The New Frontier: A Place Nearly Forgotten - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

The New Frontier: A Place Nearly Forgotten

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Ally and Charley Willett have an eye for cinematography; breathtaking landscapes, serene moments caught on camera... it's all part of their latest online endeavor Into the Little Belts. What doesn't quite fit, though, is their office, which is, essentially, their bedroom.

But for the Willetts, this is where the magic happens.
Into the Little Belts began about seven years ago, as Into the Snow, It's since evolved, and is now the only website of its kind to not only highlight what's happening in the small town of Neihart, where the Willetts live, but throughout the Little Belt region.

"While I was working at Showdown Montana, we got lots and lots of calls about what do you do, where do you stay, what do you eat...
says Charley. What we do is we gather information about every single opportunity, recreational opportunity... and honestly if you don't know what you're doing out here you should probably know something and reference something before you do it. And then it's safe."

Since the website's launch, the couple's company,
Little Belts Montana, has also published a book, with one dollar of every book sold going to Eagle Mount of Great Falls. That isn't a small donation, considering the couple does all this work for nothing.

"We've gotten a few people confused, like
look where our money is going and we don't respond, we don't know what to say to these people and we're fine with them saying that. They'll eventually realize that we aren't being paid by anyone, says Charley.

Ally goes on, And we really care about this, we don't want it to turn into something corporate, and we don't want someone coming in here and misrepresent it."

The Willetts say the most difficult part of running the website is finding the time. Between the two, there are five children running in and out of the house, and don't forget, they have to work and make money somehow through odd-end jobs.  

But for the Willetts, it's worth it, because
Into the Little Belts is bigger than just a website. It's the transformation of a community nearly forgotten.

Ally clarifies: "There's a lot of access, but that was all industrial. There was a logging industry that was popular and a big deal and mattered to this economy, and there was also a lot of mining. And so they wouldn't have advertised this as a recreational spot because it was an area of commerce and a place of business.
She goes on: But those industries don't exist now, and so there's still this infrastructure that exists, and people can access and people can get on to the roads and their maintained still. And we're basically trying to change the mind of the people and in some ways the minds of the state as to what this area means to the state."

And so on a cold day in January the Willets leave one office, for another. Even if it is off the beaten trail about two miles outside of Neihart.

Into the Little Belts isn't done yet; their popular webcams throughout Central Montana are expanding. Ally and Charley recently purchased two more to set up along the highway. To check those out, and see more from the couple, visit their website, intothelittlebelts.com

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