Happy 30th Anniversary Peets Hill

May 19, 2022

Burke Park was GVLT’s first conservation project with the City of Bozeman in the early 90s with 42 acres purchased from the Burke family to the City of Bozeman in 1992. We dusted off a 1992 GVLT newsletter – back when we printed out physical copies – to reminisce about our first, and arguably most iconic, public park project. The newsletter read:

If the citizens of Gallatin County have any association with the still relatively young Gallatin Valley Land Trust, it is probably because of our work on the Peets’ Hill project. This cherished hillside parcel is virtually our last remaining undeveloped ridgeline within Bozeman city limits. There are grandparents around who can tell you of their sledding experiences on Peets’ Hill, and the 42-acre hillside can be dotted with sunset viewers on a summer’s evening…”

You can read the entire 1992 newsletter here. The popular main ridge-top trail was named for our founder, Chris Boyd, after his death in 1998. Numerous trails at Burke Park have been improved primarily through the efforts of GVLT and the City of Bozeman Parks Department. The Wortman Spur Trail, which connects the ridge to South Church Street was added in the late nineties. The Highland Ridge Trail and the Simkins Spur Trail, which branch off at the south end of the Chris Boyd Trail, were added soon after.

Flash forward to 2008, when we completed a new acquisition of an additional 1.8 acres. This acreage included the “summit” of Burke Park, or the high point destination where most hikers and bikers take in 360-degree views of Bozeman.

“I remember when I was a volunteer pulling weeds up there,” says Trails Director Matt Parsons. That was nearly a decade before he joined the staff at GVLT. “Three years ago, we had 200 middle school students up there resurfacing the Chris Boyd Trail. It was organized chaos, and one of the most amazing projects we’ve done up there.”

Protecting and caring for Peets Hill has become a long-standing tradition in the Gallatin Valley. In January, we completed a final acquisition of 12 additional acres on the southern end of the park in partnership with the City of Bozeman. Plans for updating and enhancing the newly acquired Simkins spur trail and 12 acres are still in the works, but there are plenty of rehabilitation projects we can accomplish on Peets Hill now.

“We’re celebrating the park’s 30th Anniversary and our tradition of partnering with the City of Bozeman by completing a ton of trails projects up there this National Trails Day,” says Matt. “We’re going to need about 250 volunteers to complete trail resurfacing, remove broken fencing, pick up dog poop and litter, pull weeds and so much more.”

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Bozeman’s most iconic park this National Trails Day. If you’re interested in volunteering for National Trails Day, click here!