In mountains, on roads, biking takes center stage

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By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

No matter what kind of bicycle you ride, southwest Montana will keep you happy with in-town trails, long smooth roads and beautiful vistas to choose from. Endless possibilities exist when it comes to mountain biking; the only limitations are the type of trail and level of challenge you’re looking for. Whether it’s a smooth, fast downhill rush or a thigh-burning, lung-searing ascent (or both), it’s all just a short distance from Bozeman.

In communities across Montana, bicycling and walking are safe, everyday, mainstream activities. Bicycling and walking are recognized, accommodated and funded as legitimate and essential modes of transportation.

Montanans enjoy an enhanced quality of life, a cleaner environment, and better health as a result of the commitment to bicycling. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and big skies of the Treasure State by choosing to ride instead of drive? Montana is also a model for innovative bicycling and walking facilities and programs.

The history of biking in Montana traces back to the Bike Walk Montana organization. Although it has a short history, Bike Walk Montana has a long-term vision of making Montana a safer and more accessible state for bicycling and walking. More

Cycling more than a pastime for enthusiast

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By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

From my seat in the coffee shop, I see him approach on his commuter bike. Despite the rainy weather, I’m not surprised to see Kyle Rohan show up to our interview on a bike. He sets a bright helmet on the table, asking, “What would you like to know about biking?”

Rohan is a graduate student at MSU who got into road racing when he was earning his undergraduate degree in Florida. Rohan was first interested in biking for the commuting aspect. “One day when I was riding the bus, I saw a guy on a bike pass the bus, and I was like, ‘That. That is who I want to be.’”

After initially getting interested in biking, Rohan found himself interested in competitive racing. “Road racing is a lot different in a concentrated place like Florida than it is here in Montana. For one thing, more people are involved in it,” he says.

Rohan joined the cycling team at his university and began seriously training for races: “When you’re taking racing seriously, you have to spend around 25 hours a week on your bike training.” In addition to the large number of hours of training required to be successful in the sport, collegiate racing involves a large number of hours traveling to races. More

Campaign launched against mussel invasion

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By VIRGINIA HOLST/Montana State News

Canyon Ferry and Tiber reservoirs are being infested by mussels, and the state is doing everything it can to prevent them from spreading to other bodies of water.

Aquatic invasive mussels first arrived in Montana in 2016. Other states that have been infested by these pests have incurred millions of dollars in damage to facilities, as well as issues with water and other species health, according to the Montana Mussel Response Website.

“They can change the ecosystem in ways you don’t want the ecosystem to change,” according to Dan Malloy, a research scientist who studies the invasive species. These mussels feed on plankton, a major food source for sportfish, which may be problematic in Montana as the economy largely relies on fishermen.

Boaters and other recreational water users inadvertently transport Zebra and Quagga Mussel larva nearly every time that they don’t properly clean their equipment. Therefore, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) is doing everything it can to prevent the dangers that tag along with these tag-alongs. More

Climbers are the face of unusual foundation

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BY MICHELLE BURGER/Montana State News

Mountain climbers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin recently lectured at Montana State University on behalf of the MSU leadership institute and the Khumbu Climbing Center. The talk focused on their growing success, their failures and their life after what has become regarded as their iconic ascent.

Conrad Anker, a renowned climber living in Bozeman, teamed up with filmmaker and producer Jimmy Chin to speak on behalf of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation came to life following 2008 after the film Meru came out. The film documents two ascents, one unsuccessful in 2008 when they lost fellow climber Lowe, the other when Anker, Chin and Rennan Ozturk successfully ascended Meru’s famous peak with its shark fin features in 2011.

The movie Meru shed publicity on all the climbers, but more importantly about Anker. Anker serves on many boards for the area. He was able to connect to communities around the area to educate about the dangers he and his colleagues faced during the ascents. More

Mystery Ranch develops paratrooper backpack

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By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

For decades, technology for parachute deployment has remained relatively stagnant. However, thanks to the efforts of local backpack manufacturer Mystery Ranch, that has changed. In March, Mystery Ranch released a new line of high-altitude jump packs that significantly reduce the baggage on military parachutists.

Mystery Ranch employee Liz O’Brien said, “The design for jump packs hasn’t changed much since Vietnam. This is the first major shift since then.”

With the inclusion of several carefully placed loops, Mystery Ranch’s efficient new design supplants the need for additional equipment that ensures lines connecting the chute deploy properly.

The new design will make U.S. military parachutist operations smoother and will free up space for mission-critical items.

Though the U.S. military has contracted Mystery Ranch packs for over a decade, beginning with Navy SEAL prototypes in 2004, they produce a variety of backpack styles for many different situations, including mountaineering, climbing, hunting, everyday use, and even heat-resistant packs designed especially for firefighters. More

County Commission calls for grizzly delisting

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By RANIA AMPNTEL CHAFINT/Montana State News

The Gallatin County Commission announced support to delist grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act during their meeting on Tuesday, after hearing a presentation from HAVEN, a domestic violence victims advocacy group.

The grizzly bear population has grown in recent years to where it no longer needs to be listed as endangered. “The recovery of grizzly bears is a conservation success story that we all really need to proud of,” a representative from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said.

Delisting the animal would allow the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to come up with a conservation strategy and implement hunting season regulations to manage the number of bears, according to the representative.

The County Commission agreed to sign a letter of support to delist the animal. “We now have a pretty good understanding of the current population and the sustainability of that population,” one commissioner said. More

Panel endorses opposition to elk feeding

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By JORDAN SPARR/Montana State News

The state Senate Fish and Game Commitee last month approved a resolution opposing the Wyoming practice of feeding elk in winter.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 was passed unanimously to formally address Wyoming on the matters of wild elk feeding grounds. Fish Wildlife and Game of Wyoming has been feeding herds of wild elk, which has caused the spread of brucellosis and wasting disease among the 20,000 elk that feed artificially on these public lands.

The joint resolution was made to formally address Wyoming on the matter of spreading these diseases to Montana elk populations. Two major points brought up to push the bill forward were that no other state is currently practicing this method of elk support, and that it is completely unnatural. More

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