From the Old to New West : changes in landownership and land use in the Crazy Mountains, Montana from 1900 to 2000

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Land and life across the Mountainous West are changing rapidly. Traditionally, mountain localities of the western United States have been centers of natural resource extraction and production. Many of these settings however, are being redefined as part of an amenity-oriented, economy and lifestyle. Whereas Old West landscapes reflect industries of mining, farming, ranching, and logging, the New West has become a spatial arena for recreation, tourism, and second-home development. Consequently, different land use ethos and land management practices between residents have led to conflict over resources. This study reconstructs settlement patterns and land use histories for southwest Montana's Crazy Mountains between 1900 and 2000 to illustrate some of the ways in which the dichotomous interplay of Old and New West economies has quietly reshaped the region's human geography and cultural landscape. In addition, interview data with local residents allowed an examination of the complex mosaic of changing cultural values that accompany the transformation between the Old and New West. Changes in the landscape evolution of the Crazy Mountains are reflective of broader transformations that have taken place at the regional and national level.




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