5 Montana Towns People Are Fleeing as Soon as Possible

Photo of author
Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Montana is renowned for its natural beauty, wildlife, and outdoor activities, but not all its towns share the same allure for residents and visitors. Some face significant challenges such as economic decline, environmental issues, crime, and isolation. Here are five Montana towns experiencing population decline:


Colstrip, primarily a coal mining town, is grappling with the industry’s downturn. Its four coal-fired power plants are at risk of closure or reduced operations, jeopardizing jobs and the town’s tax base. Moreover, Colstrip contends with air pollution, water contamination, and coal ash waste, posing health and environmental risks. Residents are seeking opportunities elsewhere, with some hoping for a transition to renewable energy.


Browning, the largest town on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation with around 3,000 residents, faces challenges like poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, and violence. The town bears one of the state’s highest murder rates and has recently witnessed a surge in suicides among young people. Harsh weather conditions, including blizzards, floods, and wildfires, often disrupt access to basic services and supplies. Many are leaving Browning for improved living conditions and greater opportunities.


Libby, a former logging and mining town, has been devastated by the repercussions of asbestos exposure. The town housed a vermiculite mine contaminated with asbestos, causing lung diseases and cancers among workers and residents. Declared a Superfund site in 2002, the cleanup is ongoing. People are leaving Libby to escape health hazards and economic challenges.


Roundup, a rural town influenced by the oil and gas industry’s boom and bust cycles, saw a population and revenue surge during the Bakken oil boom in the early 2010s. However, the subsequent bust left empty houses, businesses, and wells. Environmental issues like drought, erosion, and contamination further threaten agriculture and water resources. Many residents have relocated in search of stable and sustainable livelihoods.


Anaconda, a historic mining town once the world’s largest copper producer, experienced economic decline after the Anaconda Copper Mining Company’s closure in 1980. The town is surrounded by a Superfund site contaminated with arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals. Anaconda also faces economic stagnation, a lack of opportunities, and high poverty rates. Many have departed Anaconda in pursuit of better prospects.


Skipping Bail in Texas: A Risky Move With Serious Outcomes

Leave a Comment