Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Articles written by Rick & Susie Graetz

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Montana's Lonesome Highway

From the center of the state at Lewistown, it is 262 miles to Sidney and just a few miles further to the Dakota line. At night you can drive 50 miles or more and never see another... — Updated 3/16/2021

 

This is Montana: Gold Creek – A Montana Original

Sixty miles east of Missoula on Interstate 90, at milepost 166, a highway marker shows an exit for Gold Creek. In the absence of signs designating this as a significant spot in... — Updated 2/23/2021

 

This is Montana: Philipsburg and the Flint Creek Valley: Silver and Sapphires

In the 1860s, as large deposits of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable minerals were discovered in Granite County, many mining settlements sprung up along creek beds and mounta... — Updated 12/8/2020

 

Sculptures in the Wild: Lincoln, Montana

So, an Irishman and a logger walk into a Seattle bar. Imbibing spirits, they bond over their interest in knives, solve the world's problems, and by the end of the night the two new... — Updated 12/1/2020

 

Southwest Montana Provides Distinctive Stories (Part 4 of 4)

For the most part, the physical and social geography of Southwest Montana has changed little with the passage of time. Ranching and agriculture are the major lifestyles, and the... — Updated 1/7/2020

 

Southwest Montana Provides Distinctive Stories (Part 3 of 4)

Fur trappers, followed quickly on the heels of Lewis and Clark into the new frontier. Searching for beaver to satisfy the latest fashion demands of Europeans, they wandered to what... — Updated 1/1/2020

 

Southwest Montana Provides Distinctive Stories (Part 2 of 4)

An important portion of The Corps of Discovery's journey occurred in southwest Montana. On July 19, 1805, Lewis and his men were struggling up the Missouri between present-day... — Updated 12/17/2019

 

Southwest Montana Provides Distinctive Stories (Part 1 of 4)

Defining a province like Southwest Montana is subjective. For us, an imaginary line commences at Lolo Pass west of Missoula and moves east along Interstate 90 and the Clark Fork Riv... — Updated 12/11/2019

 

Fort Benton: The Birthplace of Montana (Part 2)

In September 1887, the railroad arrived at Fort Benton, signaling the end of the era of river trade, and it seemed the town would die. But a Canadian trade boom opened, resulting... — Updated 10/16/2019

 

This is Montana: Fort Benton: The Birthplace of Montana (Part 1)

Fort Benton rests along the mighty Missouri River. Founded in 1846, it's the oldest town in Montana. During its first century, Fort Benton would become a springboard for trade as... — Updated 10/9/2019

 

This is Montana: Beargrass and Yucca: Two signature Montana plants

Two particular flowering plants are the toast of late spring and summer in Montana. In the mountain forests and openings of northwestern Montana, beargrass – the official flower... — Updated 7/31/2019

 

This is Montana: Missouri headwaters are central to Montana history (Part 2 of 2)

When the Corps of Discovery returned to St. Louis in September 1806, fur trappers already were on their way to the new country. In North Dakota, after meeting a group of trappers he... — Updated 5/29/2019

 

This is Montana: Missouri headwaters are central to Montana history (Part 1 of 2)

A labyrinth of channels, willow bottoms, islands and a general mix of wetlands interact to piece together the headwaters of the Missouri River. The point where the three forks ... — Updated 5/15/2019

 

UM Geography's 'This is Montana' Celebrates 100 Columns (Part Two)

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a column celebrating 'This is Montana,' a University of Montana program delivered to an estimated 80-plus high schools and newspapers.... — Updated 12/27/2018

 

UM Geography's 'This is Montana' Celebrates 100 Columns (Part One)

Editor's Note: In September 2013, University of Montana geography faculty member Rick Graetz and Kayde Kaiser, a geography graduate student, launched the "This Is Montana" program... — Updated 12/19/2018

 

This is Montana: Montana's Greatest Wonder: The Missouri River (Part 4 of 5)

On June 16, 1805, Captain Clark of the Corps of Discovery – with an extremely ill Sacajawea accompanying him – halted below the confluence of Belt Creek and the Missouri River... — Updated 11/28/2018

 

This is Montana: Montana's Greatest Wonder: The Missouri River (Part 4 of 5)

"... by every rule of nomenclature, the Missouri being the main stream and the upper Mississippi the tributary, the name of the former should have been given precedence, and the... — Updated 11/20/2018

 

This is Montana: Montana's Greatest Wonder: The Missouri River

When the Missouri River puts Cascade behind, it looks out toward the sunset and the distant Rocky Mountain Front, the range of mountains that gave Montana its label "Land of the... — Updated 10/31/2018

 

This is Montana: Montana's Greatest Wonder: The Missouri River (Part 2 of 5)

Almost immediately upon departing the Three Forks area, the newly formed Missouri is neatly tucked into a mini-gorge. Then, only 16 miles from its inception, the Toston Reservoir... — Updated 10/10/2018

 

Montana's Greatest Wonder: The Missouri River

On Aug. 12, 1805, Meriwether Lewis penned in his journals, "the road was still plain, I therefore did not dispare of shortly finding a passage over the mountains and of tasting the... — Updated 10/3/2018

 

This is Montana

Authors' Note: This piece is excerpted from a report Clyde Fickes wrote in May 1944. It appeared in "Volume 1 – Early Days In The Forest Service." His words are excerpted with... — Updated 5/30/2018

 

This is Montana

At a recent book signing, a gentleman who knew quite a bit about the Judith Basin country explained how Utica, a small town in the basin on the road into the Little Belt Mountains,... — Updated 5/23/2018

 

This is Montana

Call it 670 miles – or perhaps more precisely 674 miles – but either way, the Yellowstone River remains the nation's longest undammed waterway. It's a great river that meanders... — Updated 5/10/2018

 

Rocky Mountain Front's First Ranger (Part 2 OF 3)

Authors' Note: This piece is excerpted from a report Clyde Fickes wrote in May 1944. It appeared in "Volume 1 – Early Days In The Forest Service." His words are excerpted with... — Updated 4/25/2018

 

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