Bozeman Trails, Open Space, Parks Bond Project Updates


In 2012, Bozeman passed a Trails, Open Space and Parks Bond with overwhelming support. The bond promised to expand and improve trails, protect water quality, create sports fields, acquire new park land, and preserve Bozeman’s natural areas for future generations.  The City of Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department, and many community partners, have been hard at work behind the scenes fulfilling that promise. Here’s an update on the projects that were funded through the 2012 Bozeman Parks and Trails Bond.

Path to the M– The much anticipated Path to the M, connecting town trails to the M and Drinking Horse with a path along Bridger Drive, is underway. The City of Bozeman has just acquired the last two easements needed to construct the path all the way to the M. Many partners are working together on this project at different stages including the City of Bozeman, US Forest Service, Montana Dept. of Transportation, GVLT, and Western Federal Lands Highway Division. The hope is that the project will go out to bid this winter, and will take a full summer construction season to complete. Timelines for a project of this scope, involving a high level of engineering, planning, and safety assessments, are challenging to pin down. The best case scenario would have the trail open in the late fall of 2018. When this paved multi-use path is complete, it will connect into the Story Mill Spur Trail, new Story Mill Community Park, East Gallatin Recreation Area, Cherry River Trails and beyond.

Story Mill Community Park– The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with the City of Bozeman, has been working diligently on a new flagship 60-acre park Northeast of downtown. The park will feature opportunities for active recreation such as trails, climbing boulder, adventure playground, and dog park, as well as community gathering spaces like an outdoor amphitheater, pavilions, grand lawn and more. In addition to the incredible amenities built into the park, the Trust for Public Land is developing a more natural experience in a large section of the park along the East Gallatin River and wetlands. The nature sanctuary will host new trails and trail connections, as well as natural and cultural interpretive programs. The site plan is filled with innovative, exciting, and inclusive amenities. In October, the Trust for Public Land received the President’s Award for Excellence from the Idaho and Montana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for the Story Mill Community Park master plan. Now that the plan has been approved by the City of Bozeman, construction of the park is planned for the spring of 2018. $4.5 million from the 2012 Bozeman TOPS Bond has been allocated to this project, and the private fundraising campaign led by TPL has secured almost $10.4 million for the park. An additional $1.2 million remains to be raised to complete construction. The park is slated to be open to the public in the fall of 2018.

The Trust for Public Land also facilitated the acquisition of the Boys and Girls Club facility, adjacent to the Story Mill Community Park. The building was donated to the City of Bozeman and will be used as a community center for recreation, camp drop offs and pickups, activities and indoor gym programming.

For more information about the Story Mill Community Park, visit or contact Molly Pickall, or 406-582-6243.

 Bozeman Sports Park– The Bozeman Sports Park Foundation and the City of Bozeman are moving forward with an 80- acre sports complex on the west side of town between Baxter Lane, Oak Street, Cottonwood Road and Flanders Mill. They are currently constructing the first phase of the project which includes mass grading for the first four fields, a parking lot, restrooms, concession building and associated storm water and trails. They will go out to bid this winter for the construction of the first field and associated infrastructure such as irrigation. The City is hoping to work with the Bozeman School District to construct a field and parking lot on the south end of the property that could be shared with the new high school. This collaboration and sharing of the sports field and parking is a win-win, and an efficient use of taxpayer funds. A group of citizens and parents have formed the Bozeman Sports Park Foundation to continue raising funds to complete the project. The Sports Park could eventually include 12 fields, playground, splash pad, public park, and additional trails. While the primary use of the Sports Park will be athletics, it provides many open space and recreational amenities for community members when it is not being used for practice, games, and tournaments.

Bozeman Pond Park– GVLT, Run Dog Run, and the City of Bozeman expanded Bozeman Pond Park by 9 acres, adding a natural playground, fenced off-leash dog park, new trails, additional parking, picnic shelters, and bathrooms. The park was opened to the public in the summer of 2016. Visit a previous post for more information.

Bozeman Creek Enhancement Project– Work along Bozeman Creek in Bogert Park is complete.  The City of Bozeman has installed a new bridge and work has been done to improve stream quality and establish vegetation along the creek. The fencing, however, will not be removed until springtime.