Beautiful Bad Lands of Makoshika State Park
In the eyes of Montana photographer Jason Savage, the vast and unique landscapes inside Makoshika State Park more than allow the land to live up to its name.
The largest state park in Montana, “Makoshika” is a variant spelling of the Lakota word meaning “bad land” or “bad earth.”
The park’s 11,531 acres – located just outside Glendive – are filled with giant formations of light colored capstone that reach toward the expansive eastern Montana skies like elegant pedestals.
Among the wild landscape lies the bones of ancient species, including Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, and artifacts left behind by ancient peoples thousands of years ago.
“To me as a photographer, it feels like a harsh landscape but it has all this beauty,” Savage said. “It’s kind of an unforgiving place, especially in the summer it’s hot, but it’s got all this fantastic landscape and wildlife. It’s pretty spectacular.”
Planning a trip to Makoshika? Ranger Tom Shoush recommends several things you’ve got to see:
- Drive the 10-mile road through the park.
“If the road system is open, I always tell people to drive to the top. That’s where the views are,” Shoush said.
- Watch out for dinosaur bones.
The bones of 10-12 species of dinosaurs have been found inside Makoshika. Most of the finds, Shoush said, are large herbivores that lived near end of the age of dinosaurs. The most significant is an entire Thescelosaur, a “very rare” and “tremendous find” Shoush said.
- Stop at the visitors’ center.
It’s home to dinosaur bones and rare artifacts left behind by ancient peoples. “A human presence in the area dated back to 10,000 to 12,000 years ago,” Shoush said.
- Stop by during the “spring green up.”
Shoush recommends visiting from Makoshika in mid-May through mid-June.
“I tell people somewhere around June 1 you have the best chance of seeing the flowers in bloom and the migratory birds have returned,” he said.
To view the entire Makoshika photo portfolio, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Quaking Aspens: The Gold Star of Montana’s Autumns
Thank the petiole, that disproportionately long, atypical flat stalk connecting the leaf of a quaking aspen to the stem. Because of it, not only the leaves tremble but also our emotions when we behold great groves of aspen fluttering shades of green in the summer and variations of gold in the fall. As the dominant deciduous tree in many areas, they distinguish themselves flamboyantly from the abundance of always green conifers.The beautiful and functional tree whose Latin name is Populous tremuloides can be found throughout Montana. The aspen is further differentiated as small tooth, because the one- to three-inch, heart-shaped to slightly round leaves have finely serrated edges. Montana’s collection was noted first by explorer Meriwether Lewis on July 20, 1805, near today’s Tosten. He spelled the trees’ name aspin.
To read more about Montana’s gold star of autumn, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Wild, Wild Western: Film and Literature in Montana
From the time that the American West was ‘settled,’ the events of that pioneering time have often been elevated to a form of romantic heroism seldom seen in world literature. Even the outlaws of the West became big, bold figures who bravely faced down adversity to accomplish feats noble and enviable.
The Western identity has been suffering from this misguided attempt at revisionist history ever since. Rather than telling the story of the West in a way that was authentic and accurate, writers often surrendered to the stereotypes that were born in those early days. And sadly, these stereotypes continue to be swallowed whole and regurgitated by writers and artists and moviemakers who have never even been out West, much less immersed themselves in its culture.
To read the rest of Rowland’s Wild Western Essay, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Portfolio by Jason Savage: Winter in Montana
Jason Savage started his photography career focusing on landscape. It was the richness of landscape that brought the Washington native to Montana to live and work.
In recent years he has expanded his attention to wildlife photography, but he contends that he approaches the subject with the eye of a landscape photographer.
To view Jason’s full portfolio, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
November-December issue out now!
We’re excited to share the final issue of 2013 with everyone. It was mailed from the printers Oct. 27 and the should soon (if it’s not already) arrive in subscribers’ mailboxes.
We chose photographer Jason Savage’s epic shot of a snowy buffalo for the cover. The big guy is standing strong in a storm just outside Yellowstone National Park.
Jason has a ton of other photos inside the issue as well. You really get to a chance to see how talented he is.
Along with the cover, our Portfolio features a spread of photos from Jason (the snowy buffalo makes an appearance there too. If you’ve been missing Montana lately, his photos will cure your blues.
Also inside the issue, we’ve got the story of Marvin Camel, a boxing champ who grew up in the Mission Valley and goes on to become the first Native American world boxing champion.