Montana is the Last Best Place. We live amongst the Rocky Mountains, Big Skies, wide rivers, and waving grasslands. There is a lot of open spaces to stretch out in. Montana citizens are wealthy to have this magnificent environment.
Everyone comes to Montana to see Yellowstone Park, hike, ski, camp, fish, hunt, and now to live. These “Newcomers”, bring their own ideas of how Montana should be. Usually, this turns into changing Montana to be more like where they escaped.
Others just want their vacation home, ski chalet, or status home to boost their portfolios. Once they buy a chunk of Big Sky Country, a fence and no trespassing signs go up. If they prevent you from looking at their land, they would.
Our overcrowded and rundown cities are what the sunset of civilizations look like. If you have a boatload of money, what would you do with it? That dollar is worth less in a big city. Life is expensive there. That dollar can buy more in Montana. Let relocate and buy up half the state. Heck, Montana is the Last Best Place!
Many of our vast ranchlands are being subdivided into smaller ‘Keep Out” zones. Our great fishing and hunting are being gutted and Loved to Death. Guests do not even have to pay a sales tax. Some visitors just visit, while others stay. A few cold winters will determine how tough they are.
Another large ranch near Clyde Park has just been sold to a subsidiary of the Yellowstone Club. There are no immediate plans to develop these thousands of acres but…
When does a Newcomer become a resident? Does this happen in 5 or 25 years? All Montanans came from somewhere else. These Pioneers and Native people wandered the land until they found where they wanted to plant their roots. If you are born in Montana, are you a Montanan?
My thought is that you become a Montanan when you become a part of the land. Blending into the community rather than changing it into what you left. Celebrate the traditions, heritage, and love of this special place. Allow access for sportsmen. Learning to become a steward of our land and resources. When you can smile at a sunset or sunrise, over the mountains, across our grand Big Skies, you have become a Montanan.