In Keeping Pace with Development

July 22, 2022

It is not an overstatement to say that you, GVLT supporters, make our work possible. Our efforts to conserve wildlife habitat, productive farms and ranches, scenic open space, and build trails say as much about the character of our community and the people in it as it does about GVLT. They’re more than just conservation and trails wins, these achievements define who we are as a community and what we want our future to look like. For that reason, we need your help now more than ever. 

Change is happening fast and we all feel it.  In the last year alone, nearly 1,000 new lots were approved in Gallatin County, and that doesn’t even include those within the city limits. Thousands upon thousands of acres of open space are being lost to development every year. At some point, we have to ask ourselves, how many acres are we willing to lose?   

Here’s the good news. There is no single organization better positioned to strategically preserve our region’s open lands, agricultural heritage, wildlife habitat, and access to trails and recreation than GVLT.  

We don’t need to change what we do at GVLT, we just need to do more of it. 

If the pace of development and fragmentation in our Valley keeps accelerating, then GVLT will too. In response to our region’s unprecedented growth, GVLT has developed a new five-year strategic plan to fast track our work and sharpen our focus. 

  • Under this plan, GVLT is accelerating the pace of our land conservation in the Gallatin Valley, aiming to protect an additional 20,000 acres in the next 5 years. That’s twice our current pace.  Because our Valley is getting more crowded, we need to focus on not just the number of acres but the quality of those acres, using data-driven decision making to identify the most critical acres and proactive, targeted outreach to get the right acres conserved. 
  • At GVLT we believe that trails are an essential part of building an equitable, sustainable, and healthy future for our community. We are responding to the increased demand by creating critical connections within the trail system to move people from home, to school, to work within the City of Bozeman and throughout the Triangle and working with developers so that we can create these systems efficiently and cost effectively.  
  • We’re pursuing innovative projects where our dual missions of trails and conservation overlap – like our recent successes at Middle Cottonwood Canyon and Peets Hill – leveraging public interest and private funding to achieve both trail and conservation wins.  
  • We are tackling more ambitious wildlife conservation projects using parcel analysis to identify the most critical and threatened puzzle pieces for wildlife habitat in the Upper Yellowstone Region. This will build on the foundation we’ve created in the Bozeman Pass area, helping establish a permanently protected wildlife corridor for animals like grizzlies, elk, and deer.  
  • And, we’re extending our reach deeper into Paradise Valley, a region under extraordinary development pressure and where landowners and business owners find themselves making difficult decisions about how to proceed in the face of natural disaster and recovery.  

Edward Abbey wrote, “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”  If you are frustrated about the loss of open space, the rapid destruction of wildlife habitat, the need for a more robust trail system to meet the demands of our growing community – you can do something.  You have the power to help protect and enhance these values. 

Make a tax-deductible gift to GVLT to protect the place that you love. Your donations give us the confidence to think big and push harder to meet the pace of growth and development. The future of this Valley depends on each of us and the time for bold action is now.  

Thank you for your generous support and for being a part of this GVLT family. We can do remarkable things together!