All we Montanans have known this as a fact for some time now. That’s why we live here. However, it seems that the rest of the United States has finally realized it, too.

Contrary to popular belief white sandy beaches, big cities and lots of people, don’t compare with white snow capped peaks, big skies and lots of cattle.

According to a new Gallup Poll, Montana is the best possible state to live in. Well, to be fair, we did tie with Alaska, but there is no other state that I would be happier to share the honors with than Alaska.

Yes, we even beat out the beautiful and exotic Hawaii, the big and proud Texas and the bustling Big Apple New York. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

This only proves the old quote, “If you’re lucky enough to live in Montana, then you’re lucky enough.” Of course we all know this.

The thing we Montanans fear the most is that when everyone else finally realizes what they’re missing out on, they will move here to find it. We fear this because we love our state just the way it is. We wouldn’t change a thing about this beautiful place we love to call home.

I know that I’m the happiest when I’m in Montana. Of course, life isn’t perfect here, but the people, our surroundings and the quality of life we have here can’t be matched.

States like North Dakota and New York can make a man wealthy. However, that’s not likely to happen in Montana. We will probably never be millionaires living here, but we are all rich just for getting to call Montana our home.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.