This summer, the future of one of Bozeman’s most convenient and visible rock climbing sites becomes more certain. For the past 20 years, rock climbers have flocked to the limestone crags of Bozeman Pass, just a quick drive east on I-90 from Bozeman. That land has been in the private hands of Hugo and Shirley Schmidt since 1964. Recent conservation efforts have focused on the long-term preservation of the Schmidts’ two thousand acres in case of their sale to less public-access-friendly owners.
The complex land-conservation deal will be finalized August 1 when the Trust for Public Land (TPL) buys the last 570 acres on the Schmidt property. The remaining acreage has already been preserved through easements and direct U.S. Forest Service purchases. Alex Diekmann, Project Manager at the TPL’s Montana Field Office, says TPL will probably hold the land for the near future before donating a 175-acre parcel preferred by climbers on the north side of I-90 to the Forest Service or a climbing organization like the Southwest Montana Climbers Association. TPL plans to sell its remaining 395 acres south of I-90 to the Forest Service. A new trail will improve access from Trail Creek Road up the back side of Chestnut Mountain to Frog Rock. The land conservation deal also preserves a critical wildlife corridor for bear, elk, and other animals migrating between the Gallatin and Bridger Mountain Ranges.
- O/B Store