7.3.2021 Ousel Falls Rescue

On Saturday, July 3rd, 2021 at approximately 12:53 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from a group of hikers on the Ousel Falls Trail. The caller reported a member of their group needed assistance back to the trailhead as they were showing signs of dehydration. Big Sky Fire personnel initially responded to the patient location, one-quarter mile from the Ousel Falls parking lot. Big Sky Fire provided the individual with water and conducted a medical assessment.
Volunteers responded and helped the patient back to the trailhead using a one-wheeled litter. After arriving at the Ousel Falls Trailhead the individual was transported to Big Sky Medical Center by the Big Sky Fire Department.
Sheriff Springer would like to encourage you during higher temperatures, to hike early or late when temperatures are lower, and stay hydrated. Bringing extra water when hiking will help you avoid dehydration throughout these hot summer months.

Gallatin County 911 and MSU Announce Merger of Emergency Dispatch Centers

For immediate release: July 1, 2021

Gallatin County 911 and Montana State University are proud to announce that their emergency dispatch centers have officially merged operations, a move that will better serve our entire community moving forward.

The county and MSU recently signed an inter-local agreement solidifying the merger. The move means that MSU dispatch responsibilities will be transferred to Gallatin County 911. As part of the merger, MSU is transferring four current dispatch staff members and two additional budgeted positions to Gallatin County 911.

Discussions about potentially merging dispatch centers began in 2017. In May of 2019, MSU dispatch moved to the Gallatin County 911 facility but remained a separate entity. The agreement to officially merge was signed by both parties in June, and the merge was completed July 1.

So what does this merge mean for the public?

It increases the number of staff members at Gallatin County 911 to better serve the entire community. It also increases staffing and oversite for MSU operations. Instead of relying on four staff members to cover operations, there will be 10 initially covering MSU operations with an additional eight in training. Once off training, there will be 18 staff members to cover all dispatching and 911 services for Gallatin County.

This also gives the students, staff and visitors of MSU the ability to receive services from dispatchers who are fully trained in dispatching law enforcement, fire and EMS. The MSU Police Department will also gain access to Gallatin County 911’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS), allowing them to free up resources by not having to maintain their own systems and to focus on other pressing needs.

“We’re excited to complete this merge and welcome the MSU dispatch staff as official members of our Gallatin County 911 team,” said Gallatin County 911 Director Tim Martindale. “The group that we are bringing over to join us are all exceptional individuals, and we’re grateful to have them. We’re committed to providing the same great service that we offer to our current users to the students, faculty, staff and visitors at MSU. We’re also eager to become a part of the MSU family.”

“The safety and security of our campus community is MSU’s top concern, and this merger with Gallatin County 911 will keep both the university and our community safe,” said Kevin Gillilan, chief of University Police. “We look very much forward to working with our partners at 911 to better serve our community.”

Media contacts:
Tim Martindale, Director of Gallatin County 911

Michael Becker, Director of MSU News Services

Gallatin County Commission Bans Fireworks, Open Burning in Two Fire Districts


For immediate release: June 30, 2021

Due to dangerous fire conditions caused by a continued drought in southwest Montana, the Gallatin County Commission has banned fireworks, recreational burning, and open burning in two high fire hazard areas in the county ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, commissioners approved an emergency ordinance that bans those fire-related activities in the Big Sky Fire District and in the Hebgen Basin Fire District in the West Yellowstone area.

See the full ordinance here.

The emergency ordinance is effective immediately. It will automatically expire after 90 days unless rescinded sooner by the county commission.

Most fire districts in Gallatin County have also banned permitted open burning within their districts. The latest information on which districts currently have bans can be found at gallatinburnpermits.com.

Fireworks are always prohibited on public lands such as U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

The Town of West Yellowstone has prohibited fireworks within town limits over the Fourth of July weekend.

Gallatin County’s other cities and towns have their own fireworks regulations in place. Know what fireworks restrictions are in your area before considering shooting off fireworks. Please contact your local agencies for more information about specific rules that they have in place.

The Gallatin County Commission urges everyone to celebrate the Fourth of July safely and responsibly this year.

6.29.2021 Spanish Creek Lost Hikers

On June 28, 2021, Gallatin County dispatched received a call from a hiker who became separated from a party of three near the Gallatin Peak trail.  The caller had made it down to the trailhead but the two other members of the party were still in the backcountry.  The caller advised the two lost hikers were dressed for conditions, had food and water, and were capable of spending the night. An aircrew from Life Flight Network spotted two hikers matching the description that evening.  They did not appear to be in distress and were on an established trail.

On June 29, 2021, at approximately 7:06 am, one of the two lost hikers called Gallatin County 911 dispatch requesting assistance.  Searchers were able to obtain an approximate location from the 911 call.  Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded from Big Sky and Gallatin Valley.

Intermittent phone contact was made with the lost hikers but a secondary location confirmation was not achieved.  Life Flight Network provided a helicopter to try to locate the hikers and provide a location confirmation.  The helicopter crew spotted the hikers at approximately 11:08 am on Spanish Creek Trail.  A ground team departed from Spanish Creek Trailhead to locate the hikers at their last known location.  The ground team made contact with the lost hikers 3.3 miles from the trailhead.  They were uninjured and led back to the trailhead where they received a ride to their vehicle from a relative.

On the way down the ground team came upon a teen hiking in a group with a migraine that needed assistance to the trailhead.  The ground team assessed and transported the patient to the trailhead and released them to a designated guardian.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind hikers to take plenty of food, water, clothing, and a charged cell phone to call for help if trouble should arise.

Photos courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Gallatin County Agencies Holding Press Conference to Discuss Fire Concerns Heading into Fourth of July Weekend

For immediate release: June 29, 2021

Representatives from agencies across Gallatin County will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, June 30. Officials will discuss current fire conditions in the area, fire and fireworks restrictions that are in place, and precautions to take during with our area’s dry conditions to safely celebrate over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. They will also take questions from the media.

The press conference will be held at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, June 30 in the Community Room on the third floor of the Gallatin County Courthouse (311 W. Main St. in downtown Bozeman) It will also be live streamed from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Representatives from the following agencies will be speaking at the conference:

Please note that the Gallatin County Commission is meeting at 1:30 PM to approve a fire restrictions ordinance for certain areas of the county. While we anticipate the meeting will be done in time for the press conference to start at 2:30 PM, there’s always a chance the meeting could go long and we may have to start the press conference a little late.

If you have questions about the press conference, please contact Gallatin County Communications Coordinator Whitney Bermes at whitney.bermes@gallatin.mt.gov or 406-595-8963 (cellphone).

6.26.2021 Porcupine Creek Rescue

On Saturday, June 26, 2021 at approximately 6:17 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from a hiker that lost their way on the Porcupine Creek Trail. The individual, who was out on a day hike, misjudged the trail length and route, became disoriented, and requested assistance out.

Volunteers responded using a dirt bike and a side by side UTV, and were able to transport the stranded individual safely out to the trailhead.

Sheriff Springer would like to remind everyone recreating outdoors to: to know your route, to try and travel with a friend, and carry a reliable means of communication.  The hiker in this case was able to call 911 with grid coordinates which aided in a speedy and successful rescue.

Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools Appoints Bozeman School District Trustee

Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools


For immediate release: June 21, 2021

The Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools has appointed a successor to fill a vacant position on the Bozeman School District Board of Trustees.

On Monday, June 21, Superintendent Matthew Henry notified the Bozeman School District that he has appointed Lisa Weaver to fill the vacant trustee position. The appointment is effective immediately and Weaver will fill the seat until the next regular school district election on May 3, 2022. See the full notification of appointment letter here.

The Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools learned in May that a vacancy was created on the Bozeman School District No. 7 Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees did not fill the vacancy within 60 days of its occurrence. Thus, Montana law provides that the Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools shall make the appointment to fill the vacant position.

Superintendent Henry sought applications for the open position. Six applicants were interviewed on June 11 by Superintendent Henry, and feedback was given by a focus group of 14 people representing interests in the community, including seven members from the Bozeman School District.

You can see the letter Superintendent Henry provided the Bozeman School District explaining his decision here.

Media contact:
Matthew Henry, Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools

6.19.2021 Buck Ridge Rescue

On Saturday June 19, 2021 at approximately 5:47 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from an individual approximately 6 miles up the Buck Ridge Trail, south of the Big Sky junction.  One individual riding an ATV rolled the vehicle and sustained multiple injuries.  The individual suffered leg, arm, back and neck injuries, also losing consciousness for a short period of time.

Volunteers responded with an ATV and specialized rescue sled and were able to treat the patient on scene before transporting off the mountain and back to the trailhead. The patient was transferred to the Big Sky Fire Department EMS crew for further medical evaluation and transport to the hospital.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like remind people enjoying our recreational opportunities in the backcountry to always travel with a friend and carry a reliable means of communications.  In this instance, the injured party’s friend was able to leave the patient and travel a short distance to get a cell signal.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

6.19.2021 Sourdough Canyon Rescue

On June 19, 2021, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call of a camper who had been bitten by a bear at Mystic Lake. The patient was too injured to make the trip down, but found a nearby runner who was able to quickly make it to cell service and call 911.
Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue volunteers, Deputies, Paramedics, and LifeFlight Network personnel responded to the area. Responders immediately began searching the service road leading to the lake, and LifeFlight began searching from the air. LifeFlight personnel located the patient not far from Mystic Lake. The patient was treated on site then air lifted to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind recreational enthusiasts to always be aware of their surroundings. There have been several bear sightings in and around Gallatin County. If you are camping, make sure your food is locked away, or in a container which cannot be opened by wildlife.

Update on Gallatin County Growth Policy


Gallatin County Planning Department

For immediate release: June 14, 2021

The Gallatin County Planning Department is excited to announce that, after nearly two years in the making, the Gallatin County Growth Policy has now moved into the adoption phase.

The Gallatin County Growth Policy is the document that guides growth, development, and land use patterns across Gallatin County. The document vision is centered around three major themes heard during public outreach: open space, heritage, and opportunity. One of the objectives of the update was to draft goals and policies with an eye toward clarity and specificity. Overall, update is rather comprehensive, reflecting Gallatin County’s status as the fastest growing in the state with updated background information, additional data, and a forward-looking implementation plan.

The adoption phase will take place over the next couple of months, with public hearings at the Planning Board and County Commission level. The first Planning Board hearing was June 8. The next Planning Board meeting will be Tuesday, June 22. Members of the public are encouraged to attend in person or virtually and provide public comment on the draft plan. Information on how to attend can be found here.

The document will then move to the Gallatin County Commission in July, with hearings tentatively scheduled to be on the agendas of commission’s regular public meetings on July 13, 20, and 27. There will be opportunity for public comment at those hearings as well.

Public comment can also be submitted anytime by contacting the project manager, Garrett McAllister, at garrett.mcallister@gallatin.mt.gov.

More information on the project and the latest draft of the plan can be found here: https://envisiongallatin.com.