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Natural Resources Found in Montana

Natural Resources Found in MontanaNatural Resources in Montana are widespread to say the least. The state is so plentiful that it is only hindered by the mountainous terrain. These natural resources include millions of acres of undeveloped land, great forests, water, and vast reserves of minerals.

Millions of years ago, glaciers deposited the soils that cover the northern plains of Montana. These soils range from 25 50 feet deep, and include silty clay, fertile clay loam, and thin, stony drift. The soils of southwestern Montana are ash from ancient volcanic eruptions. Dark brown loams cover clay subsoil in many areas.

Minerals: Most of Montana’s gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc deposits lie in the southwest. Large deposits of manganese ore are mined near Philipsburg. The area near Libby has vermiculite deposits, and antimony and pyrite occur in scattered regions of western Montana. Stillwater, Carbon, and Sweet Grass counties have chromite deposits.

Large lead deposits are found in Lewis and Clark County and in Silver Bow County. The Butte district has the greatest zinc deposits. Powell and Granite counties have large reserves of phosphate rock.

Coal beds lie under about 51,000 square miles, more than a of Montana’s area. Reserves total more than 222,000,000,000 tons, placing the state second to North Dakota. Great petroleum reserves lie in the Williston Basin area of eastern Montana, the Elk Basin field in the south-central areas, and the Cut Bank field in north-central Montana. Gas wells throughout the southeast produce natural gas. Montana’s mountain valleys have valuable gem-stone deposits. Prospectors find sapphire stones in Yogo Gulch, west of Lewistown, and along many streams in western Montana. Deposits of rubies, garnets, and zircons occur in the same region. Moss agates are found along the lower Yellowstone River.

Other minerals include clay fluorspar, iron ore, pumice, sand and gravel, stone, tungsten, barite, cement, gypsum, lime, mica, and talc.

Forest: The forests cover more then 22,000,000 acres, or about a fourth of Montana. This gives big game like black bear, whitetail deer, elk, moose and many others protection, food, and water. The state’s commercial timber stand totals more then 56,000,000,000 board feet. The most valuable woods include Douglas fir, ponderosa or western yellow pine, and western larch or tamarack. Other important trees include spruce, lodgepole pine, white fir, western red cedar, and Engelmann spruce.

Plant Life: The valleys and uplands in the upper northern Rockies have many colorful flowers in the short midsummer season. These include glacier lilies, alpine poppies, columbines, white dryads, globeflowers, Indian paintbrush, asters, and arnicas. White and purple heather and Rocky Mountain laurel also grow on the mountains. Alpine timothy, mountain brome, fescue, bluegrass, and other grasses are found in the mountain uplands. Many shrubs grow in the valleys. Native grasses such as buffalo grass, western wheat grass, and blue grama cover the plains.

Animal Life: A number of different game bird, small game, and big game animals live in Montana. Big game like whitetail deer, elk, moose, mountain sheep and goat pronghorn antelope, mountain lion or cougar, and black bear live in the mountains. Small fur-bearing animals such as beaver, bobcat, coyote, fox, prairie dogs, wolverine, muskrat, mink, and otter are found in many regions. The most common waterfowl or upland game birds include wild ducks and geese {goose}, dove, sage hens, pheasant, grouse, partridge, and prairie chickens. Streams and lakes abound in trout, grayling, and other fresh-water fish.

Choose a State for Your Hunting Trip

The hunting guides and outfitters can help you find the animals that you most want to hunt. The guided trips they provide will cover different areas and each package should be looked at to make sure it is what you are looking for.