Californians are arriving in Montana in droves. But they’re not welcome.


Sasha Vermel had been sewing face masks locked down in her Oakland home for months during the pandemic when her hands gave out. She realized she couldn’t even open a door anymore.

It was the last straw. She’d been out of work as a designer and seamstress since COVID-19 hit, she’d been home-schooling two kids for months and the 2020 wildfire season had been relentless. She went to her husband and asked if he wanted to fly to Missoula, Montana for the weekend and look at houses.

That was in September 2020. By Thanksgiving, they had moved there, joining the thousands of people who have relocated from California to Montana in the past two years.



In The Bull’s Eye: A Human Swarm Is Overwhelming The Yellowstone Region

Amid unprecedented development and outdoor recreation pressure, three experts say new strategies urgently needed to save America’s most famous wildlife ecosystem

“Keep it Bitterroot” campaign enters home stretch

“We all see it and it’s great for our local economy,” Lauren Rennaker tells me as we survey lands already protected from atop the Stevensville Bench. “But at the same time we want to make sure that we protect what makes this place so special, and that’s our critical water resources, open lands for wildlife habitat and local agriculture.”

MSU economist says trend of people moving to Bozeman likely to continue for next few years

You may think a pandemic would hurt a local economy but in a lot of ways, it has made it easier to move here.

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