Area, 147,138 sq mi (381,087 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 902,195, a 12.9% increase since the 1990 census.
Largest city, Billings.
Motto, Oro y Plata [Gold and Silver].
State bird, Western meadowlark.
State flower, bitterroot.
State tree, Ponderosa pine.
In and around Montana's mountainous western region are the large mineral deposits for which the state is famous: copper, silver, gold, platinum, zinc, lead, and manganese. The eastern part of the state is noted for its petroleum and natural gas, and there are also vast subbituminous coal deposits, worked largely at the most extensive U.S. open-pit mines. Montana also mines vermiculite, chromite, tungsten, molybdenum, and palladium. Leading industries manufacture forest products, processed foods, and refined petroleum.
Wheat is the most valuable farm item, with cattle also of primary importance. Other principal crops include barley, sugar beets, and hay.
Much of the fourth largest U.S. state is still sparsely populated country dominated by spectacular nature. High granite peaks, forests, lakes, and such wonders as those of Glacier National Park attract many visitors to Montana. Other places of interest include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Big Hole National Battlefield, and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and the National Bison Range, near Ravalli, where herds of buffalo may be seen.
Helena is the capital, Billings and Great Falls the largest cities; other important cities include Missoula and Butte.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003