GREAT FALLS — From spectacular sunsets to stunning mountain peaks, to hunting and outdoor recreation, and from tee shirts to hats and bracelets to bumper stickers - if there’s an opportunity to promote all things wonderful about Montana, then Dana McDonald will do it, thanks to the Facebook group he created called "Montanica!"
“I saw an opportunity to see what we could do on social media, started it there and in just the past two weeks we’ve passed 110,000 members,” said McDonald.
The Facebook page, which combines the names of Montana and America and features "Pride in state, love for country"as its slogan, began in July of 2017. McDonald, who grew up in Montana and moved back after spending nearly 25 years in Phoenix, says the site is guided by a couple of core principles.
“We pride ourselves in two things: no politics and no negativity,” said McDonald.
He says the page wouldn’t be what it is without the contributions of its members. "The awesome photography, and the artwork, the stories just everything that makes it what it is,” said McDonald. “Its been a great ride for three years now.”
As a former member of the military police in the U.S. Army, McDonald says the site is a strong supporter of the Back the Blue movement.
“Law enforcement, police officers, first responders in general have a soft spot in my heart. They always have,” said McDonald. “I like to say that we were supporting the cops when it wasn’t cool.”
Like many groups, the merchandising side of Montanica! took a hit when the pandemic struck, but there are signals that it is bouncing back.
“Its really kind of cool when I’m driving around and I can see our decals on the backs of cars, it’s like, wow, that’s cool!” said McDonald.
Members aren’t just limited to Montana. The site has found fans from as far away as the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and Central America.
McDonald works with a group of volunteer moderators who screen potential members who have been invited or have requested access.
McDonald hopes to one day have a bricks-and-mortar store to sell merchandise, but for now it’s available online at WeAreMontanica.com.