Our Top 5 Stories of 2017

As another year wraps up, we at Prairie Populist are looking back at 2017. Thanks so much to our readers for all of your support and feedback throughout this year. We tip our hats to you and to 2017. In celebration, here are our top 5 favorite stories from the year.

Into the Black

Into the Black tells the story of a strong ranching community in Eastern Montana in the wake of the Lodgepole Fires. The Lodgepole Complex burned over 270,000 acres in July, and left behind charred range land and devastated fields.
We spoke with concerned ranchers who feared that they’d lost much of their livelihood, and we witnessed support rolling in from across the state as truckloads of donations came through Jordan.
The many folks in this story give true meaning to Montana Strong.

160,000 Acres Charred, Seeley Moving Ahead

The perfect combination of drought, fuel, lightning, and wind turned the Rice Ridge Fire into one hell of a wildfire. Smoke inundated the valley for weeks, and Seeley Lake’s economy took a big blow.
When a wildfire sweeps through a healthy forest, that forest regenerates. It comes back stronger. When a wildfire impacts a healthy community, that community can also regenerate. It, too, will come back stronger.
160,000 Acres Charred tells the story of Seeley Lake, a resilient community determined to recover.

Terry, Montana: Badlands of Opportunity

Terry, Montana is the gateway to the Terry Badlands, a striking landscape of high ridgelines, deep drainages,  gnarled spires, and colorful rocks.
Eastern Montana may look like a blur from the highway, but if you slow down and pull off, you’ll notice the beauty and nuance that shapes this part of the state.
Badlands of Opportunity tells the story of Terry, a town with passionate people and a rich history. It’s a place where folks are trying their damnedest to keep their rural town from drying up and blowing away.

Walking Through Crunchy Grass

Hunters in Eastern Montana may not have the luxury of vast national forests, but they still have access to some prime hunting. The name of the game out here is partnership. Hunters, landowners, and our state’s wildlife management agency have worked together to secure access to 7.3 million acres of private land for hunters.
This year was one of the driest on record. Poor conditions led many land owners to restrict public access. Walking Through Crunchy Grass is one hunter’s story of empathy and gratitude. His plea to his fellow hunter: “This year, if you lose your usual hunting spot, don’t get mad. Ask what you can do to help the landowner make it through a rough time, and thank them for your past opportunities.”

Strength in Neighbors: Musselshell Valley Shows its Resilience — Again

The folks in the Musselshell Valley have dealt with everything from flood to fire. Yet they remain resilient. They persevere through the tough times.
The Musselshell cannot claim strength in numbers, but it can claim strength in neighbors.
Strength in Neighbors highlights some of the different efforts taken by folks in the Musselshell Valley to support each other in times of need and to make improvements to prepare themselves for the next disaster.



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