Missoula County, Montana

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Missoula County, Montana
Missoula county courthouse.jpg
Missoula County Courthouse
Map of Montana highlighting Missoula County
Location in the state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location in the U.S.
Founded February 2, 1865
Seat Missoula
Largest city Missoula
Area
 • Total 2,618 sq mi (6,781 km2)
 • Land 2,598 sq mi (6,729 km2)
 • Water 20 sq mi (52 km2), 0.78%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 111,807
 • Density 36/sq mi (14/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website www.co.missoula.mt.us

Missoula County is a county located in the State of Montana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 109,299,[1] making it the second most populous county in Montana. Its county seat and largest city is Missoula.[2]

Missoula County comprises the Missoula, MT Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Missoula County, Washington Territory was incorporated in 1860. Missoula County encompassed present-day Missoula and Deer Lodge Counties, as well as a good portion of land north and south of present-day Missoula County. Hell Gate Town, the county seat, was located at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers.

The area encompassing today's Missoula County officially became part of the United States as a result of Oregon Treaty of June 14, 1846. It was part of the Oregon Territory's Clark County, which replaced the District of Vancouver September 3, 1844. The territory was divided on March 2, 1853 with Clark County becoming part of the new Washington Territory. Clark County was divided the next year to create Skamania County, which a month later was divided to create Walla Walla County, which was further divided in 1858 to create Spokane County.[3]

Finally, on December 14, 1860 Missoula County was carved out of Spokane County with the county seat at Hell Gate. The county made up the entire region between modern-day Idaho and the Continental Divide north of the 46th parallel.[4] When Idaho Territory was created in 1863 it adopted Missoula County as the territory's 3rd county on January 16, 1864 with more or less the same boundaries and Wordensville (Missoula) established as the county seat.[5][6] This first county consisted of all or part of current Ravalli, Missoula, Granite, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Powell Mineral, Lake, Sanders, Lincoln, Flathead, and Glacier Counties.

Missoula County became a part of Montana Territory when the territory was organized out of the existing Idaho Territory by Act of Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 26, 1864. At this time Deer Lodge County (today Deer Lodge, Granite, Silver Bow, and Powell Counties) was cut out of Missoula.[7] The creation of Flathead (today Flathead and Lincoln Counties) and Ravalli Counties in 1893, Powell in 1901, Sanders in 1905, MIneral in 1914 and finally Lake County in 1923 gave Missoula its present borders.[8]

Law and Government[edit]

Missoula County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners of three members; each serving six-year terms staggered so as to have one election every two years. The commission has authority over all legislative, executive, and administrative issues throughout the county not specifically reserved by law or ordinance to other elected officials.[9]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Missoula County has a total area of 2,618 square miles (6,780 km2), of which, 2,598 square miles (6,730 km2) of it is land and 20 square miles (52 km2) of it (0.78%) is water.[10] It is the 24th largest county in Montana.

Geographic features[edit]

Five large valleys and two major rivers wind through this mountainous region.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Located in the Northern Rockies Missoula County has a typical Rocky Mountain ecology. Local wildlife includes populations of white-tailed deer, black bears, osprey, and bald eagles. During the winter months, rapid snow melt on Mount Jumbo due to its steep slope leaves grass available for grazing elk and mule deer. The rivers around Missoula provide nesting habitats for bank swallows, northern rough-winged swallows and belted kingfishers. Killdeer and spotted sandpipers can be seen foraging insects along the gravel bars. Other species include song sparrows, catbirds, several species of warblers, and the pileated woodpecker. The rivers also provide cold, clean water for native fish such as westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. The meandering streams also attract beaver and wood ducks.[11]

Native riparian plant life includes sandbar willows and cottonwoods with Montana's state tree, the Ponderosa Pine, also being prevalent. Other native plants include wetland species such as cattails and beaked-sedge as well as shrubs and berry plants like Douglas hawthorn, chokecherry, and western snowberries.[11] To the chagrin of local farmers, Missoula is also home to several noxious weeds which multiple programs have set out to eliminate. Notable ones include dalmatian toadflax, spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, St. John's wort, and sulfur cinquefoil.[12] Controversially, the Norway Maples that line many of Missoula's older streets have also been declared an invasive species.[13]

Climate[edit]

Missoula County has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with cold and moderately snowy winters, hot and dry summers, and spring and autumn are short and crisp in between. Winter conditions are usually far milder than much of the rest of the state due to its western position within the state. However the mildness is also induced by the dampness, as unlike much of the rest of the state, precipitation is not at a strong minimum during winter. Winter snowfall averages 43 inches (109 cm), with most years seeing very little of it from April to October. Summers see very sunny conditions, with highs peaking at 84 °F (28.9 °C) in July. However, temperature differences between day and night are large during this time and from April to October, due to the relative aridity.[14][15]

Climate data for Missoula, Montana (Missoula Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
(15)
66
(19)
75
(24)
87
(31)
95
(35)
98
(37)
107
(42)
105
(41)
99
(37)
85
(29)
73
(23)
60
(16)
107
(42)
Average high °F (°C) 30.8
(−0.67)
37.4
(3)
48.1
(8.9)
58.0
(14.4)
66.1
(18.9)
74.5
(23.6)
83.6
(28.7)
83.2
(28.4)
71.5
(21.9)
57.4
(14.1)
40.0
(4.4)
30.3
(−0.94)
56.7
(13.7)
Average low °F (°C) 16.2
(−8.8)
20.5
(−6.4)
27.1
(−2.7)
32.4
(0.2)
39.3
(4.1)
45.9
(7.7)
50.2
(10.1)
49.3
(9.6)
40.6
(4.8)
31.4
(−0.33)
24.0
(−4.4)
16.5
(−8.6)
32.8
(0.4)
Record low °F (°C) −33
(−36)
−27
(−33)
−13
(−25)
14
(−10)
21
(−6.1)
30
(−1.1)
31
(−0.6)
30
(−1.1)
20
(−6.7)
0
(−18)
−23
(−31)
−30
(−34)
−33
(−36)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.06
(26.9)
.77
(19.6)
.96
(24.4)
1.09
(27.7)
1.95
(49.5)
1.73
(43.9)
1.09
(27.7)
1.15
(29.2)
1.08
(27.4)
.83
(21.1)
.96
(24.4)
1.15
(29.2)
13.82
(351)
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.8
(27.4)
7.0
(17.8)
5.4
(13.7)
1.4
(3.6)
.4
(1)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.9
(2.3)
6.2
(15.7)
11.2
(28.4)
43.3
(110)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 13.3 10.1 11.7 10.7 11.9 11.3 8.0 7.9 7.8 7.6 11.6 12.8 124.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 10.5 7.2 5.8 2.0 .3 0 0 0 0 1.1 6.1 10.6 43.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 96.1 135.6 210.8 246.0 279.0 312.0 390.6 334.8 264.0 195.3 99.0 83.7 2,646.9
Source: NOAA (normals 1971−2000),[16][17] HKO (sun 1961−1990)[18]

National protected areas[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Missoula County is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as nine counties. Neighboring Flathead County borders ten counties or county-equivalents.

Economy[edit]

Missoula County has a diverse economy as a growing regional trade center with several major employers such as the University of Montana, regional hospitals, and the U.S. Forest Service each employing thousands. However, though 90% of wage and salary workers work for small businesses with under 20 workers with a quarter of them self-employed.[19]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,554
1880 2,537 −0.7%
1890 14,427 468.7%
1900 13,964 −3.2%
1910 23,596 69.0%
1920 24,041 1.9%
1930 21,782 −9.4%
1940 29,038 33.3%
1950 35,493 22.2%
1960 44,663 25.8%
1970 58,263 30.5%
1980 76,016 30.5%
1990 78,687 3.5%
2000 95,802 21.8%
2010 109,299 14.1%
Est. 2012 110,977 1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 95,802 people, 38,439 households, and 23,140 families residing in Missoula County. The population density was 37 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 41,319 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was:

1.61% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.7% were of German, 13.0% Irish, 10.4% English, 8.5% Norwegian and 5.6% American ancestry.

There were 38,439 households out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.40% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.80% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the age distribution of the population shows 22.90% under the age of 18, 15.40% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 10.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,454, and the median income for a family was $44,865. Males had a median income of $31,605 versus $21,720 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,808. About 8.80% of families and 14.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.60% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other communities[edit]

Education[edit]

School districts[edit]

Missoula County is home to 18 school districts (13 Elementary, 2 Secondary, and 3 Unified).[22]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Missoula County is home to the University of Montana and the University of Montana College of Technology.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Contributions, with transactions, Volume (1895)2. "A Sketch by Judge Frank H. Woody". Montana Historical Society.
  4. ^ Missoula County 1860
  5. ^ "An Act Establishing Counties, County Boundaries, and County Seats East of the Bitter Root Mountains" Idaho Territory Session Laws: 1863-1864 p. 674-677
  6. ^ Washington, Oregon and Idaho Map 1863
  7. ^ Montana Territory 1865
  8. ^ Montana History Wiki
  9. ^ Missoula County Board of County Commissioners
  10. ^ "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Missoula Conservation Lands Management Plan". Missoula Parks and Recreation. 1 Jun 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  12. ^ UM Natural Areas: Integrated Plant Management Program
  13. ^ Chaney, Rob (2011-09-28). "City sees some success removing Norway maples from Greenough Park". Missoulian.com. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  14. ^ NOAA "Station Information Data Sheet - Missoula, Montana". NOAA. January 1998. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  15. ^ "Climatography of the United States No. 20 1971–2000". NOAA. February 2004. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  16. ^ "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  17. ^ "July 2007 was a record setting month in terms of temperatures across western Montana and north central Idaho". National Weather Service. 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  18. ^ "Climatological Normals of Missoula". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  19. ^ The People, Economy, Land, and Resources of Missoula County and Potential Vulnerabilities to Climate Change
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  22. ^ School District Reference Maps (2010 Census) - Montana

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°02′N 113°56′W / 47.04°N 113.93°W / 47.04; -113.93