This morning I found a raccoon in the garden, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.
I consider raccoons a class 3 non-native species; this is according to my own little classification system (European starlings are a class 1, for example). Raccoons are not native to most of Montana, but are now widely spread across the state (this I have personally confirmed with roadkill observations). They are native to a small area in extreme eastern Montana, but they were never really common there. Their range has expanded throughout the state (and in the northern Rockies) in the last 50 years as a result of urban- and suburban-ization. Development, tree planting and food subsidies (garbage, pet food, and intentional feeding) has facilitated their range expansion. Raccoons are native to the US, and they have not been introduced by people (as far as I know), but since they are not native they have the ability to disrupt indigenous plant and animal communities and compete with other native animals.
They are similar in many ways to other non-natives we have in Montana, like Eastern and gray squirrels and house finches. All three of these are native to the US but not native to Montana, and all have been transported and introduced outside their native range by people. Squirrels have become a conservation issue and are really a problem (read more here , for example). On the other hand, house finches, which are native to the south western US but now occur all over the west, are merely a nuisance. I'm not aware of them being a conservation issue (as a little aside, since we stopped feeding sunflower seeds to birds, the house finches are uncommon in our yard).
So, I am not sure what to think of the new visitor. I will do some research and observation, and keep an eye the the little fellow for now.