Big Sky Resort closes Sept. 27

Extends winter season, replaces Tram haul rope

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The summer season at Big Sky Resort comes to an end on Sept. 27. The resort will re-open on Nov. 23 and has extended the 2017-18 winter season by an additional week. The new closing date will be April 22, 2018 with the annual Pond Skim slated for April 21. All season pass products have been extended at no additional cost. Season pass prices will increase on Sept. 30.

Mountain improvements continue at the resort including the widening of Fast Lane, the addition of three gladed runs and a new chair “barn” for the Powder Seeker lift. Lone Peak Tram upgrades commenced Sept. 11. Replacing the haul rope will entail removing the old rope out of the terminal, splicing the new rope to the old rope and, using the lift and hydraulic spoolers, pulling the new rope around the lift with the old rope. When the new rope is all the way around, it gets tied off, spliced, put back in the terminal and tensioned up.

The new haul rope consists of six strands comprised of 25 wires each, twisted around a plastic core. One strand is able to carry the entire load; the other five strands provide added safety. The tram’s rope is approximately 6,000 feet long; the new haul rope weighs more than 5 pounds per foot.

Community foundations accepting grant applications

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The Spanish Peaks Community Foundation is accepting applications for its 2017 fall grant cycle through Oct. 1. All area nonprofits seeking funding for programs benefitting the greater Big Sky area community are encouraged to apply. The foundation’s areas of focus are arts, education, environment, community and health and human service initiatives. Submit applications following the guidelines on the SPCF website at spanishpeaksfoundation.org or email tarsha@spanishpeaksfoundation.org for more information.

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation is also accepting applications for grants and scholarships with a deadline of Nov. 1. The foundation provides funding to nonprofit organizations and qualifying government entities such as schools and libraries in the greater Big Sky and Gallatin Valley area, with a focus on arts, education, community services, health, and conservation.

Three annual student scholarships of $5,000 are also awarded by YCCF in honor of Corey C. Griffin and Dave Mueller. Awarded March 1, these scholarships are available to high school seniors in southwest Montana who most closely exemplify Griffin’s “never quit” attitude or share Mueller’s love of outdoor adventure. Visit yellowstoneclubfoundation.org for more grant and scholarship information.

The Moonlight Community Foundation also funds a variety of programs and initiatives that foster and support education, youth development and conservancy efforts that benefit the Big Sky community. The organization will consider funding requests for initiatives that align with its overall mission and goals. The deadline for fall 2017 grant applications is Nov. 15. Visit moonlightcommunityfoundation.org for details.

Gallatin River Task Force moves forward with Moose Creek Project

Sees record-breaking volunteer effort at annual Upper Gallatin clean up

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Construction has begun on the Gallatin River Task Force Moose Creek Project, the first project in a series and larger overall effort to restore and protect the Upper Gallatin river from human impacts on river access areas, while also improving access routes for all user types and public safety.

In 2015, the Task Force mapped 111 river access sites and prioritized sites for future restoration work. The pilot demonstration project focuses on the Moose Creek Flat recreational area, a heavily trafficked public day-use area with severe erosion and streamside vegetation damage.

Visible human impacts include eroded streambanks, trampled riparian vegetation and excessive disorganized trails to the river that contribute fine sediment to the waterway and puts the health of fisheries at risk. In partnership with the Custer Gallatin National Forest, the Moose Creek Project will include streambank stabilization, floodplain vegetation plantings, new trails, a boat access structure, fencing, and an educational interpretive sign about river ecology. The project is slated to be completed in the spring of 2018.

The Gallatin River Task Force is actively fundraising and looking for partners to raise the final dollars needed to complete the project.

The Task Force saw a record breaking volunteer effort for the annual Upper Gallatin River Cleanup on Aug. 31. More than one hundred volunteers, up from 35 the previous year, removed 1,060 pounds of trash from rivers and streams in the Big Sky area.

The Gallatin River Task Force has organized and hosted a river cleanup for the past six years. Volunteers receive cleanup assignments and disperse from the Yellowstone National Park boundary to northern end of Gallatin Canyon as well as several sites in the Big Sky area.

HATCH keynotes to speak at WMPAC

Highlight school district’s new IB program

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On Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6-7:30 p.m. four global keynote speakers will share stories, life lessons and music from the stage of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. These change-makers have been curated by HATCH in collaboration with the Big Sky School District to showcase examples of diverse learning principles of the newly launched International Baccalaureate (IB) program’s ideology.

Speakers will include Butterscotch, the first female World Beatbox Champion; Eric Cheng, head of Immersive Imaging at Facebook; Erin Patton, an original brand architect for Nike; and musician, activist and math whiz Madam Gandhi.

As a new IB World School, Big Sky School District aims to prepare students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others.

Founded in 2004 and based in Big Sky, HATCH is a global network, and a series of curated experiences designed to catalyze creativity and mentorship to collaborate on solutions to global challenges. HATCH, Lone Peak High School and the IB Program are collaborating to provide new experiences for students and the greater community of Big Sky.

Vacancy on Big Sky School District board

Board accepting letters of interest through October

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In a special meeting of the Big Sky School District board meeting on Sept. 5, Superintendent Dustin Shipman announced that Kim Gunderson would be stepping down from her position as a trustee on the school board, creating an open seat. Gunderson moved out of the district, and being a resident of the district is a stipulation of being on the board.

The board acknowledged Gunderson’s Aug. 28 resignation and moved to accept interest from the public to fill the vacant seat through October. Those interested in the position should submit a letter of interest and resume to the district’s business manager, Corky Miller.

The board will choose an interim replacement at the October board meeting, the date of which is yet to be established. The selected candidate will have to run in the regular May elections should they wish to remain on the board.

The board has 60 days from Sept. 5 to appoint another board number. If the board does not receive suitable applicants, the county superintendent of schools has another 60 days to appoint someone.

More information about the open seat will be posted in Ophir Elementary and Lone Peak High School, in the school newsletter and on the Big Sky School District and the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce websites.

Letters of interest and a resume can be sent to cmiller@bssd72.org. The next meeting of the Big Sky School District school board will be held Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. in the Ophir School conference room.