1 killed after avalanche buries 3 people in Montana
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — An avalanche in southern Montana buried three snowmobilers from North Dakota, killing a 33-year-old man.
The Park County Sheriff’s Office says two riders were able to dig themselves out Saturday from the slide north of Cooke City on the Montana-Wyoming line. The victim and his companions have not been identified.
The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is warning people in the backcountry about dangerous conditions.
Officials said Sunday that continuing snowfall and strong winds have made the snowpack unstable and natural and human-triggered snow slides are likely.
The warnings cover the mountains near Cooke City, the Madison Range, the Gallatin Range, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone and the Bridger Range.
State to stop supporting Hell Creek State Park
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana state parks officials say they will stop supporting Hell Creek State Park unless state legislators, federal agencies and park users come up with a plan to help pay for improvements.
State officials have given them four years to come up with a plan, or they will discontinue their commitment in 2021.
The proposal to possibly leave the popular site located north of Jordan on the shores of Fort Peck Reservoir in 2021 also asked the parks division to come back to the board in February with ideas on how to raise money to keep the park open.
The Billings Gazette reports it will cost about $4 million for improvements. The state Legislature, in its last session, authorized $1.5 million for some of those fixes.
University of Montana to eliminate some tuition waivers
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The University of Montana is planning to eliminate about $2 million in tuition waivers because of budget shortfalls.
The university says the waivers will be eliminated over two to four years, and it will not affect current students.
According to the Missoulian, the university is facing a $10 million to $12 million shortfall over the next two years.
The university says it will continue to provide scholarships to Montana military veterans and Native American residents who qualify.
Montana tribes break ground on casino
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have broken ground on a big casino in Evaro.
The new casino is expected to open late next year. Tribal officials say the new casino will add about 100 jobs.
According to the Flathead Beacon, the expansion is the latest in a growing number of tribally owned and operated casinos.
In eastern Montana, the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation are building a $33 million casino and hotel that is expected to open in May.
Researchers find mountain lion in Buffalo Valley
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Researchers are worried that a mother mountain lion is in distress after they found evidence the big cat was struggling to survive in the Buffalo Valley.
The search for the mountain lion began after a wolf pack attacked a horse in Buffalo Valley and a team of biologists with Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project followed a trail and found lion tracks.
Cougar Project leader Mark Elbroch says they found evidence it tried to eat a porcupine, and they also found smaller cat tracks from a mountain lion kitten.
According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, researchers are worried because it’s been years since mountain lions roamed the valley, and there is not much game left and there are a lot of wolves and grizzly bears competing for food.