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Montana news focused on the western side of the state. Montana politics, healthcare, wildlands, wildlife and wildfire.

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An off-duty Glacier National Park employee sustained non-life threatening injuries after surprising a bear in Glacier National Park's Swiftcurrent Valley Saturday evening.
(PD)

An off-duty Glacier National Park employee sustained non-life threatening injuries after surprising a bear in the Swiftcurrent Valley Saturday evening.

The woman was picking huckleberries a quarter mile off the Swiftcurrent Pass trail near Red Rock Falls when she startled what park officials believe was a sow grizzly bear.

A snapshot of today's air quality by health effects category.
Montana DEQ

A new 500-acre prescribed burn in Idaho is pumping lots of smoke into Montana. The National Weather Service in Missoula says it may take a little while for the smoke from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to clear out.

Fishing the Yellowstone River
Flickr user: Mirrur Image (CC-BY-NC)

Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order this morning announcing an invasive species emergency in Montana.

Wildlife officials closed 180 miles of the Yellowstone River just over a week ago after discovering a non-native parasite killing thousands of mountain whitefish and native trout.

Visitor Misbehavior Abounds As National Park Service Turns 100

Aug 29, 2016
In the spring of 2016 a Canadian tourist in Yellowtone put a bison calf in his SUV hoping to save it. Less spectacular but equally dangerous and rule-breaking behavior at the parks is on the rise, according to law enforcement officials.
Courtesy

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Tourist John Gleason crept through the grass, four small children close behind, inching toward a bull elk with antlers like small trees at the edge of a meadow in Yellowstone National Park.

"They're going to give me a heart attack," said Gleason's mother-in-law, Barbara Henry, as the group came within about a dozen yards of the massive animal.

Apathy, Funding The Biggest Threats To National Parks, Officials Say

Aug 26, 2016
A geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park.
Michael Marsolek

Dignitaries from across the country gathered in Yellowstone yesterday, America’s first national park, to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. Supporters of National Parks say to that survive the next 100 years, the American public will need to visit and support them.

    

Wild Sky Beef is part of American Prairie Reserve’s mission to provide habitat for wildlife.

The for-profit arm of APR is paying its neighboring ranchers if they agree to be wildlife friendly.

Some ranchers in central and northeastern Montana resent APR, and its wealthy backers, for buying or leasing their neighbor’s land and turning loose free-roaming bison.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

The live TVMT video feed of lawmakers working in the Montana Capitol went off the air today. Although an audio stream is still available online, a contract disagreement between the state and the provider of TVMT has shut down the TV broadcast and online video footage.

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom delivered the annual state of the university address today.
Josh Burnham

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom didn’t mince words today about enrollment during his annual State of the University address.

"No doubt about it, enrollment is our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity. Put simply, we need more students," Engstrom said.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 26, 2016

Aug 26, 2016
Crews on the Roaring Lion Fire conduct a burn out operation on August 25, 2016
Jim Flint/Inciweb

New Closures In Effect For Copper King Fire

Aug 26, 2016
Map of area closures due to the Copper King fire near Thompson Falls Montana.
inciweb

The Copper King fire, burning on just over 22,000 acres east of Thompson Falls, has new closures in effect.

“We do want to just step up the suppression efforts, and in order to do that, closing off this area will just make it that much more safe for the public, and easier for the fire crews to do their work,” says Fire Information officer Christi Powers.

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