The Future of Small-town Montana Rides on Public Lands

From Dupuyer to Columbia Falls, a look at the growing recreation economy


January 25, 2018

The winds of Montana's Rocky Mountain Front buffet the empty Dupuyer Elementary School. At one time the grasslands around it teemed with family-run ranches and Dupuyer was the heart of its region. In 1966 there were 63 students. In 2015, only one remained, with a lone teacher to instruct him. It shocked no one when the school shuttered last year.

Welcome to Dupuyer. Population 86.

John Hayne, a jovial man with thickly calloused hands, graduated from Dupuyer Elementary and is now a member of the school board. He says they're still maintaining the building. "Maybe it's futile," he says with...

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