For immediate release: April 18, 2023
Sean O’Callaghan, Gallatin County Planning Director and Open Lands Coordinator
Gallatin County Commission Approves Funding for Open Lands Projects
The Gallatin County Commission approved using Open Lands Program money to help fund six projects that improve public open lands in Bozeman, Three Forks, West Yellowstone, Big Sky and Four Corners.
On Tuesday, April 18, commissioners voted unanimously to spend $458,223 to provide funding to the following applicants and projects:
- Gallatin Valley Land Trust – East-West Connector trail – $100,000
- Yellowstone Shortline Trail – construction of a nine-mile trail in the West Yellowstone area – $100,000
- Headwaters Trail System – trail surface maintenance – $100,000
- Big Sky Owners Association – Little Coyote Pond and West Fork River restoration project – $100,000
- Eagle Mount – land acquisition for future Eagle Mount programming, infrastructure, community recreation and public access to the Gallagator Trail – $38,928
- Craighead Institute – wildlife habitat and water quality improvements at Gallatin County Regional Park – $19,295
“I’m really impressed with all of the applications,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Jennifer Boyer. “All of these projects are well designed, community minded, and have incredible support from a variety of partners and agencies.”
Money for these projects comes from the voter-approved Gallatin County Open Space Levy, which was passed in 2018. This year, the levy is estimated to bring in over $2.44 million total.
While a majority of that money funds conservation projects, such as conservation easements for private landowners, over $458,000 was earmarked by the Gallatin County Commission for “other eligible projects.” These projects must be related to land acquisition, capital improvements, and maintenance projects that support the purpose of the Open Space Levy.
Eleven applications were received during the application period earlier this year. The Open Lands Board scored the submitted proposals and recommended these six projects for approval.
Commissioner Zach Brown said these “other eligible projects” are a great addition to the Open Lands Program that go beyond traditional conservation easements to help support “all kinds of recreational, open space, and water quality type efforts that benefit our constituents.”
“It’s meaningful to spread the love to different corners of the county,” Brown said.
More information on the projects, including applications and scoring, can be found attached to the commission’s agenda here.