About Stillwater County


Located in south‐central Montana, Stillwater County is the state's twenty‐fifth most populous county, with an estimated 8,646 residents as of 2006 and consists of 1,793 square miles with geographic features that range from the Beartooth Mountains at the southern end of the county, to the Stillwater and Yellowstone River Valleys in the central section, to the lake basins and coulees at the northern end.

Elevation ranges from 3,400 feet above sea level near Park City, in the east‐central part of the county, to over 12,000 feet above sea level near Granite Peak, on the southern boundary of Stillwater County. Columbus is the county seat and is a shipping center for surrounding farm and ranch lands. Columbus is the state's thirty‐sixth largest city.

Tourism also plays an important role in Stillwater County's economy. From the Beartooth Absaroka Wilderness Area to the Stillwater and Yellowstone River Valleys, Stillwater County has no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities. The Hailstone and Halfbreed National Wildlife Refuges are part of Stillwater County's Big Lake Complex, which is known for its abundance of waterfowl and migratory birds. Today Stillwater County is home to a silversmith, a laminated beam company and major mining industry.

Montana Silversmiths, founded in 1973 in Columbus, makes custom belt buckles for all the major western events and World Championships. Timberweld, also located in Columbus, is one of the few laminated beam companies in the U.S. that is completely integrated from the timber to the structure. The Stillwater Mining Company is one of the world's leading producers of platinum group metals and the only significant primary producer of palladium in the western hemisphere. The Company conducts mining operations at the Stillwater Mine near Nye, Montana and the East Boulder Mine South of McLeod, Montana. They also operate a smelter and refinery in Columbus, Montana.

Columbus is located 40 miles west of Billings and 100 miles east of Bozeman and 145 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. The population of Stillwater County in 2006 was 8,646, including Columbus with a population of 1,931. There are medical clinics, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, a convalescent center, mental health centers and ambulance services located throughout the county, with the Stillwater Billings Clinic located in Columbus. Schools‐Absarokee: K‐6 & 7‐12; Columbus: K‐6 & 7‐12; Fishtail: K‐8; Molt: K‐8; Nye: K‐6; Park City: K‐12; Rapelje: K‐12; Reedpoint: K‐12