Back to Nature

On the northeast side of town lies a tract of land once integral to Bozeman’s industrial development, but it has gone to seed in recent years: the buildings are rotting and prior improvements made to the land are slowly degrading. When the land recently came up for sale, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) jumped at the opportunity to turn it into a park.

Last year, Bozemanites overwhelmingly voted for a $15 million bond for parks and trail enhancements. TPL hopes to use a portion of this money to transform the 61 acres west of Story Mill into a multipurpose park for all of Bozeman to enjoy.

The back portion of the property—south of the Stockyard, between the East Gallatin River and Bozeman Creek—is a wetland. The property boasts impressive animal sightings, including a family of sandhill cranes, a nest of great horned owls, mountain lions, and deer. The streams teem with trout.

To the north, on the site of the former Bridger View Trailer Court, TPL hopes to establish a community gathering spot, with practice fields, fishing access, and possibly climbing boulders.

“The theme of this project is open space and rivers,” says project coordinator Maddy Pope. “We’re really excited by how enthusiastic the community has been.” Over 600 citizens responded to an online survey about the project, 150 people came to talk about design at the Emerson, and the parks and trail bond passed with a 73% majority. Many locals are excited about this new project and TPL looks forward to formally pitching their ideas to the city this fall.