Trail Ambassador Program

Busy Trails and Trailheads bring need

Wednesday Apr. 1st, 2015

As the population of our community has grown, trail use at Bozeman’s most popular trails has grown with it. Four trails-focused partners have been looking at this growth for years and have decided to take a proactive step at managing potential conflicts due to increased use on the community trails. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, the US Forest Service, Friends of Hyalite, and the Bridger Ski Foundation are excited to launch the first season of the Trail Ambassador program.  The partners have hired a part-time coordinator to manage volunteer Trail Ambassadors who will be stationed at busy trails and trailheads around the Main Street to the Mountains trail system and in Hyalite Canyon. During this first season, Trail Ambassadors are focusing on trails that are heavily used in the winter such as Sourdough Canyon, the M trail, Burke Park, Snowfill Recreation Area, Hyalite trail system, and Highland Glen Nature Preserve.

Volunteer Trail Ambassadors assist trail users by handing out maps, sharing grooming reports for cross country skiing, and discussing trail conditions. They also help promote responsible trail use and etiquette by sharing dog poop bags, dog leashes, and trail etiquette cards.  “More than anything these trail ambassadors will be a smiling face on our community trails, a reminder that an entire community of respectful trail users is what will keep our trails safe and enjoyable as our community continues to grow”, says Kelly Pohl, Associate Director of GVLT. The program promotes a sense of shared responsibility for our public trails.  “All of these trail partners work to provide a high quality trail experience on some pretty busy trails around Bozeman.  These volunteer ambassadors will help us and the community provide a positive experience”, added Lisa Stoeffler, Bozeman District Ranger with the Custer Gallatin National Forest.  

The partners are hoping that this program will help bring more awareness and visibility to the groups who contribute to the trails. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust and US Forest Service build and maintain trails, the Bridger Ski Foundation grooms trails for cross country skiing, and Friends of Hyalite plow the road in Hyalite Canyon for winter recreational use. A second season of this program is planned for the summer if the winter pilot program proves to be successful. The goal of the program is to ensure that all users on our trails have an enjoyable and safe experience to appreciate our beautiful outdoors.

Interested in volunteering? Contact EJ at   

E.J. Porth  is Communications and Outreach Manager at Gallatin Valley
Land Trust