West Yellowstone Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Bears, when you get right down to it, are not graceful, noble creatures. Wolves now, wolves lope over the ground with thoroughbred grace. Whenever they stop, they do so with stoic aristocracy, striking poses like Greek statues. Bears shamble. At once bow-legged and pigeon-toed, they amble snuffling through the world, and run like furry bowling … Read more

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Maximilian of Wied and Karl Bodmer: Instagram like it’s 1833

One of the first tourists to Montana was a man named Maximillian of Wied. Or, if you want to be more specific, Prince Maximillian Alexander Phillip of Wied-Neuwied. Unlike the Lewis and Clark Expedition or the fur trappers that followed, Maximillian did not come to explore or make money, he came simply to look around. … Read more

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Hells Canyon Guard Station, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Back in January, we made plans to cross-country ski into a Forest Service cabin. I spent the next month in a near panic, worried that we wouldn’t have any snow to ski on. I spend a lot of time worrying about the weather when we plan trips. In fairness, the country only a few miles … Read more

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Montana Tourism Bills 2015

I have friends who are legal historians, they claim studying legislation is both exciting and interesting. But then, people will say just about anything to justify their graduate degrees. Whatever it takes to help you sleep at night, I guess. Do I find legislation exciting and interesting? Not always. Important? Yes. This year, the Montana … Read more

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The Serve Montana Awards

Every year the governor gives out the Serve Montana Awards in order to recognize outstanding volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy to the state. This year featured—in addition to a community coordinator, a volunteer firefighter, a high school mentor, an American Red Cross volunteer, a Medicare counselor, and the Thompson Falls Student Council—the … Read more

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The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends: The difference between farmers and ranchers

In a creative writing workshop, my wife wrote about growing up on a farm. Later, in the same essay, she talked about growing up on a ranch. This caused considerable consternation in the workshop. “You can’t use those words interchangeably,” people said. “It’s a farm or it’s a ranch. You need to figure out which … Read more

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One of the Regulars

Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, there was Coffee. And when Facebook, Twitter and the rest are rendered meaningless by [the end times/a thermonuclear explosion/global warming/global cooling/an alien invasion] there will still be Coffee. In those days, crotchety old men will be the new masters of information, because they have never abandoned the ancient practice, … Read more

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