MISSOULA, Mont. — Montanans like to call their state "Big Sky Country," or "The last, best place." Nowhere in these descriptions are there hints of crowds.
Yet Montana is set to reach a major milestone later this year when the state tops one million residents for the first time, according to projections by the U.S. Census.
The slowest-growing state in one of the nation's fastest-growing regions, Montana will remain a vast and largely empty place. Don't expect to wait in line at fly-fishing streams. And morning commutes will still average 17 minutes, enough to make big city dwellers cry.
Even so, some Montanans are treating the advancing milestone with a sense of dread. Said Mary Craigle, Census director for the state, "They don't want more neighbors."
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