The Montana Gap

Look at statewide numbers and Montana’s economy seems to be doing well. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of jobs in the state of Montana grew 20 percent, . Personal income grew, as did statewide employment.

If you live outside a city, though, there’s a good chance you won’t see much evidence of that growth. For the next six months, a group of journalists from western Montana, supported by NewTowncarShare News and the Solutions Journalism Network, will dig into the question: What are Montana communities, especially rural ones, doing to respond to this trend, to help their residents weather the economic winter? And what could they learn from other communities?  This project is funded by the LOR Foundation.

Small towns under the Big Sky address challenges to secure their future, as centers boom.
Did Fort Collins grow too big too fast?
Did Fort Collins grow too big too fast?
The Colorado city’s unwieldy expansion offers a cautionary tale for similar Western locales.
A way out of Bozeman’s shadow
A way out of Bozeman’s shadow
Belgrade, Montana, is growing just enough to assert an identity separate of its adjacent city.
A town clings to its small-town identity under pressure
A town clings to its small-town identity under pressure
Manhattan, Montana, has become a bedroom community with full schools but few businesses.
When a town wants to grow — but not too quickly
When a town wants to grow — but not too quickly
Three Forks has weathered much. Facing new pressures, can it stay in control?
Examining the disparity of urban and rural growth
Examining the disparity of urban and rural growth
A new project taps into how rural Montana is grappling with its uncertain future.
In Montana, rural fairs cling to a tenuous future
In Montana, rural fairs cling to a tenuous future
Long seen as a way to fuel local economies, summer festivals are getting harder for some to justify.
When Copper Kings leave, what happens to the slag?
When Copper Kings leave, what happens to the slag?
To jolt its economy, a town explores the many uses of the byproduct of its smelting history.
Libby, Montana, tries to shake its ‘Superfund stigma’
Libby, Montana, tries to shake its ‘Superfund stigma’
Rebranding could help the town distance itself from past asbestos pollution.
Want to revitalize a depressed economy? The EPA can help.
Want to revitalize a depressed economy? The EPA can help.
A Montana town is using an obscure program to help clean up contaminated areas.
Rural areas short on workers turn to overseas professionals
Rural areas short on workers turn to overseas professionals
Montana has a shortage of nurses, teachers and other workers.
Social services give rural families a safety net
Social services give rural families a safety net
Issues of affordable housing and transportation impede rural families from getting out of poverty.
In a shuttered mill, a Montana town sees business potential
In a shuttered mill, a Montana town sees business potential
Frenchtown is waiting on a Superfund designation to clean up toxic remnants.
In a district losing money, students from afar fill the gap
In a district losing money, students from afar fill the gap
After a mill closure, a town is offseting losses by allowing out-of-district students.
No zoning? No problem.
No zoning? No problem.
Lack of zoning laws allow entrepreneurs to thrive in East Missoula.
On the outskirts of Missoula, growth comes with challenges
On the outskirts of Missoula, growth comes with challenges
An influx of new people to nearby communities has strained town systems.
In Montana, houses are replacing farmland
In Montana, houses are replacing farmland
Can lessons from Vermont keep local agriculture alive?
How to turn motorized rec into a sustainable economy
How to turn motorized rec into a sustainable economy
In 2010, Challis, Idaho, created a trail for ATV riders. Now, it’s enjoying an economic boost.
What the two-wheeled tourist can offer tiny towns
What the two-wheeled tourist can offer tiny towns
Cycling tourism contributes nearly $377 million annually to Montana’s economy.
Craft breweries aren’t a new trend — but co-op pubs are
Craft breweries aren’t a new trend — but co-op pubs are
In Montana, the town of Ronan hops on the brewery bandwagon.
Can rural towns stem the trend of population decline?
Can rural towns stem the trend of population decline?
Small-town Choteau, Montana, is working to find answers to the question that is plaguing 23 of the state’s counties.
NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Boise State Public Radio is hiring a Reporting Fellow as part of a new nationwide collaborative, Guns & America. Based in the state capitol, Boise...
  • Middle Colorado Watershed Council. Rifle, CO.
  • RiversEdge West is seeking an entrepreneurial leader with solid nonprofit management skills to lead our high functioning team and help us make an impact on...
  • Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a talented, organized person with great people skills, who is passionate about protection of the natural environment to work...
  • The Wilderness Society is recruiting for an experienced Communicator for our Northwest Region. This position is located in Seattle, WA. For more information please visit...
  • Here is an opportunity to have a piece of self-sufficient paradise on Idaho's Main Salmon River adjacent to the largest Forest Service wilderness area in...
  • in 5-home conservation community & botanical sanctuary on 20 acres.
  • The Montana Wildlife Federation is looking for an enthusiastic and innovative Membership and Engagement Coordinator to help grow and maintain our grassroots voice for wildife,...
  • The City of Fort Collins is excited to announce a Sr Environmental Planner position within the Natural Areas Department. This position will be housed within...
  • on beautiful Snow Angel Ranch located within San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, CO. Lakes, fly-fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, horse trails, horse accommodations...
  • 5 acres, well. Abuts Carson NF; hike fish ski; deer turkey elk.
  • Paonia, CO - Part-time, live-out, Tues to Fri. Childcare and light housekeeping. Able to interact with children and speak English, non-smoker. REFERENCES. Contact [email protected]
  • The Marketing Director develops the strategy and leads all marketing efforts at NOLS. The director is first and foremost responsible for driving enrollment of over...
  • The Nature Conservancy, one of the world's leading conservation organizations, seeks a Program Manager to help advance our Sierra Nevada conservation and restoration efforts. Working...
  • Boise-based Winter Wildlands Alliance is looking for an experienced and highly motivated individual to organize our annual Backcountry Film Festival and Tour and coordinate additional...
  • Deschutes River Conservancy in Bend, Oregon
  • 9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/