9 reasons why Portland and Missoula are the same city

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Portland, OR and Missoula, MT have many similarities. From the craft breweries, bike craze, Birkenstocks, outdoors-men, organic foods, diverse restaurants.. Portland Oregon and Missoula Montana have a lot in common. Here are ten reasons, and counting, why these two cities are so similar, and what makes them such great places to live.

Craft Breweries:

brewery

Portland and Missoula are listed in the top ten cities for beer drinkers. Portland beats out Missoula at 3rd place to Missoula’s 8th, but that recognition alone shows how much both cities love beer. There are nearly ten breweries in Missoula alone and Portland has 58 within the city limits.

Biking & Pedestrians:

bikes pdx

Bikers always win in Portland. There are these green bike boxes downtown that allow bikes to wait in-front of cars while at a stop light. If you work downtown, chances are you bike to work and are well familiar with the many bikers all over the roads. In Missoula, there are many bikers as well thanks to the large selection of bike paths in the city, and downtown you can find elevated sidewalks only for biker use.

Organic Foods:

good food store

The Good Food Store, Missoula Fresh Market, Natural Grocers.. Missoula has many options for organic and natural foods and like Portland boasts farmers markets throughout the summer and fall seasons.

City/state pride:

 

MT roots

Montana roots gear is extremely popular in Montana, and in Missoula. Locals sport this clothing to show how much they love this state. Much like Portlander’s and Oregonians wearing the ironic “put a bird on it” shirts and their willingness to show their love for their hometown.

Hiking, Biking, Skiing:

hiking missoula

Missoula is home to great hiking, biking, and skiing trails. You don’t have to go far to see the incredible places this city has to show you. There isn’t a time when there arent people exploring and hiking the “M trail” about the UM campus. Portlanders need to travel a bit further for hiking or skiing, but they are still favored weekend activities. There are also parks within the city, like Forest Park, where you can spend a whole day exploring and enjoying nature.

Spectacular food:

 

pok pok

In Portland, you could eat your way through the city with any kind of food you are looking for. There are incredible and unique restaurants all over the city, not to forget the food carts around downtown that have their own unique food scenes. Missoula has great choices for food as well. Being a college town, you can find great burgers, pizza, and brunch.

A river runs through it:

rowers river

Portland has the Willamette river. Missoula has the Clark Fork. Both rivers run through the middle of the city and are used for recreation. Dragon boats, kayaks, and rowers can be seen on the Willamette, especially during the summer months. A favorite summer time activity of Missoula is floating down the Clark Fork on inter-tubes. The Clark Fork is smaller than the Willamette and makes it easier for fishing and walking along it.

The weather:

snow-Missoula

It snows in Missoula, and it rains in Portland. Both cities are often covered by gloomy gray clouds and have very temperamental and changing weather. While Missoula is well equipped for snow, Portland tends to shut down for less than two inches of snow. Even in April, the mountains around Missoula are covered with a light dusting of snow.

Sports teams:

griz game

Griz games are huge in Missoula. Timbers soccer games are huge in Portland. Portland and Missoula both have huge support for their sports teams and if thousands of screaming fans doesn’t show this I don’t know what does.

PORTLAND, OR - MAY 2: The Timbers Army wave flags at the start of the second half at JELD-WEN Field on May 2, 2013. (Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers)

 

Portland and Missoula are both incredible cities. Living in Missoula reminds me so much of Portland, which is home for me, has been incredible. These are two cities that are great to live and work in.

Written by; Kelsey McCauley – native Portlander

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5 Montana Ski Resort Gems

Montana winters are often portrayed with ten feet of snow and a guy covered in furs (somewhat reminiscent of Leo in The Revenant) but the Big Sky Country has a lot more to offer. Thanks to being in close proximity to a number of mountain ranges, ski slopes cover Montana. This portrayal is quickly turned into life changing experiences and truly exposes the tremendous potential Montana has. There are some recreational activities and some particular resorts that really help stereotype Montana but the list of resorts below are some “hidden gems” that many people might not have ever been to or even heard of. They are all experiences that a Montana lover must try!

5. Montana Snowbowl

  • Snowbowl is a smaller resort located about 15 miles from Missoula making it the perfect destination for a simple day ski or for last minute ski plans.
  • Despite being a smaller mountain, Snowbowl gets optimal snow, has reasonable prices, and is great for any level of skier.
  • When Snowbowl shuts down the lifts for summer, its focus turns to weddings, concert series, and other events.

Website: http://www.montanasnowbowl.com/

4. Red Lodge Mountain

  • With the closest Montana “city” to Red Lodge being Billings, this ski resort is often overlooked and considered to be an underrated mountain.
  • Red Lodge is actually a bigger Montana ski hill despite its location and is a very nice resort to take vacations to or to just simply ski for the day and enjoy the nice little town of Red Lodge.
  • Red Lodge is great for skiers of any skill level with a “top half” and “back side” of the mountain that provides a lot more space for many skiers to freely roam without feeling crowded.
  • The mountain hosts a series of different events, has live music at the lodge, and turns its focus to the Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course when the weather permits.

Website: http://www.redlodgemountain.com/

3. Bridger Bowl

  • Less than an hour away from Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is great for day trips to hit some serious powder (gnar bro).
  • Even though Big Sky Resort casts a big shadow for the Montana ski industry, Bridger Bowl does a great job of making a name for themselves keeping a considerable reputation.
  • Bridger has a great atmosphere made for skiers of any skill level and is considerably priced (about half of Big Sky Resort).
  • If you have an avalanche beacon and guts of steel, Bridger Bowl offers the opportunities to put your skills to the test.

Website: http://bridgerbowl.com/

2. Lookout Pass

  • Lookout has the most optimal location for a ski resort being a stones throw off the interstate at the top of Lookout Pass.
  • One of the most unique experiences is being able ski on both the Montana side and the Idaho side of this ski resort since it lies on the Montana-Idaho border.
  • Even though Lookout is located on a busy interstate, it is still big enough to enjoy skiing without feeling crowded by fellow skiers.
  • Lookout is constantly putting on events and in the warm summer months serves as the central hub for taking a bike ride on the Hiawatha trail (which is an amazing experience).

Website: https://skilookout.com/

  1. Showdown

  • 2016 reached the 80 year mark of Showdown and I swear it gets better every year.
  • Although a smaller mountain, Showdown is the perfect hill for skiers/boarders of any skill level.
  • 2 chairlifts take you directly to the top of the mountain so you don’t have to worry about switching chairs at midway.
  • Showdown offers everything from the “bunny hill” to terrain parks and even advanced skiing such as cliffs and moguls.
  • Hosts a lot of fun events and competitions throughout the year such as the popular mannequin jump.
  • After a long day of skiing, enjoy local beer and live music at the “Hole in the Wall Saloon” located in the lodge on the hill.

Website: http://www.showdownmontana.com/

The goal of this blog post was to hopefully bring awareness to anyone who enjoys skiing in Montana looking to try something new. The true Montana outdoor experience isn’t a fancy experience with all the bells and whistles. The best way to experience Montana’s beauty is to escape from the world and simply enjoy the little things in life. Given the proper settings these “gems” will not disappoint anyone looking for a new Montana skiing experience.

 

 

Post By: Dawson Auck

We Shouldn’t Play Russian Roulette with a Smith River Mine

Tony Angland standing in cabin lot: circa 1969
My grandfather Tony Angland (right) and friends on the cabin lot: circa 1969
Tony Angland building the cabin
Cabin construction

The Smith River has always been a special place in my family’s heart. In August of 1969, my grandparents purchased a 100 x 150 foot lot in the Smith River Canyon for $1200. About 5 years earlier, my grandfather helped others build cabins in the same area and took advantage of the awesome fly fishing. He says “That’s what really solidified that it was the right place…for a family.” My grandmother jokes that it was only the right place for his fly fishing.  A few other folks also purchased land around the same time as my grandparents and over time the area has grown into a community of 24 property owners.  A large amount of them hail from Great Falls and Helena, with the exception of a few others from around the state.  Now a majority of the second generation property owners also have their own children. Their ages range from toddlers to college aged kids.  In recent years, the area’s popularity has driven others to purchase land and build cabins of their own.

View of Angland cabin and canyon: circa 1970

 

Fast forward to 2016. My family is now having a hard time relaxing with the thought of a proposed copper mine threatening the Smith. By now, most have heard about the Canadian mining company Tintina Resources, which plans to build its “Black Butte Copper Mine” on private land near the headwaters of the Smith on Sheep Creek. This poses a few different risks. What is known as acid mine drainage can occur. This is when the mining process exposes sulfide minerals to water and air. A chemical reaction then occurs and forms sulfuric acid. Sheep Creek is vital to the Smith’s water flow and spawns half the trout that populate it. Given that fact, the mine drainage could ultimately ruin the world class angling the Smith is known for. On the other hand, acid mine drainage is harmful to people. Local ranchers and property owners rely on the Smith for drinking water and irrigation.

2015 Animas River Spill
Acid mine drainage during the 2015 Animas River disaster

Exposure to high levels of copper can also increase the risk of lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Acid mine drainage can occur long after mining ends, so there would be no immediate way to tell if humans are exposed to it. Another risk of mining is the pumping of groundwater. In most years, the Smith’s water levels become very low. When mines pump groundwater it can lower water levels even more, creating a particularly stressful environment on trout. This would greatly affect the fishing potential. Lastly, mining activities have the potential to expose nasty chemicals like arsenic and lead. These chemicals could drain into the groundwater and pollute the Smith, and no one wants to see that happen.

 

Tintina Resources, which is essentially a penny stock company, says the mine will produce around 200 jobs. The locals in the nearby town of White Sulphur Springs are particularly excited for a chance to boost their suffering economy. The town has experienced tough times since the local lumber mill shut down around 30 years ago.  According to Tintina, the mine is projected to have an active life of only 14 years.

There are a few different reasons we have a right to be nervous about the proposal of this mine. Firstly, Montana has quite a history of failed mines. Mines near Anaconda, Lewistown, and Malta have proven to be disastrous in the past. Secondly, Sandfire Resources, an Australian mining company, has 53% stake in the project. Do we really believe that foreign investors 8,000 away carry the best interests of Montanans in mind?

Copper tailing pond
Tailing pond

Thirdly, many mining companies have tried to ease locals by stating they have the latest, most environmentally friendly technology, but we should be weary of these promises. In the past there have been a handful of times that mining operators underestimated the effects their mines had on water quality. Also, mines have what is known as a tailing pond, which has also been referred to as a mine dump. This is basically a pond that stores the chemical waste from the mining activities. Tailing ponds are described as some of the largest environmental liabilities in the mining industry. Tintina says that the mine would be the first to use cement in their barriers to hold the waste in. Speaking about the potential pollution, CEO Bruce Hooper said that “We don’t see any potential — especially with the cemented tailings — we can have any detrimental effects on the environment.” This is a large claim. How can we be 100% sure that nothing will happen to the Smith? The Smith is no place to test out a new science experiment.

Limestone cliffs on Smith River

The first time I saw the Smith I was still in diapers, and for the last 21 years of my life I have been able to call it my second home. The sight of it is quite breathtaking. There is nothing quite like watching the sunset beat down on the limestone walls or the light of a full moon reflecting off its surface. One of my favorite sounds in the world is the sound of the Smith’s peaceful flowing water. It is a place we go to relax, and reflect on the nature God has given us. When someone experiences the Smith for the first time, there is always a look of astonishment in their eyes. They take in the scenery and are immediately excited to explore what the river has to offer. Whether that is fishing, rafting, inner-tubing or cliff jumping. Whether you are old or young, the Smith has no age limit, but something to offer for everyone.

View of Smith River Canyon

 

For the last 47 years, my grandparents have seen the Smith River thrive. My family has been very fortunate to have spent as much time on the Smith as we have. If you have experienced the five-star fishing or the gorgeous multi-day float, you know how important it is.  The Smith is Montana’s only permitted river, and the level of demand has increased over the years. From 2006 to 2014 the amount of floaters on the Smith has increased from 3,941 to 5,375. In addition, the total spending by Montana residents and non-residents for fishing was $7,826,683 last year. Total, the Smith brings in around $10,000,000 in revenue for the state of Montana.  If anything were to happen to the Smith, these economic benefits would come to an abrupt end.  

smith raft

At 22 years old, it’s a very strange thought that there’s a possibility that I might, in a sense, live longer than the Smith. Growing up around the river, I want my children and my grandchildren to be able to do the same.Smith River and canoe Learning how to fish from my grandfather on the Smith is something I appreciate to this day.  As a lifelong fisherman, he would be heartbroken if anything were to happen to the river and I’m sure many others would feel the same. If the Smith was heavily polluted, nearly 50 years of family history would be reduced to nothing more than a memory. The same goes for the other 24 property owners in the area. Future generations shouldn’t have to hear stories about the Smith and what it once was. A copper mine might create jobs in the short-run but is it worth it? One mistake by Tintina Resources could kill the Smith, and that’s why preserving it is absolutely necessary. Taking a gamble on the Smith River is not in Montanans best interest, so I urge you to take action and say no to the Black Butte Copper Mine.  Contact Governor Steve Bullock by signing this petition to save our Smith River for future generations.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Colin Angland at Blodgett CanyonColin Angland is a senior at the University of Montana studying marketing.