Champs & Chumps: Summer 2019


Those whom make trails, and those chumps seen on trails.

Every day around southwest Montana, one stalwart citizen does the right thing while another acts like a blithering bonehead.

Our trails are no exception, and be it individuals or organizations, human behavior runs the gamut—from committed community-building to self-absorbed witlessness.

Here’s a highlight of some admirable acts and embarrassing blunders for the summer season. 

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, the Trust for Public Land, the City of Bozeman, the Galla10 Alliance for Pathways, and their partners have been hard at work completing major public infrastructure that will undoubtedly make Bozeman a better place to live. First off, GVLT has broken ground on the path to the M, meaning we’ll finally be able to walk, run, bike, or amble our way to the Foothills trail and Drinking Horse. That should slash traffic and overcrowded parking lots while making it safer for Bridger Canyon cyclists. Secondly, the Trust for Public Land is well on its way to completing the Story Mill Park, adjacent to the path to the M and boasting new trails, a dog park, several pavilions, and streamside picnicking opportunities. Not to be outdone, the Galla10 Alliance for Pathways has begun work on a commuter trail from Belgrade to Bozeman. Champs, one and all. 

So many chumps, so little time to mock them. Two stand out this season: non-pooper-scoopers and gun-toting greenhorns. The former has been suitably shackled in this season's Pillory; nothing more need be said here. The latter is a new breed of bastard to sully the once-pure pathways of the Bridger Mountains. These overzealous action heroes brandish handguns in chest-holsters, strutting around like methed-out gang-bangers bucking for a brawl. News flash, newbie: no animal in Sypes Canyon is going to kill you. Unless you’re seven, alone and missing an arm, and happen upon a mother black bear with a thorn in her paw, an impacted molar, and a week-old bite mark from a rabid raccoon. Pack a pistol if you want—this is Montana, after all—but for the love of God, man, hide that heater under your shirt. Nobody wants to play a part in your Call of Duty–inspired delusion.