Montana is diverse, and for this I am thankful. Diverse in its landscape, from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the geological rimrock sandstone formations, to the ancient lake shores and to the wide-open and rolling plains.
Diverse in what each landscape offers for recreational opportunities. Diverse in how people like to play and reconnect with nature and wildlife in Montana. Diverse in its seasons of weather, from snowcapped island range mountains, to falling golden, red and brown leaves and to the first signs of spring with song birds.
However, I like to think of Montana as not being diverse in some areas. Unity is found in Montana’s hospitality and the beauty of its surroundings. But, are we Montana strong? Are we Montana strong as we seek opportunities to relish in and share this beautiful state — its primitive, wilderness and roadless areas, the trails and historical sites and the vast opportunities they provide to Montanans and visitors today and in the future?
While exploring the buttes, breaks and badlands, I redefined what constitutes an attractive landscape. What we have in the Montana high plains is unique and striking. The high plains have high historical value. Archeologists recognize thousands of historical sites across the Montana Hi-Line. Are we Montana strong in keeping the high plains a treasure? The prairie landscape across the United States is endangered and is being lost and developed in other ways. As we look to the future, we should protect the last of the best of what remain public lands for the future of Montana and future generations of Montanans.