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Lewistown Feild Office
Release Date: 10/05/12
Contacts: Zane Fulbright    
  (406) 538-1923    

Homesteading Media Projects Unveiled

Helena, Montana – The Montana Preservation Alliance (MPA) is excited to unveil two media projects to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act in Montana: a half-hour radio documentary on homesteading to air on public radio stations across Montana, and a homesteading website featuring evocative stories and stunning photographs. It all begins next weekMPA is pleased to partner with Mountain West Voices weekly radio series to present, A Fair Chance, a half-hour documentary about Montana homesteaders featuring stories of hardship and unbearable loneliness, as well as pride, perseverance, and the exhilaration that comes with a fresh start in life. A Fair Chance introduces the extraordinary history of the tens of thousands of single women homesteaders, and author Ivan Doig also shares his memories of the Meagher County homesteads of his childhood. The program will air on Monday, October 8 at 6:30 pm on Yellowstone Public Radio, and will also air on Thursday, October 11 at 1 pm on  Montana Public Radio.

Clay Scott of Mountain West Voices has produced several short radio programs on homesteading throughout 2012 and this last expanded installment complements his diverse stories from the heavily homesteaded areas of Beaverhead, Flathead, Teton, and Musselshell counties. These brief programs are online at Mountain West Voices and will also be available under the Voices tab on the Homesteading Montana website.On October 12, the launch of the new Homesteading Montana website provides another opportunity to experience the homestead movement in Montana through compelling high quality photography, scholarly writing,  radio interviews, historic images, journal entries, archival documents and more. The website, is dedicated to the history and impact of homesteading in Montana. The project is funded in part through the Montana History Foundation, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Over the next year, MPA will continually upload a wide array of shared media from historical organizations. Everything from short essays on broad homesteading themes to small town stories about Big Arm and Roundup, and accounts from immigrant families like the Hogelands and Fjells will be easy to find and digest.

No other piece of legislation had a more momentous impact on the history and culture of Montana than the 1862 Homestead Act. The law in concert with promotion by railroads and passage of the Enlarged Homestead Act in 1909 sparked a homestead boom in Montana spanning the years from 1900 – 1918. In the end, Montana became the most heavily homesteaded state in the nation.

The website and radio spots join a long list of events to educate the public about the Homestead Act. As active stewards and public land managers for thousands of former homestead properties across the West, the BLM is playing a key role this year in efforts to preserve and commemorate this heritage. These include a national BLM-hosted commemoration ceremony in May 2012, and a traveling Homestead Act exhibit (in Montana through October 2012). MPA’s homesteading projects also complement special features on Montana Public Television and the recent “Homesteading Next Year Country” 39th Annual Montana History Conference, held in Helena, Sept. 20-22. Through these various events and online resources, MPA and its many partners hope to encourage a broad audience to explore and preserve Montana’s and our nation’s past with us.

For a sneak preview of Homesteading Montana, please visit For more information and photos contact Christine Brown at 406-457-2822. For more information on the BLM’s activities related to historic and cultural heritage preservation on public land, contact Zane Fulbright at 406-538-1923 or For the latest BLM news and updates visit us on the web at:  and on Facebook at:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Lewistown Feild Office   920 NE Main Street      Lewistown, MT 59457  

Last updated: 10-05-2012