Challenge Accepted

Celebrating Bozeman's trails.

Healthy, free, the world before me / The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. —Walt Whitman

Summer’s finally here, the air is warm and inviting, and you’re ready to take to the trails—those long brown paths that branch out like limbs in the giant sequoia of outdoor opportunity that is southwest Montana. The options seem endless: from the sagebrush flats of Copper City to the boulder-laden slopes of Pine Creek, from the timbered draws in the north Bridgers to the sweeping vistas atop the Taylor-Hilgards. A person could spend a lifetime exploring and never see it all.

But we can try. And, as the old adage goes, there’s no time like the present. Start now. Not only is it summertime, but it's also the Gallatin Valley Land Trust’s Summer Trails Challenge. Which means that every time you head out, you’re supporting GVLT—which in turn supports trail-building, trail-maintenance, and preservation of the scenic, wildlife-rich open land surrounding those trails.

Highland Glen

Here’s how it works: for every mile you hike, bike, or run on area trails—whether it’s in-town along the Gallagator or way up on a mountaintop—GVLT gets a buck from local businesses. That’s money in the bank for more and better trails. Win-win, right?

Absolutely. There’s no catch. You get outside, kick-starting the summer with a vigorous three-week regimen, shedding that winter fat, re-visiting old haunts and exploring new ones, all while “breathing deep of that yet sweet and lucid air,” as Ed Abbey put it. Meanwhile, GVLT fills its coffers with cash to keep those very haunts in good condition.All you have to do is log your miles. And hit the dirt. Every damn day, if you can. Go for a morning run at Highland Glen or the East Gallatin Rec Area. Walk Peets Hill with the dog at lunchtime. After work, take a bike ride up Sypes Canyon or South Cottonwood. On the weekend, hike to Mt. Baldy or spend the weekend at Lava Lake. Then go to the GVLT website and enter your total miles covered. You’ll feel grand—you spent time outside, you got exercise and fresh air, and you gave to a good cause. How can it get any better than that?

hiking, wilderness

Here’s how. GVLT is throwing an end-of-the-challenge BBQ on June 30th. Come for the free food and beer; stay for the chance to score some loot. Yep, this is a contest where everyone wins. And the greater the effort, the greater the payout. It’s like a group diet, but a heck of a lot more fun. And no one has to go hungry—or get hangry.

For more information about the GVLT Summer Trails Challenge, click here.