Splendor in the Grass

Break out the champagne and celebrate; Bozeman just became a lot more livable. Whether you’re a cross-country skier, Frisbee golfer, or just enjoy lounging in the grass, expect a host of new parks and trails to be completed or nearing completion by early fall.

Ice House Park
This 3/4-acre parcel along Gallagator Trail opened in early May, thanks to the vision of neighbor Christine Yearly and the sweat equity of the Montana Conservation Corps. The Trust for Public Land saved the parcel from housing development by buying it from the Bonn family in 2005. More than a century ago, Lois Bonn cultivated ice there that Bozeman residents used to keep their food cool. The close to 60,000 annual users of the Gallagator Trail now stay cool in the same spot, shaded by cottonwoods.

Regional Park
Bozeman’s popular Main Street to the Mountains trail system will cross the 50-mile mark this summer. The Land Trust will celebrate with an event at Gallatin County Regional Park once the trails there receive a final coat of clay, sand, and gravel by early August.

Located between Oak Street and Baxter Lane, Gallatin County Regional Park will provide important recreational amenities like trout ponds, baseball and soccer fields, and picnic areas for residents who have little open space in northwest Bozeman. “Regional Park is a key part of the Bozeman trail network,” said Ted Lange, Gallatin Valley Land Trust Community Trails Planner. Lange said that many trails from nearby subdivisions, including Baxter Meadows, to the north, converge at Gallatin County Regional Park.

Rose Park
Just a Frisbee huck away from Regional Park, look for Bozeman’s first official Frisbee-golf course at the soon-to-be-completed Rose Park, just west of the corner of 19th Avenue and Oak Street. Frisbee golf junkies Doug Quam, Kerry Silberman, and Craig Sward formed the Course of DISCovery to spearhead the effort after the informal course at Lindley Park closed due to overuse a few years ago. “Frisbee golf improves health and social responsibility in youth,” said Sward, who often teaches the sport in area schools.

With close to $500,000 in private donations and $150,000 from city and state grants, the Course of DISCovery team predicts an opening this fall or next spring. Berms for the course have already been completed, and the Land Trust plans on adding 1,400 feet of trail on the east side of the park.

SnowFill Park
From Rose and Regional Parks, the Bridger Mountains rise to the east, and if you head directly for them, you’ll run into the “SnowFill” site, a new park planned for completion “before the snow flies,” according to Lange. The site will feature a dog park and a mile-long GVLT-built cross-country skiing trail in honor of Hedvig Rappe-Flowers, a local Nordic skier who died of breast cancer in January 2007. At GVLT’s 15th Annual Trails Day Celebration on June 2, volunteers tore out old fencing and made improvements to the parking lot at the site. Trails Day volunteers also started on the first section of Drinking Horse Mountain trail across from the “M” trail.