Montana is a state of extremes, from high mountains to great plains. Half the population lives in just five communities and another third of residents lives in just ten others. After the big ones, the remaining 134 incorporated towns are often unique, often overlooked, and all small, yet personify so much of the Big Sky. These small towns were built around gold, coal and oil, timber, cows and sheep, early trails, roads and rails. But time brings change. Why do some smaller towns hang in while others drift away? A few invent new roles and others reinvent themselves. Should we care? A discussion helps us understand the small places that are a big part of the Montana story.
An educator for 34 years, today Hal is an instructor for the University of Montana’s Lifelong Learning Institute and Humanities Montana. He has a particularly fond interest in sharing his passion for Montana and the West and education with community members, students, teachers and administrators. He has led tours coast to coast and lectured in over 40 states, Germany, England, Japan, Korea and Brazil. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Notre Dame and his advanced degrees are from the University of Montana. His military schools include OCS, Command and General Staff and the Army War College.