Montana ranching is a mutiple use program. The hay fields are cleared areas that yielded lumber to build homes and outbuildings for the homesteaders. Clearing and leveling led to plowing and irrigating to produce cattle feed.
The improved habitat encouraged wildlife populations to expand.
And, the remaining forest provides a continuous supply of lumber when properly managed.
Our fishing guide, Jerry, holds the lumber lease on about 3,000 acres and harvested about 250,000 board feet of lumber last year, a one-man lumber company. Locally these types of logging operations are called jippo loggers.
Jerry also sells some cut lumber to local users – delivered on the ranch. Here’s a picture of his portable mill.
Jerry and other locals support themselves with these local resourses.