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Sidney , Montana
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May 18, 2014     Sidney Herald
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SIDNEY HERALD Montana SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2014 9A i  !  i iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii The Crazies: Dramatic island of mountains in central Montana BY RICK AND SUSIE GRAETZ UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA "It's a good country. Where a man can sit in his saddle and see...all across to the west stretch the Crazies, and, swinging in the stir- rups, a man has to throw back his head to follow their abrupt shoulders up to the white crests of the peaks. A pretty clean country , where a man can see a long way and have something to see." -- Spike Van Cleve's words from "Forty Years' Gatherin's," speaking of the view from his ranch Considered an island range due to its location separate of the main Northern Rockies, the Crazy Mountains of south central Montana are more akin to the Rockies than they are to the state's other rounded and more forested isolated ranges. The valleys of the Yel- lowstone and Shields rivers set them well apart from the Absarokas to the south -- and the Bridgers on the west. They are only about 30 miles by 15 miles in size, but serve as sentinels on the horizon from many points east. Here, the transition from prairie to mountains is dramatic. In a 20-mile span from the river bottoms of the Yellowstone to the pinnacle of Crazy Peak, the terrain rises more than 7,000 feet. These "Crazy Woman Mountains," as the Na- tive Americans sometimes called them, are crowned by ll,214-foot Crazy Peak. With 25 pinnacles soaring to more than 10,000 feet, they are the third highest range in the state. Ice, wind and water erosion sculptured them and created the more than 40 jewel-like lakes scattered amongst the sharp saw- toothed ridges and alpine basins. Today, only one ice-age remnant remains, Grasshopper Glacier, which clings to a north facing headwall between Cotton- wood and Rock lakes on the west perimeter. Nearly vertical slopes lead to the highest summits and windswept barren ridges. Mountain goats find this terrain to their liking and frequent the steepest areas. The northern flanks of the Crazy Mountains are gentler, and the vegetation more lush, than the rocky and precipitous southern reaches. The historic Mus- sellshell River has its head- waters here in the north, and the Shields River begins its flow from the sheerer west ramparts. Sweet Grass Creek, heading toward the Yellowstone, rushes out of one of the deep eastern canyons. There are several stories on how the mountains got their name. One was that a wagon train, coming through the Mussellshell Valley, was attacked by Indi- ans. A woman's family was killed, and it is said, she ran into the mountains to haunt the tribe. Another has it that a woman settler was sepa- rated from her wagontrain and wandered into these peaks. People thought that she couldn't survive without going mad, so the range was dubbed the "Crazy Woman Mountains." Others claimed it was because they popped up in the middle of nowhere or because of the convoluted geologic formations found there. Take your pick. The Crazies are signifi- cant to Native American culture. In 1847, Chief Plenty Coup, a great chief RICK AND SUSIE GRAETZ I UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA Yellowstone River near Crazy Mountains: Montana's iconic Crazy Mountains are seen in the background of this Yellowstone River scene. of the Crow Nation, climbed Crazy Peak to seek a vision so he might properly lead and guide his people. Although they do not enjoy the lasting protection wilderness status would give them, the extremely rough terrain and the at- titude of local ranchers -- and lately of the Forest Ser- vice -- has kept this country pristine and relatively free of roads. Checkerboard ownership places a good portion of the landscape in private hands, including favorite climbing places such as Reconstruction project planned in Fairview this time, no new right-of- way is anticipated; however relocation of utilities will be required. For more information, please contact Glendive District administrator Shane Mintz at 406-345-8212 or project design engineer Steve Heidner at 406-345 8247. For the hearing impaired, the TTY number is 406-444- 7696 or 1-800-335-7592, or call the Montana Relay at 711. Members of the public may submit written comments to the Montana Department of Transportation Glendive of- fice at PO Box 890, Glendive MT 59330-0890 or online at www.mdt.mt.gov/mdt/com- ment__form.shtml. The Montana Department of Transportation notifies the public and seeks com- ments on a proposal to reconstruct about 1.9 miles of Montana Highway 200, through Fairview in Rich- land County. The project begins south of Fairview, at reference post 62.3 and extends through town for 1.9 miles ending at the North Dakota border at reference post 64.2. Proposed work will in- clude the following: At the beginning of the project (reference post 62.3), there will be major reha- bilitation of the pavement to Second Street in Fairview. Rehabilitation will consist of new plant mix surfacing or concrete pavement, new storm drain system and replacement of existing sidewalks and curbs in poor condition. From Second Street to the end of the project (reference post 64.2) the road will be completely reconstructed. The new asphalt surfacing will be finished with a seal and cover (chip seal) and the road will receive upgraded pavement marking, signage and rumble strips where ap- propriate." The project is tentatively scheduled for construction on completion of all project. development activities and availability of funding. At cyFc LI N 00STEEL & RE we pag for: Scrap Metal, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Batteries lind much More. I SERVhVG THE k/ONOAKAREA FOR OVER 70 YEARS! 35023 County Road 123-Sidney, MT -iII:IIj. Conical, Granite and Crazy peaks and Rock Lake. Some owners will give permission to enter, but most will not allow motorized use of this wild country. Foot and horse travel only! The same goes for much of the public land. There isn't an access shortage, as most of the footpaths traverse Gallatin Program prepares More than 6,200 Montana residents filed their taxes for free thanks to the Volun- teer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Organizations and their volunteers with the Mon- tana VITA Partnership (MVP) prepared a record number of returns this year, which representatives say is a fantastic accom- plishment given that there were fewer sites and fewer volunteers than in previous National Forest ground. One of the most popular routes into the Crazies is reached from Highway 191 between Big Timber and Harlowton via Big Timber Canyon. Beginning at Half Moon Campground, the trail climbs to the high areas around Conical Peak and the Twin Lakes area and then crosses a pass before lowering to Sweetgrass Creek and another trail- head. Tracks also lead to the west side of the range from WilsaU and Clyde Park. There are about 66 miles of horse and walking byways within the Crazy Moun- tains. tax returns for low-income residents years. "We increased the number of returns filed at VITA sites around the state by more than 14 percent over last year, and the number of returns filed through our free online website increased by nearly 80 per- cent," Carin McClain, VITA program manager with Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, said. "The website is an- other way that we can serve Montanans that might not be able to make it to one of our brick and mortar sites." The Montana Credit Unions for Community Development leads the coalition that aims to share expertise and build capacity around free tax preparation and asset development. The tax preparation and filing service is free for those who qualify thanks to a $76,800 grant from the Internal Revenue Service. 1st Bank Dan Johnson Margin's Car Wash Richland Inn & Suites 1 st Choice Collision Consulting, Inc. Mark Anthony & Co. Rkhland Pump & Supply A & P Enterprises Depot Martini Steel Rocky Top Trucking A Little Off the Top Douglas Quilling MDU Rodney Bell Action Auto Dr. Edward Pierce Merchant's Bank Roger & Leigh Merrilt Advanced Dr. O'Brien Midrivers Communications Dr. Michael LaPan Millers Corner Rug Emporium All West/Creekside Dr. Tony Fisher Mitchell's Oilfield Rush American Land Eagle Oil Field Service Service S/L Services Development Corp. Edward Jones Montana Seitz Insurance Ameriprise Financial Edward Jones Turf N Wheels Selma M. Levno API Edward Jones NAPA Auto Parts Sidney Country Club Associated Eggum Construction Netzer Law Firm Sidney Uvestock Professionals of Sidney Electricland Nick Jones Real Estate Market Center Inc. B & B Builders Elk River Printing Northwest Farm Sidney Health Center Badlands Power Fuels LLC Farm & Home Supply Credit Services Sidney Uquor Store Beagle Properties Fink Dental Center Pacific Steel Sidney Paint & Glass Becky & Jody Heinle Footers & Recycling Sidney Red-E Mix Bean Bag Franz Construction Shopko Sidney Sugars Big Sky Siding Frontier Heating Panninis Pizza Brenner & Averett J:ulkerson Funeral Home Paul & Janet Brannan Smith, Lange & Halley, PC Cattle-At - PJ Gem Cily Motors Picture Perfect Sonda's Solutions Entertainment Inc. Greta Levne- Origami Owl Pizza Hut South 40ANinners Pub Cenex Gullivers Planet Hair SPF #23 Central Hair'Em Head to Toe Prairie Electric Stockman Bank (Sheri Madison) High Caliber Sports Prewitt Cattle Co Sugar Refiners Employees Central Hair'Em Hi-Line Trucking R & J Ag Supply Sunny's Family (Pam Klempel) Hurley Enterprises Inc. Randy & Libby Berndt Restaurant Chuck's Plumbing Interstate Engineering Raymond & Sunrise Equipment Club Tavern J & L Fencing Heather Johnson Terri Zadow CM Built Doors John Stockhill Jewelery Reese & Ray's IGA TNT Well Service Con's Weed Control Johnson Hardware Reynolds Trendz Salon Continental Resources Journey's by Jan Richard and Pam Dahl Creative Solutions Linda Casey Richland Agency LLC Tri-County Imp. Craig and Karen Lions Club Richland Counly Fair VFW Steinbeisser Lucky Buckle Richland Co. Video Hot Spot Custom Fencing LYREA Enforcement Walmart & Welding M & C Beverages Richland Federal Yellowstone M & S Builders Credit Union Chiropractic