Missouri River just outside of Helena, and the views offered are spectacular. The lake view against the giant rock formations make for a great summer day spent soaking, eating, and relaxing. But if you’re looking for something in town, Helena’s capitol makes for a fun experience for the family. The building is beautiful and archaic, and the tours make for a great afternoon of learning and fun. Who wouldn’t want to visit the capitol of the Treasure State? There are so many restaurants, pretty sights, and places to explore in Helena, which makes it a great destination spot for a quick weekend vacation!

Hot Springs

If you find yourself stressed with work or summer classes, I highly suggest visiting one of the remote hot springs near Bozeman for a quick soak and a great moment of relaxation. There are two well-known and respected hot springs that are a quick drive from Bozeman: Norris Hot Springs and Chico Hot Springs.

Norris Hot Springs, located in the Madison River Valley, is about a forty-minute drive from Bozeman, making it a great evening trip. The drive is also beautiful. Admission to soak is $8 for adults, $5 for those over 64 years, and $3 for those kiddos under 12 years. They also have live music for $2 extra during the weekends!

Chico Hot Springs, attached to a resort, is roughly an hour drive from Bozeman. This hot spring is a hot attraction for those living in or visiting Montana. The day admission for the hot springs is $8.50 for adults, $3.50 for seniors 65+, and $3.50 for kids ages 3-6. If you decide to stay at the resort, the admission is included with your stay. 


Big Timber
The Natural Bridge in Big Timber is the perfect stop for a great hike and beautiful Montana scenery! The Boulder River flows through the rocks and landscape to come out on the side of the falls creating quite the sight. It is just one of nature’s many wonders that Montana is lucky enough to exhibit for us. Plus, the forest service created a bridge to get hikers and tourists from one side of the river to the other. So, take a day to get outside and enjoy the picnic areas near the river for a quick day activity.


White Sulphur Springs Hotel and Hot Springs
Located in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, Spa Hot Springs and Motel offer a relaxing getaway for those looking for a weekend trip. With a drive at roughly an hour and a half, this makes the perfect spot for a vacation that doesn’t require tons of planning or thought. If you’re looking to get a weekend to yourself, your partner, or your whole family, White Sulphur Springs provides the perfect spot for entertainment, relaxation, and happiness. 


Moonlight Music Festival
Moonlight Music Festival, located in Big Sky, is a great chance to listen to a variety music and get away for a few days with the family! With lots of live performances, opportunities to pitch a tent, and great food, this music festival certainly brings the heart and spirit of Montana to life in music! The Moonlight Music Festival will be happening August 16-17, 2019, and I hope you get a chance to go enjoy it!


Clearly, there are a lot of opportunities to get out of the normal routine and see a different part of Montana for very little cost and time. This list isn’t everything happening in Montana, so definitely keep your eyes out for other fun activities and places. With the sunshine comes the drive to get out and relax, so if you’re really looking for something to do with your family, significant other, or even by yourself, hopefully this list has sparked some interest. After this past winter, I think the need for a quick vacay or trip is necessary. So, let’s get out and see what Montana has to offer this summer!

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Monday, Jul. 22nd, 2019

Bridge at Cobblestone Fishing Access Site on Madison River to be replaced

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is preparing to build a new bridge at the Cobblestone Fishing Access Site on the Madison River, about 10 miles south of Three Forks. The new construction will replace the current foot bridge over Darlington Ditch.

Construction is scheduled to begin Aug. 5 and expected to last about two weeks. Users of the site will need to wade the ditch to access the Madison River and beware of heavy equipment in the area from Aug. 5-6. The site may also be closed for a short time while the cattle guard at the entrance to the site is cleaned out. 

This project is funded through cooperative efforts between the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Northwestern Energy and FWP.

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Friday, Jul. 19th, 2019

Big Sky Community Organization announces groundbreaking event 
after raising $19 million

BIG SKY, Mont. (July 19, 2019) – Today the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO) announced several major achievements in its “ALL IN. BIG SKY” campaign to create a multi-use community center and parkland—culminating in a groundbreaking for the project on Saturday, July 27, 2019, at 11 a.m. Groundbreaking festivities will take place at the future site in the Big Sky Town Center on the corner of Aspen Drive and Simkins Drive.

To date, BSCO has raised $19 million in less than nine months, including a recent, generous donation of $4 million from Jill and Nick Woodman—full-time Big Sky residents and the founders of GoPro who are raising their family here.

“We feel so lucky to call Big Sky home and contribute to the community-wide effort to make this center possible. Our mountain is awesome, but it’s the people of Big Sky that make this such a magical place. Having a gathering place will only make our community stronger and we’re beyond grateful to be a part of this amazing effort the Big Sky Community Organization has organized. We can’t wait for the doors to open!” says Nick Woodman.

BSCO has been encouraging everyone in Big Sky to get involved in the community space’s creation—whether through fundraising, showing up to support the cause, or simply spreading awareness. “Every gift counts,” states Ciara Wolfe, BSCO, Chief Executive Officer. “This campaign represents how Big Sky has evolved from a sometimes desolate and seasonal resort destination to a thriving community of thousands of committed, year-round residents and compassionate part-time residents, all of whom truly love this place and its people.” In addition to the Woodman’s gift, BSCO received four other charitable gifts of at least $1 million each and a $1.5 million grant of public funds from the Big Sky Resort Area Tax District, along with hundreds of other gifts of all sizes to get to this point.  

In recognition of the Woodman’s gift, the building will be named BASE. The name represents opportunities for every individual in Big Sky to lead a healthy, happy, engaged lifestyle, building the base of the community, and also describes the experiences that people will have at the BASE: Big Adventures, Safe Environment.

For more information about the community groundbreaking ceremony, to make a donation, or to learn more about the new BASE center, visit

About The Big Sky Community Organization
For more than 20 years, the Big Sky Community Organization has been striving to serve Big Sky by creating exceptional facilities, trails, public spaces and experiences through community collaborations and recreational opportunities. Its mission—to engage and lead people to recreational and enrichment opportunities through thoughtful development of partnerships, programs and places—has come to fruition through multiple successful initiatives including: Ousel Falls Open Space Park & Trailhead, Big Sky Community Park, RT & Ralph’s Beehive Preserve, expansive community trail system, Camp Big Sky and more. All of these projects started as ideas, realized through community leadership, collaboration and philanthropy. To learn more about the Big Sky Community Organization, visit

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Monday, Jul. 15th, 2019

Erik Grumstrup wins prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Erik Grumstrup’s research focuses on the smallest of particles yet has the potential to make a big impact on the technologies we use every day, from computers to solar cells.

That potential was awarded last week when Grumstrup, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University, earned a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor the U.S. government gives to independent researchers near the beginning of their careers.

“It was really a surprise, honestly,” Grumstrup said.

According to a release from the White House, PECASE winners “show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.” The award draws from recipients of early career awards through 10 government agencies, in this case the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nicol Rae, dean of the College of Letters and Science said the award is “wonderful recognition” for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Materials Science Graduate Program at MSU.
“Eric is one of MSU’s outstanding junior scientists, and I am very proud of his achievement in securing the highly prestigious PECASE award,” Rae said.

The PECASE honors those who are doing more than conducting innovative research. Awardees must also have a commitment to outreach, education and leadership within their community.

“This PECASE award is a well-deserved recognition of an extraordinary young faculty member,” said chemistry and biochemistry department head Joan Broderick. “Erik's research is characterized by creativity, combined with an unusual breadth of understanding across the fields of chemistry, physics and materials science. He is also an outstanding and inspiring mentor to the research students working in his lab.”

Grumstrup considers his path to be one paved by a host of mentors, including a high school chemistry teacher who sparked his interest in the science and an undergraduate professor who pushed him to consider graduate school and research to continue his education.

“It’s exciting to be that person for young people as well,” he said.

Grumstrup has been at MSU since 2014, when he was the first person hired for the Materials Science Graduate Program, a collaboration with Montana Tech and the University of Montana that spans the fields of chemistry, physics and engineering. His lab now houses more than 10 researchers ranging from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level who study materials based on the way electrons move through them.

“We are doing what I really believe is world-class research,” Grumstrup said. “I think this reward reflects the capabilities of our students.”

Technology, Grumstrup said, is governed by physical laws. He recalls the “systematic march” of computer processor speeds in the 1990s and early 2000s, with each new model drastically faster than the one before. Today, those speeds have all but topped out near 3 GHz due to fundamental limitations of the materials used, Grumstrup explained.

“What really compels me to go forward is trying to push that boundary back a little bit,” Grumstrup said. “If we understand properties that exist in the universe and discover how to use these properties to our advantage, there are infinite possibilities.”  

Material defects hinder the movement of electrons and thus prevent technologies from reaching higher levels of efficiency. The Grumstrup Research Group looks at the movement of these microscopic particles within substances to understand these defects in materials at the very basic level in hopes of finding a way to remove obstacles from the electrons’ paths.

To conduct the research, Grumstrup works in tiny increments of time. Lasers to test electron movement pulse in picoseconds — trillionths of a second — and femtoseconds — which are a thousand times smaller yet. There are more femtoseconds in one hour than there are seconds in the entire 13.7-billion-year history of the universe. The lasers are fast enough to capture slight changes in color as electrons absorb and use energy.  

"We’re making significant contributions toward understanding, particularly in next generation solar materials,” Grumstrup said.

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Friday, Jul. 12th, 2019

Summer Hunter Education courses offered throughout southwest Montana

Hunter and Bowhunter Education courses have been scheduled in several locations throughout southwestern Montana this summer. Registration has opened for many of those courses. 

Students can find the course closest to them and register online at

Students may be required to pick up materials and complete the course manual before the first day of class. Dates, locations and specific instructions for each class, as well as contact information for the instructors, are available in the event description online.  

A student must be at least 10 years old to register for Montana Hunter Education courses. Students ages 10-11 can take the course and hunt as an apprentice but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12. There is no maximum age limit. Students must attend all classroom sessions, the field course and pass a final exam. Anyone age 18 or older can complete an online course but must still attend a field course to become certified. 

To purchase a Montana hunting license, any person born after Jan. 1, 1985, must provide proof of having successfully completed a hunter and/or bowhunter education course issued by Montana, any other state or any Canadian province.

Hunter and bowhunter education courses are led by volunteer instructors who are passionate about preserving Montana’s hunting tradition, teaching firearm safety and other outdoor skills. Instructors are needed in communities across southwest Montana. If you are interested in mentoring new hunters, please contact Morgan Jacobsen, Region 3 information and education program manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, at 406-994-6931 or visit for more information. 

The following courses have been scheduled, but additional courses may be posted later this year.

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Faces of the Continental Divide: Sharing Stories, Connecting Communities

This summer, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) will partner with recreation, conservation, and community organizations and the diverse communities along the Continental Divide to invite people to connect with their public lands through a series of events and storytelling: Faces of the Continental Divide: Sharing Stories, Connecting Communities

Beginning on July 13, at the start of Latino Conservation Week, and ending on National Public Lands Day on September 28, Faces of the Continental Divide will highlight the diverse communities along the Continental Divide engaged in outdoor recreation and conservation and celebrate their relationships with public lands.“Too often we only see one image of who participates in outdoor recreation,” said Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. “That image simply doesn’t reflect the diverse communities who value the landscapes of the Rocky Mountain West. It’s time to share a more complete picture of who cares for and loves our natural places.”  

Throughout the summer, the CDTC will engage with local groups along the length of the Continental Divide from New Mexico to Montana to underscore the importance of providing access to the outdoors for all people. Joining forces with organizations already working to change the face of public lands, such as Denver Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), Big City Mountaineers, Hispanic Access Foundation, and Latino Outdoors, CDTC aims to inspire new people to explore the Continental Divide, as well as to amplify the often untold stories of communities who value and steward its lands. From day hikes and overnight backpacking trips to an outdoor poetry workshop, Faces of the Continental Divide events are as varied as the landscapes they span.  

Many Faces of the Continental Divide events are open to the public and free of charge. CDTC is offering resources to help plan and publicize events for groups interested in organizing an event, and financial assistance to support transportation and meals is made possible with support from the Hydro Flask Parks for All Charitable Giving Program and REI Co-op. Gear loans are also available thanks to in-kind donations from Osprey. 

As part of these efforts, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition will also spend the summer collecting and sharing stories of participants’ connections to the landscapes of the Rocky Mountain West. The stories will be catalogued and showcased on the CDTC’s website and communications and will provide a more comprehensive perception of how people in the Rocky Mountain West connect to landscapes, the Trail, and conservation as a whole. 

In Las Cruces, N.M., the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Latino Outdoors, and Hispanic Access Foundation will team up to raft the Rio Bravo as part of this effort. 

“The history of the Rio Bravo in southern New Mexico is deeply tied to our cultural and traditional uses of the river, from Indigenous to Mexican American communities today. Floating the Rio Bravo allows us to explore that culture, history, and tradition, and to encourage new stewards of our water and natural resources here in the Chihuahuan Desert,” said Gabe Vasquez, founder of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project.

By encouraging communities to connect with their own story of conservation, Faces of the Continental Divide will show that although some communities are absent from the current narrative, they are conservationists nonetheless.  

“Outdoor recreation and conservation have typically been white-dominated spaces in spite of the changing face of America. But the reality is that it will take urban and underserved communities and people of color to lead this fight into the future if we want to protect the land, water, and natural resources that we all collectively use and cherish,” Vasquez said.

Faces of the Continental Divide was made possible by a grant award from Hydro Flask’s Parks for All program and donations from REI Co-Op. Events will take place from July 13 to September 28, 2019. View a map of events, sign up to host your own event, or tell your story at 

About the Continental Divide Trail
The CDT is one of the world’s premiere long-distance trails, stretching 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Continental Divide. Designated by Congress in 1978, the CDT is the highest, most challenging and most remote of the 11 National Scenic Trails. It provides recreational opportunities ranging from hiking to horseback riding to hunting for thousands of visitors each year. While 95% of the CDT is located on public land, approximately 150 miles are still in need of protection. 

About the Continental Divide Trail Coalition
The CDTC was founded in 2012 by volunteers and recreationists hoping to provide a unified voice for the Trail. Working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies, the CDTC is a non-profit partner supporting stewardship of the CDT. The mission of the CDTC is to complete, promote and protect the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, a world-class national resource. For more information, please visit

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Black bear euthanized due to multiple conflicts in Bozeman

A black bear was humanely euthanized this week after multiple conflicts with humans and livestock in Bozeman.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks was first notified of the two-year-old male bear on June 28 when it was seen at a Bozeman residence in the middle of the day. Additional reports followed on July 2 when the bear was seen in other residential areas along Bridger Drive and Hillside Lane.
On July 5, a homeowner found the bear in a pen with goats and chickens, chasing the animals. Montana law allows property owners to kill predators found in the act of pursuing livestock. The homeowner shot at the bear, and the bear left.
During the day on July 9, the bear visited a residence in the Story Hills area, where it was on a deck and at the back door of the house. Residents there attempted to chase it off and deter it with rubber slugs, but the bear did not leave.
FWP biologists set traps and made repeated attempts to capture the bear as its presence was reported. Photos, videos and descriptions from witnesses indicate the same bear was involved in each incident.
Additional reports came on July 11 as the bear was seen on Haggerty Lane and, later, following a woman who was walking two dogs in Lindley Park. The bear was eventually darted and captured that day along Bozeman Creek, with help from the Bozeman Police Department and Animal Control Officers.
FWP’s bear management policies guide the agency’s actions in dealing with captured bears. In this case, the bear was clearly habituated to receiving food rewards in urban areas and being undeterred by humans, posing risks to property and public safety. Based on these factors, FWP decided to euthanize this bear humanely.

“This is a sad news story with an all-too-common sad ending,” said Mark Deleray, FWP’s Regional Supervisor in Bozeman. “At Fish, Wildlife and Parks, we manage for wildlife—the key word being wild. Unfortunately, this bear was habituated, received food rewards, attacked livestock and showed no fear of humans. In these cases, we have no choice but to remove the bear.”

Bear captures in urban areas are not uncommon in southwest Montana. So far this year, FWP has captured five bears in Gallatin County. Most of those bears were relocated. While the circumstances of any bear capture can vary, food rewards from humans are a common factor in most bear captures. The bear captured this week, for example, frequented homes with bird feeders.

“Our goal is to keep wildlife in the wild,” Deleray said. “In today’s world it is getting harder to do so as our urban interface with wildlife expands. It is very difficult to control wild animal behavior, but we have a better chance of modifying human behavior to reduce conflicts with wildlife.”
State statute prohibits people from intentionally feeding wildlife, and doing so is a citable offense. Bears habituated to unsecured food sources from humans can pose repeated threats to human safety and property throughout communities.
Residents can help eliminate the need to relocate or destroy bears by securing feed, garbage and other attractants. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee has compiled resources for reducing conflicts with bears, both in the wild and in urban areas. To learn more, please visit

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Thursday, Jul. 11th, 2019

Why Montana May Be A Budding Travel Hotspot

Many people traveling to the U.S. dismiss Montana as a potential tourism destination. However, trends in tourism come and go, and this state has some unique opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere, so it certainly should not be forgotten. And given some of the attractions listed below - some established, some new, and some just waiting to be noticed by the masses - we wouldn't bet against Montana becoming something of a tourism hotspot in the next decade or so. 

Montana Is Rich In Culture And History

Montana is home to several sites that capture American history in ways that other attractions don't exactly do. For instance, one of the top historical monuments to visit in the state is the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which commemorates Native American tribes defeating U.S. troops. Other fascinating historical stops are in the famous "ghost towns," or preserved towns from the Old West that are no longer operational or inhabited, but provide fascinating snapshots of the past. Now, these aren't new attractions - but as some other aspects of the state draw in new tourists, these attractions are just waiting to keep them occupied and interested.

Montana Is Home To Glacier National Park

National parks have always been Montana’s tourism highlights, but that doesn’t mean they will ever become less fascinating. In fact there's an argument to be made that as climate change becomes a bigger issue and environmental preservation efforts intensify, such parks will be valued even more as destinations. Glacier National Park, known as the "Crown of the Continent," sits in the northwest corner of the state. And no matter what level of adventure any tourist may be seeking, the park will have something to offer. For those who want to get up close to some massive ice formations, day hikes on the Many Glacier trail will be amazing; those who would prefer to drive through the park than get sweaty on a hike can enjoy the picturesque Going-to-the-Sun Road, either in their own cars or via the park's shuttle service. There are plenty of fun options, all revolving around natural beauty that's going to be easier and easier to appreciate. 

Sports Betting Is Now Legal In Montana

Along with a few other states in the U.S., Montana has recently decided to make sports betting legal. It was actually the first state to legalize the activity in the current year, possibly setting a precedent for followers. This will inevitably make watching sports more interesting in Montana, whether it's live on the field or in a local sports bar, and until betting is widespread it could be a tourist draw in and of itself. Some countries like the UK have long-established internet betting traditions and provide free online options for new players, which is how a lot of Americans will envision sports betting working. However, as a new member of the sports-betting community, Montana will be keeping its betting to the physical realm (for now). If anything though, this may only mean the emergence of new, fun venues showcasing sports, serving food, and taking bets. 

Montana Is Filled With Natural Spas

One of the best things about going on vacation is taking time to relax and refresh. Montana is a great place for this, with its wide variety of hot springs that are said to have healing properties thanks to their naturally-occurring mineral content. Although they may not date back quite as far, these spas are similar attractions to those in popular European destinations like Budapest or Seville. They exist in a variety of venues; some have been renovated into contemporary tiled pools with luxury spa facilities built around them, while others are still untouched pools in the earth. Both options are just waiting to be enjoyed by a potential influx of tourists looking for things like untouched natural splendor or gambling activity. 

Some of these attractions and activities will be familiar to Montana residents, and some have been around for quite some time. But between established draws and those that may become more popular in time, these are a few of the things that could serve a more active tourism industry in the near future.

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MSU nursing professor's research cited in Time magazine story about opioid crisis

A recent article about solutions to the national opioid crisis that appeared in Time magazine featured the work of Montana State University nursing professor and health care economist Peter Buerhaus.

The piece, “One Possible Solution to the Opioid Crisis in the U.S. Has Been Inexplicably Ignored,” was published online June 24 as part of the Time Ideas series. It was written by Tommy Thompson, who served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005 and as the 42nd governor of Wisconsin, and David Hebert, CEO of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

The authors noted that a new report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisors on how to “beat back America’s opioid crisis” highlighted as potential solutions measures like curbing illicit drug trafficking, reducing over-prescribing in doctors’ offices and cracking down on drug distributors fueling the epidemic for profit. However, they wrote that one measure was missing from the report: nurse practitioners.

Primary care professionals serve on the front lines of the opioid crisis, Thompson and Hebert wrote, but there is a severe shortage of such professionals across the country, particularly in rural areas. They noted that currently, nearly 80% of Americans addicted to opioids aren’t receiving treatment.

“Without access to primary care professionals, addicted patients struggle to receive the care they need,” they wrote.

To address the shortage of primary care professionals, Thompson and Hebert suggest turning to nurse practitioners. And they pointed to Buerhaus’ research showing that nurse practitioners could make a significant difference.

“Between 2016 and 2030, the number of (nurse practitioners) in the workforce is projected to grow by 6.8% annually, according to a study from Peter Buerhaus, a healthcare economist and professor of nursing at Montana State University,” they wrote. “The report also found that these (nurse practitioners) will be far more likely to practice in rural and underserved regions.”

The authors add that, although some states limit where and how nurse practitioners can practice, studies have shown that nurse practitioners provide care that’s just as good as—and sometimes better than—physicians.

“Empowering nurse practitioners to treat addiction—and removing unnecessary restrictions at the state level—can go a long way in liberating American patients,” Thompson and Hebert concluded.

Buerhaus is well-known for his studies and publications on the nursing and physician workforces in the United States. Some of his research indicates that nurse practitioners are more likely than medical doctors to practice in rural areas and that people living in rural areas tend to have the least access to a primary care clinician (primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants).

Buerhaus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine and, in 2010, was appointed chairman of the National Health Care Workforce Commission. The commission was created under the Affordable Care Act to advise Congress and the administration on health workforce policy.

In addition to his work as a professor, Buerhaus also serves as director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies.

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