Monday, April 20, 2015

Montana, we have to sell more than a view

Montana in all its splender seems to have a problem with using its resources and employing its people with a living wage. Despite being one of the most mineral enriched states in the world, its people struggle year after year with Montana ranking 49th, out of 50 states for low wages.
This was not always the case, at one time Montana was a pioneering state of the Union. At the turn of the 19th century Montana had a flourishing agriculture and mining base with homes and businesses littering the landscape with Butte Mt considered to be one of the pioneering cities of the west, out doing the legendary San Fransisco.
Things would slowly change over the years with hiccups here and there, but by the early 1980s, and the closing of the Anaconda Company, mining would be at a low.
Since then not much has happened, with the exception of a push to make Montana into a tourist state. Ads abound showing Montana as the pristine state to visit with ready access to some of the most spectacular scenery in North America, not a bad idea, Montana is just going about it wrong.
The problem with these ads and outdoor activity is Montana has largely limited its ability to sell herself simply to a view.
It can be spectacular, Glacier Park is truly magnificent, the Flathead valley a must see for everyone with the big hole valley providing the view most consider Montana to be, even the Badlands are IMO one of the ten natural wonders of the world.
But how to access these spectacular views seems to be a challenge. Since Montana seems intent to limit itself to tourism, what is that tourism? Well apparently, driving down a highway on a car you can look out the window and see that amazing view accessing it can be something of a challenge however.
During the winter is arguably the best time to visit Montana for its spectacular Scenery as access abounds. You can visit any of our Magnificent ski areas, and visit the back country in a multitude of ways. If you are not of a high fitness level, you can see and experience our wildlife and scenery by snowmobile, or even by a coach in Yellowstone.
In the Spring, Summer and Fall it can be a challenge however. Unless you hike, mountain bike, or fish Montana has limited its motorized use of its land to a point of strangulation. This is sad as your motorized users bring about the biggest tax base of all those forms of tourism. They will buy fuel, repairs, buy food and other merchandise, yet Montana insists on alienating that aspect of tourism. This is truly frustrating as other neighboring states have capitalized on this magnificent market. As you cross into Idaho bill boards abound selling OHV usage, Utah same thing. Entire towns have sprouted up purely supported by OHV tourism. Montana? well there is a lodge here and there for fly fisherman or horses.

I guess I could go on about our loss of Industry, how losing our lumber mills and logging has truly hindered us, but that is kind of a given.

Montana, if you want to be great, you need to sell what you have, looking out the window only get you so far, and in this case, not far at all.

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