• An art sculpture in Ennis. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Park-to-Park stop No. 2: Ennis is more than a fly fishing mecca

    We’re continuing our virtual trip from Park-to-Park today (which for our own purposes we’re calling Travel Tuesday) with a stop in Ennis.

    It’s on our West Route from Glacier to Yellowstone.

    • Read our entire Park-to-Park story here

    Ennis is a place known for its fly fishing wonders. We’d be remiss to not point out that the town – according to the chamber of commerce website – is home to the largest hand-tied fly ever made (huge kudos to anyone who can send us a photo of that).  There’s also a ton of outdoor art around the town.

    Courtesy of Backroad to Yellowstone

    Courtesy of Backroad to Yellowstone

    It’s also a place on the “Backroad to Yellowstone” – which is a road through the Madison Valley. Beautiful might be an understatement for that area.

    Not a bad stop over point if you’re going from Glacier to Yellowstone.



  • Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner. Photo by Barbara Shesky

    Park-to-Park Stop No. 1: Gardiner is Montana’s ultimate gateway town

    You may have already read our Park-to-Park feature in the latest May/June issue (if not, what are you waiting for?). We’ve got both East and West routes we think would be perfect paths for a trip from Glacier to Yellowstone and back again.

    And, as we pointed out in the piece, there’s a lot of real estate in between the two parks. We’ll be highlighting a handful of those place this week here at MT Journal.

    First on our list is Gardiner, which is home to one of the most iconic Yellowstone sites in the Roosevelt Arch.

    It’s a little town with a little bit of everything, including bison that roam the streets.

    Here’s what the chamber has to say about the town:

    Courtesy of Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

    Courtesy of Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

    This area is home to the most diverse herds of large wildlife species in the lower 48 states including bison, bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and deer.

    While we do not have any big box stores here, we are a full service town: we have a grocery store, gift shops, outdoor equipment sales and rentals, a full service auto and RV repair shop, pharmacy, bookstore and members who can assist you with such things as auto-glass repair and welding.

    In 2016, Gardiner will help celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary after a series of downtown improvements and improvements to the Roosevelt Arch area.

    We’ll keep you updated on the festivities.

    Check back tomorrow for the next Park-to-Park stop.


  • Watching summer storms in Big Sky Country

    We often get great Big Sky Country images sent to us from reader Jullie Powell.

    And the eastern Montana resident is pretty handy with a camera, so the photos are gorgeous.

    Turns out Jullie is a bit of a weather watcher as well. She has an impressive set of summer storm photos that the Billings Gazette put into a great slideshow (which also includes photos from other Montana residents).

    Here’s a coupe of the awesome summer storm shots. 

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Jullie Powell

    Photo by Justin Voeller

    Photo by Justin Voeller

    Thanks Jullie and all who shared!

    Do you have summer storm photos to share? Email them to editor@montanamagazine.com.

    – Jenna

  • The May/June 2015 cover by Chris McGowan

    More about our gorgeous May/June cover

    It’s a stunner. And that’s why we chose it.

    Our May/June 2015 issue cover comes to us from Glacier National Park and was made by Helena-based photographer Chris McGowan.

    McGowan’s image is from an iconic vantage point, but with a very beautiful twist courtesy of the rising sun.

    Sinopah Mountain lights up with the soft glow of an early sunrise over Two Medicine Lake inside Glacier National Park.

    The cover introduces our Park-to-Park issue, which includes a host of content about Yellowstone and Glacier.

    We’re lucky to have photographers like McGowan in Montana, who get outdoors and get these amazing shots we can share with you.

    Photographer Chris McGowan

    Photographer Chris McGowan

    McGowan’s passion for photography stems from his deep love of nature and the outdoors. Primarily a wildlife and nature photographer, Chris travels far and near capturing Montana’s abundant population of wildlife and birds, as well as the state’s vast and ever changing landscapes. View more of his work at chrismcgowanphotography.com.

    By the way, we took a journey from Park-to-Park inside the issue. Here’s the online version.

    To get more Montana all year long, subscribe today!


    – Jenna

  • Goat Haunt Ranger Station from Waterton Lake. Photo by Jennifer Grigg

    Goat Haunt: Glacier’s unlikely passport portal

    You may – or may not – need your passport to get into this slice of heaven inside Glacier National Park.

    It depends on how you get there. As writer Becky Lomax explains, Goat Haunt inside Glacier National Park is both accessible front country, and hard-to-reach backcountry.

    But, for full disclosure’s sake, we have to tell you, there aren’t any goats in Goat Haunt.

    Despite its remoteness, Goat Haunt has a unique history. Its name comes from Goat Haunt Mountain, an 8,641-foot high summit to the east, perhaps named by the Blackfeet for a concentration of goats.

    But mountain goats do not inhabit Goat Haunt. The elevation is too low and the heavy forest surrounding it is not their favored habitat. The only goat is a metal weather vane on top of the observation pavilion.

    Read more here.

    And if you’ve ever been to Goat Haunt, we’d love to hear your stories – send them our way to editor@montanamagazine.com.

    And to get more on Glacier all year round, subscribe today.

    – Jenna

  • Sue Brown holds a piglet. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    TBT: Our most popular stories of 2015 – so far

    We love having fun with Throwback Thursday, especially when we get to show off some of our most popular stories “from the past.”

    This week we’ve got two of your most popular stories so from in 2015.

    Ed Osse works in his shop in Ryegate. Photo by Kelsey Dayton

    Ed Osse works in his shop in Ryegate. Photo by Kelsey Dayton

    First, is our feature on the Woodpecker Men, who throughout the years have “hidden” thousands of homemade woodpeckers along the roadside from Harlowton to Ryegate.

    Here’s some behind-the-scenes info and the full story about the Woodpecker men.

    Pies fill the tables at the Utica Women's Club pie sale. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    Pies fill the tables at the Utica Women’s Club pie sale. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    Next, is our The Last Best Plates series – it’s all about food and eating under the Big Sky. We’ll continue the series through 2015, but have already featured stories about the best pies in Montana and place where piglets and baby goats play.

    You can view the entire series here, along with recipes and slideshows.

    Happy Throwback Thursday! Enjoy!


  • A sign from Ismay's heyday as Joe, Montana, is now another piece of the town's past. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Montana A to Z: I is for Ismay, or Joe?

    Once again, the Missoulian’s A to Z series profiling towns across the state is a must-read story for anyone who loves Big Sky Country.

    • Catch up on the series by starting here

    This time, they’re taking us to Ismay. You’ll learn a lot about the tiny town, how it got its name and about the band of loyal residents who make up the town’s population of 26. And why in the world was it once called Joe, Montana?

    “There’s a family over here,” says Ismay’s first lady, pointing in some direction, “that moved in from South Dakota and has four kids. That’s a population explosion for us.”

    Ismay is Montana’s smallest incorporated city. It has a post office and a church among its handful of homes and otherwise boarded-up or falling-down buildings and vacant lots, but not one bar or grocery store.

    Its lone commercial business – the Ismay Grain Co. – actually gives this tiny prairie town a towering skyline of grain silos.

    “We’re the largest employer,” says Rita Nemitz, who works there with her husband Gene, “and the tallest one, too.”

    • See a slideshow of images for Ismay here
    The money that Ismay earned from publicity surrounding its name change to Joe enabled the small town to build the community center and fire hall and to upgrade its fire truck. Photo by Tom Bauer

    The money that Ismay earned from publicity surrounding its name change to Joe enabled the small town to build the community center and fire hall and to upgrade its fire truck. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Wayne Rieger, then Ismay’s town clerk, was in the bathtub when his phone rang one morning in 1993. On the other end: a Kansas City radio station with an odd request.

    Would Ismay – named, “Brangelina” style, for Isabella and Maybelle Peck, daughters of a railroad division superintendent – consider changing its name to Joe?

    Four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana had been traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs in April 1993. The radio station was after a city in Montana to change its name to “Joe,” put a comma after it, and keep the “Montana” part of its name as part of a publicity stunt.

    The station first contacted similarly tiny Bearcreek east of Red Lodge.

    “They turned them down flat,” Ismay Mayor Gene Nemitz, Rita’s husband, says. “They called me next, but I was busy and didn’t have time to figure out what it was they wanted, so I referred them to the town clerk.”

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Read the full story here.

  • The Fort Peck Theatre first opened as a movie theater 80 years ago. Photo by Erik Petersen

    Did you know? Fort Peck Theatre edition

    We told you about the wild popularity of Fort Peck’s summer theater in our May/June issue.

    It’s a place that draws thousands of theater-goers each night it shows a play.

    “Always… Patsy Kline” opened on Friday and is the first of five plays this summer.

    Given the past successful seasons, it’s like that thousands of people headed for Fort Peck last night.

    Always...Patsy ClineTucked away in the northeastern corner of Montana, the 1,200-seat theater has been entertaining audiences for 45 years. But lately it’s attracting more and more people to the area hailing from neighboring states and, more frequently, foreign countries.

    But did you know that the Fort Peck Theatre was built in 1934 as a movie house to entertain workers building the Fort Peck Dam?

    Here’s a little more about the theater’s history:

    During the “Dam Days” movies ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It stands as a historic tribute to that era.  However, the theatre continues to remain a vital part of our community for culture and education to our residents and visitors, for today, and hopefully into the future.

     Maintaining the beauty and safety of the theatre building is very important.  To do this, the Fort Peck Theatre Preservation Endowment was established.  All gifts received are held in the Fort Peck Theatre Endowment Fund administered by the Montana Community Foundation, a professional money manager.  Donations are invested to earn interest and capital appreciation, with minimal risk.  The interest earnings received are used to maintain the integrity, beauty, and safety of the There.  Maintaining the building can be costly, but necessary to preserve the history of our area.

    Learn more about the current show here


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