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Old 03-30-2012, 08:29 AM
 
31 posts, read 69,160 times
Reputation: 63

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I'm a physician currently looking at relocating either to Northern Idaho or Western Montana. I'm also looking to potentially run a small bison ranch on the side having come from that background. My specialty is such that I'm going to need to be located near a reasonably large sized city but specialized enough and under-represented enough that people would drive to me. We as a family love cross-country skiing, fishing, hunting, hiking/camping, and pretty much any outdoor acitivity, and hence it doesn't get much better than what life offers in Montana and Idaho.

I'm looking for a good, wholesome place to raise a family. I believe that's largely a factor of having a loving home and what goes on behind your own four walls, but if I had my way, I'd be a lot more happy raising my family in an area that's not full of liberal activists (with requisite "Coexist" bumper stickers on the Subaru and matching body odor). I'm more of a live-off-the-land but show up on church on Sunday kind of guy who enjoys a good book, a good beer/wine, and conversation and maybe some offroading.

From my initial impressions, I get the impression that I'm looking more at:

Coeur d'Alene > Sandpoint > Kalispell / Whitefish / Columbia Falls > Helena > Bozeman >>>>> Missoula.

I'm looking to make a move into the mountains, which is why I haven't included Billings in the list.

Does that sound reasonably accurate? I realize there's plenty of diverse views in any of these places, and I'm sure there's reasonable folks in Missoula--though just enough of the trustafarians and bum-a-farians to make my skin crawl.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
451 posts, read 847,767 times
Reputation: 383
Well, Doc:

I believe that you'd have to put me in the He-doesn't-even-know-what-the-heck-kind-of-farian-he-is group, but I'm willing to take a shot at welcoming you here.

It seems to me you've done your research and your thinking is on track.

We live in the Mission Valley, which contains the National Bison Range (as you are likely well aware). There are some folks in the valley that raise Bison; don't know if they have to be Tribal or need special permits or whatever. But there are many parcels for sale in this County (Lake) and this Valley.

Since you mentioned some areas you're considering, I would suggest that the area between Ronan-Charlo-Dixon may be nearly ideal for a person in your situation. That micro-region lies within the bounds of the areas you described.

My reasons for this conclusion (especially without knowing your specialty):

1) It lies within less than an hour's drive to Missoula and about an hour+10 to Kalispell.
2) The hospitals in both Ronan and Polson are affiliated with larger hospitals in Missoula for purposes of staff, admission privileges, insurance, referrals, etc.
3) Mountains are RIGHT there - out every window. Necessary amenities are nearby - cities at reasonably long arms length.

Now, there are specific issues to consider in this area which I've not taken into account in this reply, but I think it best to learn your specific questions or concerns before writing more.

Good luck,


mg

PS - If you are a Psychiatrist, you're danged right people will drive to you. The last one we had in Missoula went crazy and left.... (Just messin' with ya')
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:13 AM
 
3,764 posts, read 7,469,391 times
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Gotta warn ya that salt-of-the-earth working folks have body odor too which a physician might just have to accept LOL
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:05 AM
 
31 posts, read 69,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Gotta warn ya that salt-of-the-earth working folks have body odor too which a physician might just have to accept LOL
haha! Very true! But there's quite a bit of difference between odor by profession and odor by choice, I promise you. I have very refined taste!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,910 posts, read 5,796,001 times
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As you included it in your list, I will try to cover the Helena area for you.

Because of the government, there is a significant liberal population in Helena, but most of that stops at city limits. Most everywhere you go outside of Helena are very down to earth, hardworking and pretty conservative places to be.
There is a lot of open area and forest within 30 minutes drive and several very nice small towns in that area as well, plus Great Divide Ski area is just to the North/west and an easy drive of less than 1/2 hour.
West at the top of McDonald pass there are several Cross Country Ski trails maintained all winter.

Townsend is probably the best for agriculture, including raising buffalo. Located at the intake head of Canyon Ferry Reservoir, so great opportunities for fishing, waterskiing, swimming etc.
Elkhorn Mountains to the west, the Belt mountains to the East and the Missouri river runs right by town. Small hospital, but pretty good service from what I hear.

To the South of Helena is Boulder. Nice community located in a valley surrounded by mountains. Very nice ag community and has the State facility for Developmentally disabled so may be a job opportunity right in town.

North you come to Wolf Creek. Located along Little Prickly Pear Creek, the Missouri river is close to town. Right in the middle of the mountains in a somewhat narrow valley, but the land to the North and West open up well.

The primary hospital in Helena is St. Peters. The doctors, nurses and most of the staff are outstanding, the management is going through some significant changes to correct some serious problems from the executive side.

Helena is only about 1 1/2 hours from Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman and Missoula so you can take easy trips for shopping or for other ski hills or wildland opportunities. Plus with good sized hospitals in Helena/Butte/Bozeman and major hospitals for this state in Great Falls and Missoula, you could actually have the opportunity, (depending on specialty) to work at several faclities all within easy commuting distance.

Travel North/South/West is pretty good 4 lane hwy, East is 2 lane hwy but being improved.

I would say that if you locate outside city limits of Helena you will find pretty much exactly what you are looking for, and Helena can always use good doctors

Good Luck.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:26 AM
 
5,798 posts, read 9,296,054 times
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Since you include North Idaho in your search, let me chime in: Heron and Noxon, the MT towns farthest to the west on Highway 200, within a few miles of the ID border, have just lost their medical clinic serving the area between Sandpoint and Trout Creek (MT). I don't know about the availability of doctors there, but I would assume that a new physician would be welcome. You'd get clients from Hope, Clark Fork, the Bull River area, Troy, Heron, and Noxon. The area on the Clark Fork River is out-of-this-world beautiful, and on the Idaho side property values have come down considerably in the last few years. Hope is more upscale than Clark Fork, but CF is nicely located right on the MT border with easy access to Sandpoint as well as Libby (MT) on 2 and all the small towns on 200.

Here's info on the closure of the clinic: http://riverjournal.com/vivvo/news/2...er_032012.html

There used to be a bison ranch on 95 just south of Sandpoint, but they sold the herd--don't know why.

Last edited by Clark Fork Fantast; 03-30-2012 at 11:48 AM.. Reason: Added link , and adjusted info
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:28 PM
 
8,974 posts, read 8,096,455 times
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You say due to your specialty, you need a reasonably large size city. It is really impossible for anyone to help you, without knowing what population you consider a reasonably large size city. Montana has only one city over 100,000 (just barely), 3 over 40,000, over 5 over 20,000, and only seven total 10,000 or above population.

Northern Idaho, is not the large city areas of Idaho.

What size city do you consider reasonably large.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:55 PM
 
Location: MT
155 posts, read 640,021 times
Reputation: 139
Redlodge/Roscoe/Absorakee area.......... close to billings, and in the foothills of the Bearthooths. I am not sure if there are a whole lot of physicians in this area.

Just thought I would throw it out there....

The further east you go from the divide, the less people of the aformentioned views there are.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:16 PM
 
67 posts, read 133,739 times
Reputation: 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by RooseveltRoamer View Post
I'd be a lot more happy raising my family in an area that's not full of liberal activists (with requisite "Coexist" bumper stickers on the Subaru and matching body odor).
This describes 3 out of 5 cars in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley!
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:20 PM
 
31 posts, read 69,160 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtrader View Post
You say due to your specialty, you need a reasonably large size city. It is really impossible for anyone to help you, without knowing what population you consider a reasonably large size city. Montana has only one city over 100,000 (just barely), 3 over 40,000, over 5 over 20,000, and only seven total 10,000 or above population.

Northern Idaho, is not the large city areas of Idaho.

What size city do you consider reasonably large.
I'd probably need to be within a 30-45 minute drive from a city of 30,000 or more, but that's something I'm still assessing, as most of my colleagues end up in metro areas with well over a million people--it's hard to gauge. I'm currently living in one of those larger areas and looking to move back to a smaller town. I'm well aware that there's a massive shortage in my specialty throughout Idaho and Montana.

That's probably moreso why I listed the cities I did--Sandpoint being the outlier but with 15,000 or so and with enough surrounding population to sustain a practice.

I really appreciate the advice on here. I'll be visiting the area again.

Last edited by RooseveltRoamer; 03-30-2012 at 04:31 PM..
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