Trail Tracking

5/28/2020 Outside Bozeman, Corey Hockett

Logging miles with a purpose.

New year. Same task. Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) is back at it with its annual Summer Trails Challenge, a mile-matching event benefitting area trails. As a community last year, we logged over 60,000 miles, raising just as many dollars to put back into our trail system. GVLT set the bar, and Bozeman came together to hit the goal—and we can do it again this year. As residents of southwest Montana, we have a duty to ensure these trails are well-maintained and protected for future generations. Around here, we love our trails, and there’s no easier way to show we care than by getting out on them.


You. With your running shoes, mountain bike, climbing rack, fishing pole, or golden retriever. Whatever your forte, if you use the trails, you can log your miles. Challenge a friend or your brother, someone at work or that cutie who works at the coffee shop. It’s free and for a good cause, so round up your pals and spread the word.


For the past five years, a good-hearted gaggle of local businesses has made contributions to form a community donation pool. Last year’s pool totaled a whopping 60 grand. When does cash ever come that easily? All we have to do to get the dough to GVLT (and back into our trails) is track the miles we hike, bike, run, and walk. Every mile on the trail is $1 to GVLT.

In the interests of friendly competition, each sponsoring business is registered as a team—and the team with the most miles wins. You can log your miles for whatever team (or teams) you like—and you can bet that O/B, as a sponsor, will be in the list. Logging miles is easy—after your outing, just head to GVLT’s website, enter your miles, and watch the mileage tracker tick up. This is all done scout’s honor—don’t cheat yourself, your fellow participants, or the trails.

Additionally, the weekend of June 12-14 involves competition against Helena’s Prickly Pear Land Trust, which hosts a similar event. It also happens to be a perfect weekend for long-distance trail runs and bike packs. Mark it on your calendar. Let’s make sure we show up to beat our sister city to the northwest.


June 6–June 26. We’ve got three weeks to make a mark. Plan accordingly.

Any and all surrounding trails. While there are no strict limits on which ones qualify, keep ‘em in the greater Bozeman area. If you’re in the Gallatin Valley, around Three Forks, or Paradise Valley, you’re good to go.


Because we care, dammit. There’s a lot of work that goes into the development and upkeep of our trails—they’re nothing we should take for granted. Also, keep in mind that it’s June—the rivers are high, the trails are drying, and we’re emerging from winter’s shell. Only a month left before that bod is going to be glistening in the sunshine half-naked, floating through the riffles of the Madison. Better get lean while you’ve got some time, eh?

Bottom line: we can all chip in (the challenge itself is free), and it’s easy. You’re going to be out there anyway; why not take an extra minute to record your miles? You’ll be doing yourself and the entire Bozeman community a favor. Which will feel good, so good. We’ll see you out there.

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