Montana is home to some of the last, best free-flowing rivers in the Lower 48. From world famous recreational activities like fly-fishing and boating to clean water used for drinking water and irrigation, Montanans’ lives are intertwined with their rivers. Outdoor recreation supports 64,000 Montana jobs and generates $5.8 billion in consumer spending, $1.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $403 million in state and local tax revenue. Plus our rivers, lakes and mountains provide the kind of setting where people want to invest and bring jobs in light industry, technology, health care and a host of other sectors that offer good jobs for Montana families.
While rivers, streams, and wetlands make up less than 5% of Montana’s land area, they support more than 75% of the state’s bird and mammal species for at least part of their life cycles. The magnificent wetlands and cottonwood galleries along rivers like the Yellowstone, Flathead and Bitterroot Rivers are home to more wildlife species than any habitat in Montana, from eagles and osprey to deer, elk and moose to black and grizzly bears. Our river corridors provide vital breeding and foraging habitat and serve as critical wildlife travel corridors.
But our rivers are much more than that. They represent family, community, prosperity, and the Montana way of life. Tell us what you find special about Montana’s rivers.