Regional designations of Montana

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The Regional designations of Montana vary widely within the U.S state of Montana. The state is a large geographical area (147,046 square miles (380,850 km2)) that is split by the Continental Divide, resulting in watersheds draining into the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson's Bay. The state is approximately 545 miles (877 km) east to west along the Canadian border and 320 miles (510 km) north to south. The fourth largest state in land area, it has been divided up in official and unofficial ways into a variety of regions. Additionally, Montana is part of a number of larger federal government administrative regions.

Unofficial designations[edit]

Various parts of Montana have been given a number of formal and informal names, including:

  • Eastern Montana, with varying definitions placing the western boundary anywhere from the Continental Divide to areas east of Billings, Montana.
  • Western Montana, with varying definitions placing the eastern boundary boundary anywhere from the Continental Divide to the eastern edge of the Absaroka Range.
  • Central Montana, with varying definitions.
  • The Hi-Line, a region of northern Montana close to the Canadian border along which runs the main line of the Great Northern Railway and U.S. Highway 2.[1]
  • The "Golden Triangle," an area noted for grain growing, outlined by the cities of Havre, Conrad and Great Falls.[2]
  • Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes all or parts of Gallatin and Custer National Forests in addition to Yellowstone National Park
  • Many Glacier, is a region within Glacier National Park. The region is located north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, on the east side of the park.
  • Medicine Line, the name given the 49th parallel border between the U.S. and Canada between Lake of the Woods and the continental divide by Native Americans because of its seemingly magical ability to prevent U.S. soldiers from crossing it.[3]
  • The Flathead, encompassing the area around Flathead Lake and surrounding communities
  • Two Medicine, is the collective name of a region located in the southeastern section of Glacier National Park.
  • The Bitterroot, centered around the community of Hamilton, Montana and [{Ravalli County, Montana|Ravalli County]]

Official state regions[edit]

Tourism regions[edit]

The Montana Official Travel Site ( has designated six distinct regions in the state for travel promotion.[4]

Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks regions[edit]

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has designated seven administrative regions for the purposes of fish, wildlife and parks management. [11]

Federal government regions[edit]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service[edit]

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service includes Montana in the Mountain-Prairie region which includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. [19]

Bureau of Indian Affairs agencies[edit]

Montana east of the continental divide, along with Wyoming makes up the Rocky Mountain Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) which includes the following Indian agencies in Montana.[20]

Bureau of Land Management[edit]

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) includes Montana with North and South Dakota in its Montana-Dakotas region. The BLM administers Montana through nine regional field offices. [27]

  • Billings office
  • Butte office
  • Dillon office
  • Glasgow office
  • Havre office
  • Lewistown office
  • Malta office
  • Miles City office
  • Missoula office

National Weather Service[edit]

Montana is part of the Western Region of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS maintains four regional offices in Montana.[28]

  • Billings
  • Glasgow
  • Great Falls
  • Missoula

The NWS designates regional weather reports originating from these offices as Southeastern Montana, Northeastern Montana, Central Montana and Western Montana/Central Idaho.[29]

Social Security Administration[edit]

Montana is included in the Denver Region of the Social Security Administration along with Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah.[30]

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers[edit]

Montana is included in the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division.[31]

Climate regions[edit]

In the Köppen climate classification system, Montana is predominantly a BSk (Semi-arid or Steppe) climate, with the Mountainous areas, mostly in the western parts of the state, listed as Dfb (Humid continental). Areas near Granite Peak and the highest elevations in Glacier National Park are Dfc (Continental subarctic), and a small area in the northwestern corner of the state near the Idaho border listed as Dsb (Warm summer continental).[32] The United States Department of Agriculture places most of Montana in Plant Hardiness Zones 3 and 4, with limited areas in zone 5 with a small sliver of the state centered in Sanders County in zone 6. These zone boundaries correspond closely to the Köppen classifications.[33] For purposes of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, which provides minimum insulation standards for home construction based on climate, the entire state is classified in climate zone 6, reauiring higher levels of insulation than are recommended in more temperate climates.[34]


  1. ^ Vichorek, Daniel N. (1993). The Hi-Line, Profiles of a Montana Land. Helena, Montana: American World and Geographic Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 1-56037-021-1. 
  2. ^ "Montana’s Golden Triangle". American Profile. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Rees, Tony (2007). Arc of the Medicine Line-Mapping the World's Longest Undefended Border Across the Western Plains. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8032-1791-1. 
  4. ^ "Montana Official Travel Site-Regions". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Custer Country, Montana". Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  6. ^ "Glacier Country, Montana". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  7. ^ "Gold West Country Communities". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ "Montana's Missouri River Country". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  9. ^ "Montana's Russell Country-Area Map". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  10. ^ "Montana's Yellowstone Country-Map of Region". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  11. ^ "Fish and Wildlife Regions". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  12. ^ "FWP Region 1". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  13. ^ "FWP Region 2". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  14. ^ "FWP Region 3". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  15. ^ "FWP Region 4". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  16. ^ "FWP Region 5". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  17. ^ "FWP Region 6". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  18. ^ "FWP Region 7". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  19. ^ "Mountain-Prairie Region". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  20. ^ "Indian Affairs-Rocky Mountain Region". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  21. ^ "Blackfeet Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  22. ^ "Crow Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  23. ^ "Fort Belknap Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  24. ^ "Fort Peck Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  25. ^ "Northern Cheyenne Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  26. ^ "Rocky Boy's Agency". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  27. ^ "Montana-Dakotas". U.S. Department of Interior. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  28. ^ "NOAA NWS Offices and Centers". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  29. ^ "National Maps - NOAA's National Weather Service". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  30. ^ "Denver Region". Social Security Administration. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  31. ^ "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Northwestern Division". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^