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Premiere Date: July 5, 2011

Sweetgrass in Context

Montana's Absaroka-Beartooth Mountain Range and Sweet Grass County

The Absaroka-Beartooth Mountain Range located in Sweet Grass County, Montana, is not only home to grazing lands, but also fishing areas and wildlife migration routes.

Sweet Grass County, located in south central Montana, is home to the Crazy Mountains and the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains. Between them lie grasslands and the Yellowstone and Boulder River valleys. South of the mountains is Yellowstone National Park.

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, designated in 1978, comprises a total of 943,626 acres, 23,283 of which are located in Wyoming. The wilderness boasts glaciers, areas of tundra, canyons, streams and hundreds of alpine lakes.

The Beartooth portion, named for a peak that resembles a bear's tooth, is rather sparsely vegetated, with vast treeless plateaus and canyons, while the Absaroka section, named for local Native Americans (also called the Crow Indians), is lush, with dense forests, streams and meadows.

The Absaroka area supports bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, deer, moose, marmots, coyotes, black bears, wolves and grizzly bears. Much less wildlife is found around the Beartooth Mountains.

The area as a whole is home not only to grazing land, but also to wildlife migration routes and hunting and fishing areas, all of which Montanans aim to protect from development.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of Sweet Grass County to be 3,667 in 2009, with a population density of 1.9 people per square mile.

» French, Brett. "Environmental Group Proposes Protections for Absaroka-Beartooth Front." Billings Gazette, December 28, 2010.
» Sweet Grass County
» U.S. Census Bureau. "State and County Quick Facts: Sweet Grass County, Montana."
» "Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Fact Sheet."


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