2. Endless Outdoor Recreation
Montana has one of the highest percentages of residents participating in outdoor recreation each year, according to a July 2017 industry report by the Outdoor Industry Association. An estimated 81 percent of the state’s residents participate in outdoor recreation each year. According to the report, spending on outdoor recreation in Montana exceeded the combined value of statewide agricultural crop, livestock and poultry products sold. Among the largest draws are Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
“A hundred years ago, people came for jobs in Butte. My ancestors did the same thing,” said Bob Schleicher, a retired state employee and wage analysis expert, who lives in Livingston. “But now people come for the recreation.”
Montana consistently ranks as a fly fisherman’s paradise, with more than 400 miles of rivers and streams designated as blue ribbon trout waters. Some of the more well-known fly fishing streams are the Blackfoot River (popularized in the movie “A River Runs Through It"); Madison River; Big Hole River; and the Yellowstone River.
Montana also is a favorite destination for hunters. A wide range of outfitters support the hunting and fishing industries. The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website is a good source for rules and regulations.
Winter recreation abounds, as well. The mountainous western portion of the state is well-known for its many highly regarded ski resorts.