Extremists finding fertile ground in Northwest US

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS | June 22, 2011 | 3:29 AM EDT

In this photo taken Thursday, June 16, 2011, a sign near an old railroad station is shown in Kalispell, Mont. Anti-government and white supremacist individuals and groups are thriving in the Inland Northwest, an area that runs roughly 200 miles from Spokane, Wash., through northern Idaho to this community on the outskirts of Glacier National Park. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — With its jagged peaks, glistening lakes and lush valleys, the Inland Northwest is a stunningly beautiful and remote part of the country. But the area, stretching from eastern Washington to Montana's Glacier National Park, is a cradle for anti-government activity.

That reputation has been most recently rekindled by the manhunt for David Burgert. The former Kalispell militia leader is accused of opening fire on sheriff's deputies in the Lolo National Forest.

After a lull following the demise of the Idaho-based Aryan Nations in 2000, experts say anti-government and white supremacist groups and individuals may be reviving in the Inland Northwest.

The number of radical right groups is growing nationwide because of the poor economy, rising immigration and fears that President Barack Obama's administration has an agenda to curtail individual liberties.