In Trails We Trust


An update from GVLT.  

Exciting things are happening in the Gallatin Valley. At the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT), we’re doing everything we can to keep up with the pace of our region’s rapid development and growing population by building more trails and conserving more of our open landscape.

Last fall, GVLT completed the Painted Hills Connector trail, a missing two-mile link 30 years in the making. Our founder Chris Boyd imagined a trail system connecting Main Street to the Mountains, and you can now ride, walk, run, or bike from Main Street at the Bozeman Public Library all the way to the top of Triple Tree on a trail.

Construction has started on the long-awaited 2.16-mile “Path to the M” that will connect the city of Bozeman to the M and Drinking Horse trails, another critical piece of the Main Street to the Mountains vision. In 2013, GVLT, the City of Bozeman, and many partners applied for a grant and were awarded $3.4 million from the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) to fund the paved multi-use path on the north side of Bridger Drive to the trailheads. The federal funds were matched with $675,000 from the City of Bozeman’s Trails, Open Space & Parks (TOP) Bond, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012. The path should be complete this fall.

While trails are key to our quality of life in the Gallatin Valley, so too is our open landscape. GVLT has five land-conservation projects in the pipeline that will limit development on over 2,400 acres of scenic working agricultural lands and wildlife habitat. All five projects are being made possible thanks to funding from the Gallatin County Open Lands Program funding, which was renewed by voters in June of 2018.

If you’re looking to explore the in-town trails and learn something new, take a peek at our frequent guided Discovery Walks in June. New topics this year include soil science, astronomy, backcountry skills, and geology.

The future of our community trails are in our hands, so get yours dirty and pitch in for a volunteer project. GVLT has a full summer of community work days scheduled on the trails. No tools or experience necessary—check out our website for a list of dates to help out.

Another easy way to support GVLT and grow our trails is to simply put in the miles during the annual Summer Trails Challenge. Businesses contribute to the Community Match Pool and you help us earn those dollars; every mile you log on our website is $1 to help build more trails. From June 1-21, hike, run, and bike and raise money at the same time.

EJ Porth is the communications and outreach director at GVLT.