A Bozeman Story

Leaving a legacy of open spaces.

Most of us who call Bozeman home, either by birth or choice, have a deep sense of how special this place is. Our inspiring mountains and rivers, the small-town quality of Main Street, and the interesting and innovative people that live here all contribute to the nebulous, warm feeling of “home.” Much of what makes Bozeman special is a gift from our remarkable natural setting and previous community leaders, but now this generation of Bozemanites has a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make Bozeman an even better place to live.

Since 2012, the Trust for Public Land has been working to create Story Mill Community Park, a 55-acre city park in the shadows of the iconic Story Mill granaries. Hundreds of our neighbors, friends, area business owners, and other community members have written letters of support, testified to the City Commission, completed surveys, and attended design workshops. More than 20 local groups, from the Northeast Neighborhood Association to the Sacajawea Audubon chapter, have committed volunteers to the effort.

Parks are prime contributors to a community’s quality of life. (Honestly, we’ve measured it. Check out parkscore.tpl.org to learn how parks rank the largest cities in America.) They provide vibrant gathering places, venues to nurture mental and physical health, and places to escape for a quiet moment alone. Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote that “the weeds in a city lot convey the same lesson as the redwoods.” Whether we’re on a daily dog walk or scrambling on a jungle gym, a close-to-home park is where we learn the importance of open public spaces. It’s why someone who may never visit Yellowstone can wonder at its unique and valuable existence.

Story Mill Community Park is our chance to leave a legacy that embodies Bozeman’s community spirit and celebrates our beautiful, shared outdoor spaces. This year, the Trust for Public Land is refining designs for a signature playground, river-front access, a 30-acre nature sanctuary, trails, gathering spaces, and much more. This park will be built with the ideas and passion of hundreds of community members, funding from the voter-approved 2012 Bozeman Parks & Trails bond measure, and the support of many generous donors. We look forward to breaking ground in spring 2017 and celebrating the opening of Story Mill Community Park in fall 2018. To learn more, make a donation, or get involved, visit support.tpl.org/storymill.

Trust for Public Land staffer Molly Pickall directs the Campaign for Story Mill Community Park.