Cultivating open space: Organizers seek third open space bond in Gallatin County

7/24/2017 Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Freddy Monares, Photo by Freddy Monares

Dave Tyler sits on a picnic bench in his backyard on Monday facing the Bridger Mountains to the east, about 10 miles north of Bozeman on Springhill Road.

A couple of homes sitting between his property and the mountains make up the view for Tyler on a cloudy, but sunny day. He estimates that the base of the mountain range is about two miles away.

He stares off at the range behind chrome, wire-framed glasses that are shaded by an orange hat, with a subtle outline of sweat. He’s been on the farm for about 30 years, and his rosy cheeks indicate that he’s put in work under the sun.

 The quaint wooden home on his 160-acre property, he said, is one of the first three homesteads established in Gallatin County.

His yard occupies a small portion of the land, and is sectioned off by an electrical fence to keep the wildlife out. The rest is used for sheep grazing, agriculture and a wool processing plant that sees wool from all over the country.

“It can do more than just grow mansions,” said Tyler, referring to the possibilities of his land.

Tyler’s 160-acre property is among the 50,000 acres that have been dedicated to preserving open space in the county, according to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. Two open space bonds that voters approved in 2000 and 2004 provided $20 million for the program.

The goal of the bond is to place as many acres as possible in conservation easements, providing open space and preserving the agriculturally productive land and its rich community heritage. It also gives the county a way to manage growth in one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, according to GVLT.

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