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Rocky Mountain Front

Aerial photo of the East Front with a stream and wetlands in the foreground and snow capped mountains in the backgroundThe Rocky Mountain Front is a spectacular and expansive landscape at the juncture of the Rocky Mountains to the western margin of the Northern Great Plains. In Montana, the East Front encompasses an area from roughly just north of Helena, Montana, angling northwest to the Canadian border. The abrupt change from rolling prairie to mountain topography produces significant elevational and climactic gradients, creating a high level of species and community diversity. The continental ice sheet reached just north of Choteau, Montana, leaving many locally abundant prairie potholes. Much of the local topography was affected by alpine glaciers. The exceptional habitat diversity is directly linked to the dramatic transition from high elevation alpine tundra and montane forest, to foothills and mid-grass prairie. These communities are connected by important riparian corridors. Glaciated wetlands scattered across native grasslands adds to the habitat diversity. The associated plant and animal diversity is unmatched.

The Rocky Mountain Front's native plant and animal populations are generally intact due to sparse settlement and an economy based principally on ranching. Economically viable ranching operations have been a key factor in maintaining the Rocky Mountain Front’s fish and wildlife habitat. Tourism and recreation are growing in economic importance to the area.


For More Information, Contact:

Sue McNeal
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
100 N. Park  Suite 320
Helena, MT  59601
(406) 449-5225 ext. 209
Susan_McNeal@fws.gov


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