The Future of Bozeman | Trails & Land

What's Your Beef?

Saturday Jul. 1st, 2017

Anyone you meet around town can tell you a story of the moment they fell in love with the Gallatin Valley. It’s something the ones living here for generations understand very well. It’s not a magazine article, or even an old Robert Redford movie, that has captured the imagination of individuals worldwide. It all comes down to the very tangible quality that has been here all along: the outdoor experience.

Many of us don’t remember the first item we purchased in our historic downtown, the first meal we ate, or the first movie we saw in Bozeman. Each of us, however, can go on for hours telling the tale of our first outdoor experience in the area. Whether it was experiencing the Montana way of life on one of our local trails, on one of our cherished ranches, or even on a more extreme backcountry adventure.

Our trails and lands are, essentially, everything to us in this valley. They keep us charging after a long day at work, pushing our physical limits, and always clearing our minds. Our trails subconsciously link all of us together. Our lands provide food and nourishment for all.

How do we work to protect not only our greatest resource, but who we are as a community? It takes passion, effort, commitment, dedication, and resources. It takes many things that we often overlook on our easily accessible hike or bike ride. It also takes a little bit of noise. Traditionally, the best preservation efforts have been quiet and peaceful, but we might have to make a ruckus to guarantee the preservation of our public land. When bulldozers move in, and preservation is not ensured, that tranquility is lost forever.

It is very well known that our valley is experiencing excruciating pressures these days. All of us, one way or another, feel the pain associated with the fastest population growth in the nation. Bozeman is the place to be, and for all the right reasons. Article after article continues to confirm what we have known all along: We are the best. So let’s commit to keeping it that way. Not only for ourselves but for our families, friends, children and generations to come.

Throughout our long history, a few individuals have spearheaded the vision of preserving this community. Are we now ready to enact our generation’s true preservation movement? It’s time for us to get outside, get excited, and get together on this before it’s too late. The traditionally silent and peaceful nature of preservation is perhaps ready for us to all make just a little noise. Are we committed to protecting this place and who we are?  The time has come to declare that we are all committed to doing just that.

One of the greatest things I have ever done in my life has been to volunteer my time with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT). GVLT has always been here for us. Working, somewhat quietly, on many of these common goals that we set forth concerning our lands. It takes a village, a city, a community, to succeed where many communities have failed.

Our time has come. We are ready to all work together to preserve the quality of life that either we have always known, or are maybe just falling in love with. If you are curious as to how you can make a difference, please feel free to reach out to any of us and get involved. The Gallatin Valley has always been, and will always be, one of the most precious valleys we have known. Please join us in assuring that this remains constant for generations to come.

Nolan Campbell is a a member of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust NextGen Advisory Board, a local realtor with PureWest Christie’s International, and the founder of