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Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 7th least populous, and the 3rd most sparsely populated of the 50 U. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state.
It borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east.In total, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains.The eastern half of Montana is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands.The name Montana was added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, which was chaired at the time by Rep.James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory.Eastern Montana comprises plains and badlands, broken by hills and isolated mountain ranges, and has a semi-arid, continental climate (Köppen climate classification BSk).
The Continental Divide has a considerable effect on the climate, as it restricts the flow of warmer air from the Pacific from moving east, and drier continental air from moving west.
Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Big Hole National Battlefield, and the National Bison Range. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management controls 8,100,000 acres (33,000 km) of 1.1 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges and waterfowl production areas in Montana. These lands are managed by the state for the benefit of public schools and institutions in the state.
Approximately 31,300,000 acres (127,000 km) of wilderness in 12 separate wilderness areas that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Montana is a large state with considerable variation in geography, topography and altitude, and the climate is, therefore, equally varied.
Wyoming is to the south, Idaho is to the west and southwest, have extensive agricultural resources and multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation.
East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, and badlands.
The watersheds divide at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.