As the population of our community has grown, trail use at Bozeman’s most popular trails has grown with it. Four trails-focused partners have been looking at this growth for years and this winter decided to take a proactive step at managing potential conflicts due to increased use on the community trails. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, the U.S. Forest Service, Friends of Hyalite and the Bridger Ski Foundation launched the first season of the Trail Ambassador program this winter. The partners hired a part-time coordinator to manage volunteer Trail Ambassadors who were stationed at busy trails and trailheads around the Main Street to the Mountains trail system and in Hyalite Canyon. During this first season, Trail Ambassadors focused on trails that were heavily used in the winter such as Sourdough Canyon, the M trail, Burke Park, Snowfill Recreation Area, Hyalite trail system and Highland Glen Nature Preserve.
Volunteer Trail Ambassadors assisted trail users by handing out maps, sharing grooming reports for cross-country skiing and discussing trail conditions. They also helped promote responsible trail use and etiquette by sharing dog poop bags, dog leashes and trail etiquette cards.
The objective of this program is to bring more awareness and visibility to the groups who contribute to the trails. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust and U.S. Forest Service build and maintain trails, the Bridger Ski Foundation grooms trails for cross-country skiing and Friends of Hyalite plow the road in Hyalite Canyon for winter recreational use. A second season of the program is expected for this summer and, if it continues to be successful, the partners plan to move into a year-round schedule. The goal of the program is to ensure that all users on our trails have an enjoyable and safe experience to appreciate our beautiful outdoors.
For more information or to volunteer your time as a Trail Ambassador, contact EJ Porth at firstname.lastname@example.org .