Spring Cleaning

Taking care of our outdoor spaces.

Every spring, the melting snow reveals budding wildflowers and green grass, but also something less appealing. Litter and waste that’s been buried for months appears on the surface, where it either remains to slowly degrade or is carried downstream by swollen rivers. As good citizens, we must take it upon ourselves to counteract the misconduct of our human brethren. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of local groups that organize spring cleanups around town. Exact dates may depend on snowpack and weather, so stay up to date via newsletters, social media, and the Outside Bozeman online calendar.

City of Bozeman
Join fellow residents for a full week of cleaning up our town. Pick up bags, vests, and gloves at the Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival or have them sent to you directly. Then, collect trash in high-traffic areas and leave your bags on the curb for the city’s solid-waste department to pick up. Alternatively, the city will provide schools, offices, teams, and other groups with the necessary materials to host their own cleanup. You pick the date and location. Contact [email protected].

Friends of Hyalite
As the leading steward of Bozeman’s most popular recreation area, Friends of Hyalite hosts biannual cleanups to keep this special place pristine. In the last decade, they have removed over 10,000 pounds of trash from campgrounds, trails, and parking lots in the canyon. The spring cleanup typically occurs around the time Hyalite opens to vehicle traffic in mid-May. Contact [email protected].

Trout Unlimited & Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance
In June, the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance (GISA) host their annual river cleanup on the Gallatin. Join them this year on Saturday, June 10.

The GISA is also organizing its annual weed pull at the Big Sky Community Park in June. Contact [email protected].

Once Spring cleaning has wrapped up, mark your calendars for the annual MGTU Lower Madison River cleanup on Saturday, August 19 at 9 am at Warm Springs FAS. Contact: [email protected]

Gallatin Watershed Council
Every spring, the Gallatin Watershed Council sends teams of volunteers to clean up trails, rivers, streams, and wetlands in different locations within the watershed. Sign up to be a team leader, and bring a volunteer group to a location of your choice. In April, the Council also hosts their annual Dog Waste Cleanup to prevent dog poop from polluting local waterways.

If you’re interested in hosting your own river cleanup at any point in the year, the Council provides supplies, guidelines for trash disposal, and recommended sites along the lower Gallatin. Contact [email protected].

Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association
SWMMBA seeks to improve bike trails and public access in the area. In honor of Earth Day, they host several weekend trail cleanups beginning in late-April. Then, starting in May, join Trail Work Tuesdays in the evenings. Subscribe to their social-media channels or monthly newsletter for additional details. Visit southwestmontanamba.org.

Gallatin Valley Land Trust
With part of their mission being to create and maintain local trails, GVLT organizes our community around trail maintenance, and they can always use more volunteers. Beginning in May, you can organize your own trail crew with GVLT. These projects generally involve gravel resurfacing, weed management, and brush trimming. Contact [email protected].