Gallagator Bridge Improvements
From one end to the other, the 12-foot wide, 1.5-mile long Gallagator Trail is one of our community’s most heavily-used year-round trails, linking our vibrant downtown core, public library, and extensive natural park system with the campus of Montana State University, residential neighborhoods, schools, and museums. It is a critical component of our transportation network as well as an important recreational link with trail-side features such as stream access, community gardens, playgrounds, and a climbing boulder. To ensure continued trail user safety and sustainability, GVLT partnered with the City of Bozeman and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to replace the bridge decking and railings in the fall of 2017. We have also worked with partners at the City of Bozeman and Western Transportation Institute to install trail counters on the Gallagator Trail to get data on how the trail is used so that we can continue to steward the trail in the best possible ways. In its early weeks on the job the counter was showing over 1,000 trips a day on the trail!
Did you know?
Seeing the end of rail traffic in 1979 on the slow-moving train dubbed the “Gallagator”, the City of Bozeman acquired the rail line in 1982 and converted it into a trail and linear park in 1988. Despite neighborhood opposition to its creation nearly 30 years ago, the Gallagator is now a beloved community asset, featured in any nearby real estate listing and referenced as a community success story.
Painted Hills Gap Trail
We’re closer than ever to linking the Painted Hills Trail to the Triple Tree Trail, completing the route south from Main Street to the Mountains. This 1.5 mile missing link has been a priority for nearly 25 years. In the summer of 2017, GVLT received permanent trail easements from three generous landowners to access the section of the Painted Hills gap on private land. We are now working with the Montana DNRC to secure access across the remaining portion and plan to start construction in the spring of 2018. Stay tuned for ground breaking and ribbon cutting events as well as volunteer needs.
Hudson Creek Trails
In early 2017, GVLT and the Jarvis Family finalized a conservation easement on 462 acres rolling pasture and dense forest offering prime wildlife habitat and scenic views on Bozeman Pass. Part of the Jarvis Family’s generosity and vision is their desire to see the special place enjoyed by the public. GVLT is currently working with the family to plan for trails on the property that would connect into the existing Chestnut Mountain Trail system (which passes through another one of GVLT’s conserved properties). Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new access on private land. Thank you to the Jarvis Family!
West Side Trail Safety Improvements
As the major trail corridor for the rapidly growing west side of Bozeman, the West Side Trail network connects residential neighborhoods with schools, shopping, and recreation, linking from the Gallatin Valley Mall north to Baxter Lane. However, there are several roadway crossings that are inaccessible and present safety risks. In partnership with the City of Bozeman and the Western Transportation Institute, GVLT led efforts to secure funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program to improve and correct accessibility and safety of three major intersection crossings in the West Side Trail network. The project will improve trail alignments, install curb-cuts and ramps, and improve roadway crossings with intersection improvements where the West Side Trail crosses Babcock, Durston, and Oak. Look for these improvements in the spring of 2019.
Path to the ‘M’
The College ‘M’ Trail and Drinking Horse Mountain Trail are two of the most popular trails in the Gallatin Valley, with constantly overflowing parking lots. GVLT spearheaded an effort to fund a paved, multi-use pathway along Bridger Drive to the ‘M’ trailhead. The new trail will be two miles on the north side of Bridger Drive and will make it possible for people to safely get from existing trails to the trailheads. When this connection is complete, you truly will be able to go from Main Street to the Mountains entirely on trails. This project was funded by the Bozeman Trails, Open Space, and Parks bond and the Federal Land Access Program. The total cost is $4,000,000. The Federal Highway Administration, the City of Bozeman, and the US Forest Service are in charge of trail planning and construction. This project hit some road bumps and delays so it is expected to be constructed in summer of 2018.
Front Street Connector
GVLT is planning a new connection that will help link the North part of Bozeman. The 1/4 mile connector trail on Front Street will start at the intersection of Rouse Avenue ans Oak Street on the Northeast side of Bozeman. This paved, multi-use path will occupy a city right-of-way and will greatly improve the safety for trail users who want to connect to the Northeast trail system coming from the west. Right now, people would have to use busy Rouse Ave. to connect with the trail network. With this added connection, people will be able to safely access the Story Mill Spur Trail, the new Story Mill Park, Path to the M, East Gallatin Recreation Area and more. This project is partially funded by the Bozeman Trails, Open Space, and Parks Bond. The total cost for this project is $215,000. Construction is delayed due to road construction in the area.